I kicked off our early season preview of the divisional races with Part One yesterday. To recap:
- NL East
- NL Central
- AL East
4. AL West
The AL West is slowly coming to be more and more competitive. Last year the Astros ran away with the division en route to their world series victory, but this year with the emergence of Shohei Ohtani and the new look Angels we have a race.
The Astros have had continued success behind the three headed monster of Correra/Altuve/Springer. Not only that, but Justin Verlander is probably the best pitcher in the AL right now, and just threw a complete game shutout against the Angels. Right now he has a 1.05 ERA with a 0.714 WHIP. Joining him in the sub-1 WHIP club are off-season acquistion Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton at 0.795 and 0.966, respectively. With Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. rounding out the staff, they currently are first in just about every pitching stat in the AL.
Threatening them are the Angels and the Mariners. The Angels have benefited strongly from Shohei Ohtani’s break out year so far. Garret Richards and Tyler Skaggs have also been good and as a staff the Angels currently have the fourth best ERA in the AL. With Trout/Pujols/Ohtani, if they can stay in the top five it should bode well for the Angels. They’ve also been helped by a great season from Andrelton Simmons so far, whos hitting .342/.408/.493 and is still one of the best shortstops defensively in the AL.
The Mariners are currently only sitting 2.5 games behind the Astros, but coming off the heels of Robinson Cano’s 80 game suspension for PEDs. However, Dee Gordon and Jean Segura are both having good years both hitting over .300 and Gordon having stole 15 bases. Their pitching needs to be better though, outside of James Paxton they’ve been pretty weak. Felix Hernandez needs to be King Felix if they hope to have a shot. The second wild card spot should no doubt come from second place in this division, as the Yanks/Red Sox loser will most likely take the first one. The A’s also started frisky but are regressing back to Oakland Athletics baseball.
Personally, I think the Diamondbacks will start to run away with the division. They have a good enough top of the rotation in Greinke/Corbin/Godley to carry this team, although their not pitching to the top of their potential. Behind them we have the Giants and Rockies right now. Both these teams will hang in there, and if one of them can make a run during some point in the season maybe they can make it interesting. Chad Bettis is one of the only bright spots on either team, as with 15 saves he’s currently leading all closer. The Dodgers are sitting in fourth place with their worst start since the 1920s. They have a chance as well as anyone to take over the Diamondbacks, and if they can pull off some kind of 17 out of 20 run at some point, a D-Backs-Dodgers race would be really fun to watch. But until the Dodgers get hot, were stuck here with the D-Backs.
Last, we have the AL Central. I’m just going to let the standings speak for themselves.