Reasons to watch baseball – AL West

AL EAST | AL CENTRAL | AL WEST | NL EAST | NL CENTRAL | NL WEST

I’m committing myself to watching every team this season, at least one full game each.

No longer will I load up MLB.tv after work, wait to see which games are being played at a UK friendly time, then refuse to watch another Tigers @ Royals game.

There must be at least one reason to watch a full 9-innings from every single team, right? It’s time I found them.

Here’s what I’m most excited for, in the AL West.

Houston Astros

The Astros are an incredibly exciting team, full of brilliant batters, rapid runners, dazzling defensive displays, strikeout starters and resplendent relievers. A roster packed with talent, plenty of previous world series winners and Dusty Baker in as the man to lead them.

Image by Federal Baseball

However, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room.

It’s the scandal.

Sorry Astros fans, but for at least the first few weeks of the season, I will be tuning in on a regular basis (especially road games) to see how the crowd are reacting, if the opposing pitchers are getting a little more high and tight than usual and to hear what level of snark the announcers are at.

That’s really it.

I know how amazing your team is, it wouldn’t surprise me if you go on to have another 100-win season, but for those first few weeks I’ll be waiting and watching for the first “incident”. That’s my reason for watching them, I’m fairly confident there will be plenty more doing exactly the same.

Oakland Athletics

Just when you think the A’s are done, they keep coming back with a bunch of surprises.

Not to say anyone thought the A’s were done in 2019, but most folk gave them a “well, if we squint a bit and maybe tilt our heads to one side, then they should get a wild card spot…right?”.

Helped by Darius Austin’s personal crush, Matt Chapman, a true breakout from Marcus Semien, Frankie Montas dealing (outs, not PEDs) prior to his suspension and finally the duo of Chris Bassitt / Brett Anderson combining for 4.1 fWAR, meant the A’s were almost on the verge of challenging the Astros for the top spot during the season.

Matt Chapman finally receives the word his restraining order on Darius Austin is active.

Was this a flash in the pan?

RotoChamp has the A’s clocking only 82 wins this season, these numbers are calculated after a combination of Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus and FiveThirtyEight projections.

This seems to happen with the A’s, the last two years they were projected to be below .500. With PECOTA pegging them for 76 wins in 2018 and 79 wins in 2019. In case you missed it, they finished with 97 wins in both of those years.

Which brings me to what I’m excited for with the A’s, them shoving it to the projections.

Yes, we’re going to see a resurgent Angels (still void of starting pitching), a betterish Rangers team and the Mariners…Marinering (That’s a thing, right?), but I’m confident the A’s can tag another 90+ win season (Sorry A’s fans, the Pringle Curse strikes again).

Los Angeles Angels

A full season of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Perfection.

Texas Rangers

Here is a list of the entire Rangers acquisitions during the 2019/2020 off-season. A * denotes a Minor League contract.

Free Agents

Kyle Gibson (SP)

Rob Refsnyder (OF/INF)*

Nick Ciuffo (C)*

Jordan Lyles (SP)

Joely Rodriguez (RP)

Arturo Reyes (SP/RP)*

Brian Flynn (RP)*

Blake Swihart (UTIL)*

Henry Ramos (OF)*

Robinson Chirinos (C)

Luis Garcia (RP)*

Yadiel Rivera (INF/OF)*

Todd Frazier (3B/1B)

Juan Nicasio (RP)*

Matt Duffy (INF)*

Derek Law (RP)*

Greg Bird (1B)*

Cody Allen (RP)*

Trades

Sam Travis (1B/OF)

Corey Kluber (SP)

Steele Walker (OF)


Change, that’s what I’m looking forward to. The Rangers should probably expect a few of those Minor League deals to turn into Major deals throughout Spring Training, mainly through injury but also through players winning jobs.

I’m not about to predict the Rangers to go .500 (Congrats Rangers fans, you’ve just gone .500 or above), but alongside another excellent change of jerseys, we could see some exciting baseball in the newly opened Globe Life Field.

Image courtesy of Twitter

Seattle Mariners

Since Jerry Dipoto became the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners, he has made 6 billion trades. None of those trades have helped push the Mariners to a postseason spot.

The season total wins for the Mariners since Dipoto took charge goes like this:

86, 78, 89, 68.

Up, down, up, down.

So it’s an up year, right?

Well, those RotoChamp projections we mentioned earlier has the Mariners at 77 wins, a clear 7 wins better than the Rangers. Up on 2019?

Image courtesy of Las Vegas Review-Journal

Forget all the projections though, I’m most excited to see Mallex Smith leading off, tearing up the basepaths, dominating CF. I’m looking forward to watching Shed Long (Focus of the brilliant Great American Dream podcast from C Trent Rosecrans – Still worth a listen today despite being three years old), finally get a full year in the Majors and last but not least, what will Justus Sheffield be? So much hope with his minor league numbers, what will become of him?

And as per usual, if all else fails, just go follow Bernard Smith on twitter. Not only the nicest Mariners fan I know, but probably in the top 5 nicest humans I know,.

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