Is the AL West the hardest division in baseball?

Oct 4, 2022; Oakland, California, USA;  Los Angeles Angels shortstop Livan Soto (13) celebrates with
Oct 4, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Livan Soto (13) celebrates with / Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Figuring out the most competitive division in baseball is tough. There're lots of things to measure. You look at the talent on each team. You look at how many teams in the division will be good. You look at the top team in the division relative to the best teams in baseball.

The biggest factor in determining what truly is the best division in baseball is depth. How many teams in the division are actually good?

Is the AL West the most competitive division in baseball?

With how this offseason has shaped up, there's definitely an argument to be made that'd point in the direction of the AL West being the most competitive division in the game.

First, we have the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros. Yes, they did lose Justin Verlander but they still have one of the best rotations in the game. Their bullpen remains elite. They added Jose Abreu to their lineup and are probably not done adding. They're not going anywhere.

The Mariners are a young team coming off of their second straight 90-win season and their first playoff appearance in over 20 years. They won a round and gave the Astros a tough fight in the ALDS. They boast one of the best rotations in the game as well and are only going to improve. They're not going anywhere.

The Angels did only win 73 games this past season but a lot of that can be attributed to injury. If guys like Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon stay healthy do they really only win 73 games? They added four players who all filled major holes from the 2022 team. They're significantly better and are not done adding.

The Rangers just signed Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney to help improve what was a below-average pitching staff. They have a nice core of hitters including Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe, and Adolis Garcia. They're much improved and I could see them fighting for a postseason berth as well.

The AL West has four teams you can argue will push for a postseason berth. They at the very least have four teams who are trying to win which most divisions can't say.

Both east divisions had three playoff teams this past season. The AL East has probably gotten worse, right? The Yankees haven't done much outside of bringing their players back. The Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernandez away for a reliever and haven't replaced him. The Rays signed Zach Eflin but that's it. Boston lost Bogaerts. Baltimore could be better but they only signed Kyle Gibson.

The NL East has only three teams actually trying to win right now. The Mets, Braves, and Phillies will all be quite good but the Marlins and Nationals are so awful and that brings that division strength down heavily. Miami would be good if they ever spent money on bats but they seem to be missing out on every player they want to sign.

The NL West had a chance to be more formidable had the Giants signed Aaron Judge but they failed to do so. The Dodgers lost Trea Turner and Tyler Anderson and won't have Walker Buehler for most of the year. They've gotten worse. The Padres are the only team to improve there.

The central divisions only had three winning teams combined in 2022. The Brewers, one of those teams, has gotten worse with the moves they made. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals and Guardians end up being the only teams to finish above .500 in their respective divisions.

Arguments for either east division make sense, but I truly believe the AL West is the most competitive division in baseball which is unfortunate for the Angels who are trying to compete. Four teams are trying to make the postseason in 2023. There's only one non-competitive team, the Athletics. It'll be a bloodbath.

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