AL West 2021 Season Preview
The 2020 season was quite the season for the Houston Astros from the sign stealing scandal to the injuries to their pitchers. Despite all the controversy the Astros were just one game away from reaching the World Series.
The outfield is lacking depth but young left fielder Kyle Tucker looks poised to command the outfield. Veteran outfielders Micheal Brantley, Steven Souza Jr. and young center fielder Myles Straw are all that remain.
In the infield Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman will produce, as they are two of the best at their respective positions. The question that lingers is how Jose Altuve will perform after a lackluster season and how Yordan Alvarez will rebound following a knee injury last year.
Yet, what will break or make the Astros in 2021, will be the starting pitching. Justin Verlander will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Framber Valdez will also miss time after sustaining a broken finger in spring training. All that is left is Zack Greinke, an up-and-down Lance McCullers, Jake Odorizzi, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy.
Ultimately, the Astros will score runs and remain competitive, but how the starting pitching rotation performs will determine their success.
Oakland came out hot early and rode that early success to a 2020 division title.
The Athletics are anchored by their corner infield duo of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. Along with a young and promising pitching staff consisting of Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea and Jesús Luzardo. Despite their young pitching staff and corner infield duo, the losses of shortstop Marcus Semien and reliever Liam Hendriks will make their attempt at back-to-back division titles more challenging.
If the Athletics have any hopes of gaining a playoff spot, their role players and bullpen additions of Trevor Rosenthal, Sergio Romo and Adam Kolarek will have to improve.
Los Angeles Angels
The 2020 season was not a nice season for the Angels as they missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year and suffered from poor pitching all around.
On the offensive front the Angels have a talented collection of players such as generational talent Mike Trout as well as Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher.
Starting pitching has been the biggest problem for the Angels for years. They have two solid options as their best pitcher, between Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney. Besides that there is nothing exciting outside of the additions of Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana along with a new closer in Raisel Iglesias, to assist a dreadful bullpen.
General manager Perry Minasian didn’t spend big on the best pitching free agents, hoping that his cheaper alternatives assist the Angels in getting a wild card spot.
In 2020, the Mariners had a nice look at how bright the future is with the unanimous Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis emerging as a star. They also boast a young pitching duo of Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield, as well as two young gold glove winners in Evan White and J.P. Crawford.
Despite last year's individual success for some of the Mariner players, this year still appears to be a testing year. With young talent like Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert, who need more time in the minors, along with a bullpen that lacks talent besides Andres Munoz and Rafael Montero, it could be a long year in Seattle.
If the struggling bullpen can compete, perhaps the Mariners could fight for a wildcard spot.
Globe Life Field might be one of the nicest stadiums, but the Texas Rangers are definitely not one of the nicest teams. After a disappointing shortened season, that was set up for the Rangers to succeed, a full on rebuild is underway.
Slugger Joey Gallo is the focal point of the rebuild even though he had a down year in 2020. Young talent is on the rise such as prospect Leody Taveras and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but the Rangers lack of experience and talent on the pitching side is what will make this season a painful one.
This season looks to be a tanking season for the Rangers.
Jordan Hession is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism