How does the AL West look after 50 games? Here’s how we grade each team.
I mean, how much higher can you get? The Astros were supposed to be this year’s best team and haven’t done much to prove otherwise. They currently sit 7.5 games up on the A’s and are tied for the most wins in baseball with 37. And nothing much has changed. George Springer (17 HR, 43 RBIs, 1.032 OPS) and Alex Bregman (17 HR, 38 RBIs) are playing out of their minds and could battle for the MVP, while Justin Verlander (2.38, 8-2) is leading the staff by putting up Cy Young numbers yet again. As a team, they lead the league in average (.277), OBP (.351), hits, strikeouts, WHIP, and opponent batting average. This is the best team in baseball.
Los Angeles Angels
I despise the Mike Trout contract. Not because I don’t think he deserves it (he does), but because it means 12 more years of him wasting away on the Angels. Once again, Trout is putting up MVP numbers, and once again the Angels are going nowhere fast. They enter May 29th at 25-29, 11 games back in the west. The offense, headed by Trout, has seen some success. Second baseman Tommy La Stella is putting up career numbers, hitting .302 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs. Third baseman David Fletcher has a .318 average, which is good for 9th in the league. And as always, Trout has been insane. He’s got a 1.014 OPS, 3.4 WAR, and just recently hit his 250th home run. But, as usual, the pitching has been bad. They rank 24th in the league with a 4.99 ERA and no one has cracked 5 wins yet. So, I beg the Angels: Please, for the love of the baseball gods, do something.
The A’s got off to a rough start, considering last season’s success. But, they’ve won 10 of their last 11, and look to be in as good form as ever. Matt Chapman has turned into one of baseball’s best dual-threats, hitting .271 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs. Frankie Montas will be an All Star, and has become the ace Oakland desperately needed last season, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.81 ERA. But, the one thing looming over this side of the bay is the ever dominant Astros. A slow first month gave the Astros a head start, and the A’s will not recover. Once again, they’ll have to try and make their presence known from the Wild Card Spot.
Positives for the Mariners 2019? 1) Ichiro got to retire in Japan during a spectacular ceremony. 2) They have the 6th most runs in baseball. 3) They homered in each of their first 17 games, an MLB record. 4) They started 13-2. So, how are they 5th in the AL West at 24-34? For one, in their first 15, they were playing out of their heads. The glimmer of hope that they might end the longest playoff drought in sports was a mirage. But, to be more technical about it, their pitching has been atrocious. They are 28th in ERA, and the lack of defense has become apparent. King Felix’s best days are officially behind him, as the former Cy Young winner is 1-4 with a ERA over 6. He will have to re-invent himself to find any success. The Mariners blew it up in the offseason, and the results show it.
The Rangers have shown some promise. Joey Gallo, Arlington’s 2019 MVP, is playing incredibly well. Once again, he’s putting up great long ball statistics (15 HR, 35 RBIs), but he is also hitting well, with a .278 average and a 1.057 OPS. He could become a perennial all-star. Hunter Pence has been a great addition, hitting over .300. And another veteran, Elvis Andrus, has been putting up great numbers. So how are they just over .500? Pitching. They are 27th in the league in ERA, and their bullpen proved to be a problem. If this offense can miraculously continue to carry them into a position to contend on July 31st, they’ll need some pitching to do anything in the playoffs. But considering the expectations going in, it’s been a solid year.