The AL West looks tough once again, can the Angels make a run at the division?
Rice: The Angels have a lot of strengths and weaknesses. If they can have a few players step-up they could make a good run for the division. If not, it could be a long year.
Cardone: Sure they can. 12 out of ESPN’s 17 baseball analysts picked the Angels to finish last in their division in 2002. Anything’s possible in baseball, especially when you have Mike Trout.
Lea: It’s possible, if they can stay healthy. The problem has been the bats. The Angels have always had excellent pitching and decent batters (aside from Trout and Pujols). However, if Pujols hits another 40 HRs and looks good going down the stretch, its a definite possibility.
Quesada: I don’t think this is going to be the Angels year. The team just has too many holes and their competition in the division doesn’t. The Astros should have won the AL West last season and I don’t expect them to back off now. The Rangers won it last year and will have Yu Darvish back so they will be even more competitive than they were. The Mariners are hungry after have a forgettable 2015 and I highly doubt the A’s will lose 94 games again this year. If there’s a silver lining it’s that the Halos were a division-best 44-32 against the AL West and went exactly .500 against everyone else in the AL. Another year like that could make them competitive, but I just don’t see them making a strong push for the title.
Avise: Spring training just started and that means everyone has a shot. The Astros and Rangers should be contenders again and for years to come but I’m not willing to say that a team with lots of solid pitching and Mike Trout don’t have a chance. The beautiful thing about baseball is any team can beat anyone on any given day. Trout is the catalyst of the team. If he doesn’t go ice cold in August the Angels win probably win the division and Trout is the MVP again. In my opinion he still was but that’s up for debate right now. I would not be surprised to see the Angels take the west.
Ludwig: I don’t think so. The Astros are loaded with talent and have to be considered the favorite, and the Rangers are improved and will get a full season of Cole Hamels with Yu Darvish returning midseason. The Angels have a lot of questions (Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson, bullpen, leadoff hitter) and places where they have answers, but those answers aren’t satisfying (leftfield, second base, catcher). If Weaver and Wilson bounce back to help form a solid rotation that can carry what is likely to be a pretty poor offense, they might contend for the second wild card position.
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