As we prepare for our delayed 2020 MLB Opening Day, we take a look at each division, spotlighting each team and their key offseason moves. We’ll also discuss the outlook for all 30 clubs heading into the season, including team MVP, Cy Young and Impact Rookie to watch.
Today, we begin with the American League West Division.
Let's first peek at last season's final standings in the division:
2019 Regular Season
W-L Pct. GB
Houston 107-55 .660 --
Oakland 97-65 .599 10.0
Texas 78-84 .481 29.0
Los Angeles 72-90 .444 35.0
Seattle 68-94 .420 39.0
RHP Austin Pruitt
SP Gerrit Cole, C Robinson Chirinos
The Astros are the clear favorite to win the AL West again this year. The downside is, their window is closing. They’re in the luxury tax again with aging starting pitching in Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation and on the books beyond 2020. There’s a lot of talent to pay, but some of that will test the market soon. If you have to lose a guy like Cole, Greinke isn’t a bad fall-back option. Lance McCullers is back after missing 2019 due to Tommy John surgery and this lineup is as stacked as any other lineup in the American League. Alex Bregman is the easy team MVP choice, but I like George Springer this year as he plays for a new contract.
2020 Team MVP: CF George Springer
2020 Team Cy Young: CL Robert Osuna
2020 Rookie Watch: RHP Jose Urquidy.
RP Jake Diekman, 2B Tony Kemp
RP Tanner Roark, SP Brett Anderson, SP Homer Bailey, RP Blake Treinen,
2B Jurickson Profar
The A’s continue to do it. They continue to be relevant and competitive despite an owner unwilling to spend and a city that seems hell-bent on pushing its sports franchises far away from Oakland. This lineup is full of pop, with three players hitting 30+ home runs (Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien) and three other returners hitting 20+ (Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano and Khris Davis). Rookie Catcher Sean Murphy is more than capable to replace Jurickson Profar in the 20+ home run club in 2020. The A’s lost some pitching, but seem primed to replace those arms with young talent. It’s scary to think that this team can be even better in 2020, and possibly good enough to beat the Astros in the race for the AL West title.
2020 Team MVP: CF Ramon Laureano
2020 Team Cy Young: SP Mike Fiers
2020 Rookie Watch: LHP Jesus Luzardo, C Sean Murphy
Los Angeles Angels
3B Anthony Rendon, SP Julio Teheran, C Jadon Castro, SP Dylan Bundy
RF Kole Calhoun, INF Zack Cozart, SP Nick Tropeano,
With a busy offseason full of moving parts, general manager Billy Eppler continues to make an impact with the little he’s had to work with since taking over the position, while also building the farm system back to respectability. Mike Trout needed support, Eppler went fishing, and the big fish on the line was 3B Anthony Rendon. Despite a weak rotation, this team should improve, maybe just not enough to compete for a playoff spot in 2020. Jo Adell could take over one of the corner outfield spots and make an impact this season.
2020 Team MVP: CF Mike Trout
2020 Cy Young: CL Hansel Robles
2020 Rookie Watch: OF Jo Adell
SP Corey Kluber, SP Kyle Gibson, SP Jordan Lyles, C Robinson Chirinos
CF Delino DeShields, RF Nomar Mazara, IF Logan Forsythe, OF Hunter Pence
For a team that seemed to address some needs in Free Agency and via trade, it was not quite enough, nor even the correct moves. This pitching staff is chock full of inconsistencies, even with the addition of Corey Kluber. But even Kluber is returning from a broken arm that forced him to miss most of 2019, putting his perennial high-end performance history in doubt. The other four starting pitchers have had one or two good seasons in the past five years, but not regularly enough to instill confidence. Their current closer lost his job in 2019 and there’s not great help behind him. This lineup has some firepower, and, despite losing DeShields and Mazara, should keep them in some ball games. Expect high scoring games and another sub-.500 season for the Rangers.
2020 Team MVP: LF Willie Calhoun
2020 Cy Young: SP Lance Lynn
2020 Rookie Watch: SP Joe Palumbo
SP Taijuan Walker, SP Kendall Graveman
SP Felix Hernandez, LF Domingo Santana, SS Tim Beckham
As the Mariners prepare to embark on their first season without King Felix in 15 years, there is not a lot of hope for a playoff run. The Mariners are in full rebuild mode. The silver lining is the shortened season will give the front office a good look at the young talent in the organization. 3B Kyle Seager could be on the move before the August 31 trade deadline. Maybe the Braves or Rangers give him a look if they get on a roll and have a legitimate shot at a World Series run.
2020 Team MVP: SS JP Crawford
2020 Cy Young: SP Marco Gonzalez
2020 Rookie Watch: 1B Evan White
Let's take a look at our predictions for the 2020 season:
2020 Regular Season Predictions
Houston 37-23 --
Oakland* 37-23 --
Los Angeles 30-30 7.0
Texas 29-31 8.0
Seattle 22-38 15.0
* Wild Card
Do you agree with the above? Let's hear your thoughts in the comment section!