originally posted July 13, 2015
It is finally the (long awaited for some) All Star break, the unofficial halfway mark of the season. Since every team has played at least 81 games and the trade deadline is approaching (July 31st @ 4PM, mark your calendars), it seems like a good time to talk about the Rangers and the American League west standings.
Honestly this division is a mess. When it really comes down to it, any of the five teams could win it. And I’m not saying that any team could end up to the World Series, because I can’t see any of them making it that far, but any of the teams can make a move to be stronger and win the division. With 70+ games to play, it’s really not that difficult for any of the teams to make up ground and jump to first. Remember in 2012 when the Rangers were on top the majority of the season until the A’s came out of nowhere and kicked them out on the last day of the season?
I want to say Oakland is completely out because they gutted their team in the off season, however they’re only 8.5 games out and they’ve surprised everyone before. The one thing they do have is a strong rotation; at the most they could surprise everyone again and get a wild card spot. But even though they are last in the division, they have the best team average of any AL west team, ranked 8th in all of baseball; they have the best team ERA in the American League, 6th in MLB. Their downfall? Errors. They have the most errors in baseball at 82, 14 more than the teams tied at second, the Rangers and Brewers. They also have the worst fielding percentage in baseball. If they can play cleaner baseball, they could have a shot.
Seattle is the most surprising team in this division, and not in a good way. They aren’t nearly as good as they should be after signing Cruz. There was a long stretch where they were only getting help offensively from Cruz and Cano with his big contract was doing absolutely nothing. That being said, Cruz is their only .300 hitter, at .308, everyone else on their roster is under .270. Their team batting average is ranked 29th in all of baseball, 27th in runs scored. Just looking at the names on their roster you wouldn’t think they’d need to add a bat, but if they really want to make a run, they probably should look for one.
Onto the Angels, as much as it pains me to admit, they’re the only team I can see winning the division as is. They just took the lead in the division to get a half-game ahead of the Astros for the first time since April 19th. They’re in the middle of the pack with their team batting average, tied at .312 with Baltimore, the Reds, and the Rangers. Their team ERA is 11th in the majors. They have a decent rotation, decent bullpen and decent hitting, when it’s all working together. They could win the division, like they did last year, especially depending on who they can get at the deadline, they’re contenders.
Next up, the great state of Texas, starting with the Astros; I don’t think the Astros are going to win this division, especially without George Springer, probably their best bat and outfielder. They have some good starters. Their average is 14th in the American League and they strikeout a lot. They’re a young team. They don’t have a veteran player which they need to really hold on to the lead. But like all the other teams in this division, they could get someone during the break, before the trade deadline.
And finally, the best for last, the Texas Rangers. As soon as Darvish had to have tommy john surgery and Holland was put on DL, everyone freaked out and counted them out. But the Rangers aren’t a bad team. This team isn’t terrible, do you remember last year? I’m not saying this team is going to win the World Series; they won’t make it that far. But don’t count them out completely. They could surprise you and get the division win (I’m an optimistic person with this team since last year) but they could get a wild card spot, once everyone starts playing good at the same time, easy right? Even though the Rangers are only 2.5 games ahead of Oakland (the worst team in the league) but they are only 6 games from the top of the division, don’t write them off. I don’t see them being last in this division, but at the very least, the middle of the division. They’re going to get more starting pitching help soon (even though what they have hasn’t been too terrible) with Holland and Perez, and possibly Martinez getting called up again. If the Rangers can get a right handed bat and maybe another bullpen pitcher (like JD says he’s looking for) before the trade deadline, the Rangers can start to get better.
And if you think the Rangers are truly terrible, just be happy they aren’t the Phillies, they’re 21 games back in their division and don’t even have 30 wins, now that is when you throw in the towel on a team being contenders.
With all that being said, I really believe this division is entirely up for grabs.