Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 90 - 72
Seattle Mariners: 86 - 76
Texas Rangers: 79 - 83
Oakland Athletics: 70 - 92
I pick the Angels to repeat in the West this year. With Lackey coming back soon, their rotation is solid, especially if Ervin Santana can hold it together and live up to the hype. K-Rod is there to close it out, and Shields seems to be healthy now, giving them a great chance to stay in and close out lots of games in 2008. The crowded outfield has played well so far and Torii Hunter shows no signs of slowing down (he might even put up better numbers in this lineup than he ever did for the Twins.) Kendrick has been a hitting machine, but still can't seem to stay healthy. If Escobar comes back it would be a surprise, but it would make them that much better.
The Mariners will give the Angels a run for their money this year, but will come up a bit short in the end. They added Bedard who has had some injury problems early in the year, but is a legitimate Cy Young candidate when healthy, that is, if he can beat out his younger teammate, Felix Hernandez. They need Putz to get back as they don't have a solid option behind him after shipping out Rafael Soriano and George Sherrill in recent years. Their aging lineup will put up runs, but will not be spectacular.
The Rangers made an offseason deal to get Josh Hamilton, who has been good so far. But they gave up Edinson Volquez, who has been very impressive for the Reds, and as usual, the Rangers are in need of pitching if they really want to compete. Milton Bradley has been hot, but will eventually cool off, while Ian Kinsler should pick up some of the slack. Their bullpen will get help when Guardado gets healthy, and the right side of the infield will turn in consistent hitting and defense with Young and Blalock; but the Rangers are still a couple of years and a bunch of pitching away from challenging the Angels and Mariners.
The Oakland Athletics are "re-building," once again. Billy Beane gave up a lot in the offseason as ace Dan Haren was shipped to Arizona and Swisher was dealt to the White Sox. There were rumors about Blanton getting dealt as well, but he stayed put for now. They got a lot back, and are now stacked with some super studs of prospects, but it will take a few years for that to show up in the standings. Harden is on the shelf as usual, and they still have former AL ROY Bobby Crosby, but the A's have definitely seen better days.
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