Bad News for Haters: The Astros Still Cream of AL West

Pinocchio better watch his back instead of his nose

Should Win: Conventional wisdom holds that the Houston Astros will be a mess in the wake of the sign-stealing controversy. To be sure, so many teams will be gunning for the Astros that their hitters might want to wear body armor. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For all of that they are still the class of the AL West. They lost Cole to the Yankees, but no other team in their division has three hurlers who can match Verlander, Grienke, and McCullers. If Peacock finds his groove, fuggetaboutit.

In Brantley, Reddick, and Springer the Astros also have the division’s top outfield. Altuve will probably regress now he doesn’t know what pitches are coming, but Bregman remains unfazed and Correa is a superb player.

More conventional wisdom BS says the Los Angeles Angels will challenge the Astros now that they’ve added Rendon’s bat to pack the middle of the order around Trout and Simmons. Nonsense! They still have one of the worst pitching staffs in all of MLB. When you rely on guys like Teheran (10-11), Heaney (4-6), Saurez (2-6), and Bundy (7-14), those dogs won’t hunt.

The Oakland A’s are my dark horse, especially if Manea recovers from his injuries. Fiers was a good pickup. Oakland has a way of manufacturing good pitchers that fly under the radar. Plus, a lineup with Chapman, Siemen, Olson, Kris Davis, and Canha will be productive.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Texas Rangers, who are methodically sending dead wood to the chipper. They picked up Kluber, and are just a few pieces short of making some noise.

The Seattle Mariners, as usual, are a mess. I’ve given up trying to figure out what plan, if any, is at work in the minds of a management staff whose heads are pointier than the Space Needle.  

Predicted Order of Finish:
1.    Houston
2.    Oakland
3.    Los Angeles
4.    Texas
5.    Seattle

No comments: