5th Place: Oakland Athletics
This team simply just does not have much depth. Outfielder Khris Davis is an up and coming star, and he is certainly the type of player that Oakland can begin to build their offense around. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much else to this offense. I would not be surprised if the Athletics decided to trade Davis away midseason, because keeping him in this offense might be a waste of time for both Davis and the Athletics. There is also very little to get excited about from a poor pitching rotation. Their ace, Sonny Gray, had a terribly disappointing 2016 season. He is their best arm, and he is out until late April at the earliest. The Athletics are headed towards the bottom of the league.
4th Place Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
We need to see Mike Trout in the postseason. It has to happen. He is the best player in the game and his career is being wasted. Thankfully, he is only 25 and has plenty of career left. But Trout is probably going to have to keep waiting for his chance to play in October, because until this team can provide more firepower to support him, Trout and the Angels will not be able to compete with their talented division opponents. Fortunately for the Angels, Albert Pujols has decided to be thirty years old again, after a fantastic 2016 season. The Angels have some potential up and down the lineup, but overall, the talent really just isn’t there. Garrett Richards is a nice player to have in your rotation, but he is by no means an ace, and he is the best that the Angels have. The Angels are by no means hopeless for now or the future. Hopefully, they can start heading in the right direction without having to trade Trout.
3rd Place: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners fans have found themselves victims to years of mediocrity. Fans have waited year after year for their team to finally be relevant and to contend for the postseason. This season might be more of the same. It just isn’t quite there yet. Felix Hernandez does not have the arm that he used to, and father time has started to catch up with both Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Both of these pitchers are still relevant and will continue to be present in the rotation, but it is time to start relying on other pitchers. James Paxton could be the future ace of this club, but he has some improvements to make. To summarize everything, there are too many question marks, and it is difficult to trust this rotation. As far as the offense, the talent and production is there. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are both in their mid-30s, but both can still produce numbers. Kyle Seager seems to get better every year, and Jean Segura was a nice free agent signing. However, I don’t see this being quite enough with the rotation being surrounded by skepticism and with the talent around the rest of the divison.
2nd Place: Houston Astros
I know that everyone has jumped on the Astros bandwagon as the favorites to win this division, and I don’t disagree that they have a very good chance of doing so. The Astros have put together a very promising team over the last few years. They have some very talented young players up and down the lineup, led by Jose Altuve, one of the game’s best. Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer are all great young players, and they will be great players for a long time. They also brought in veteran Carlos Beltran to provide more offensive production. The offense is there for sure. The pitching is a similar story. Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are very good young pitchers. Keuchel has already won a Cy Young Award. The issue that I see here is that this team is just young. These players just don’t have much experience yet. With a little more time, the Astros will be one of the best teams in the American League. I do like this team to possibly snag a wild card spot.
1st place: Texas Rangers
This could be close. This team has experience and veteran swagger, and that’s what gives them the edge. This team has talent up and down the lineup, and it should be good enough to get them back into the postseason. Adrian Beltre is 38, I know that. However, he can still produce. His role as the leader of this team is also a huge part of their success. Elvis Andrus is a very good player both offensively and defensively. Rougned Odor has become one of the game’s best young infielders. Jonathan Lucroy is tops in the league as far as offensive production from catchers. And if Carlos Gomez can show signs of his former self, look out baseball world. Cole Hamels is not young anymore either, but he has experience pitching in big games. I mean, he was a World Series MVP once. They also have Yu Darvish, who has some of the most electric stuff in the league. The Rangers have the experience and firepower to win this division and to make a postseason run.