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Oakland Athletics (6-2): FACT
The A's were one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season, thanks in large part to the performance of their young pitching staff.
The pitching has been terrific once again this year, bolstered by the return of Brett Anderson (1.38 ERA, 16 K, 13 IP), as the staff has a 2.88 ERA so far. The offense is still largely a rag-tag group of youngsters and journeymen, but they continue to get the job done and I wouldn't bet against them at this point.
Texas Rangers (6-2): FICTION
No one lost more this offseason than the Rangers, who parted ways with Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young among others in free agency.
That said, they still have one of the better offenses in the AL, and newcomers A.J. Pierzynski (.346 BA) and Lance Berkman (.480 BA) have done a nice job picking up the slack. On the pitching side, Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.98 ERA, 20 K) is emerging as an ace, and Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.77 ERA) has been even better. They're still playing like one of the best teams in baseball, and I think they'll take a step back at some point.
Seattle Mariners (4-5): FACT
The Mariners are a team on the rise, with a fantastic farm system loaded with top-end talent ready to make a serious impact at some point in the very near future.
As for this season, they have taken strides to improve what has been the AL's lowest-scoring offense each of the past three seasons. With the additions of Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, they should at least be able to hang around .500 with potential for more if the youngsters can make an impact.
Los Angeles Angels (2-5): FICTION
One of the league's biggest disappointments last season after they spent big, the Angels opened up their wallets again this offseason with the signing of Josh Hamilton.
The team is off to a slow start, as their new-look rotation has been subpar, and now, ace Jered Weaver is on the disabled list with an elbow injury. Things snowballed after a slow start last season, so they need to turn things around quick, but they have as much talent as any team in the league.
Houston Astros (2-6): FACT
The Astros looked great when they kicked off the season with a win against the Rangers, but since then, they've settled into the level of mediocrity that can likely be expected the rest of the way.
Their offense is improved from last season, evidenced by their outburst against the Mariners on Tuesday, but it's still among the worst in the league. Bud Norris has pitched well as the ace, and Phil Humber could be a nice pickup. But the bullpen is terrible, and the rest of the rotation is poor.