In the last six seasons the Houston Astros have won the AL West Division five times and everything points to them dominating the division again this year.
Houston lost Justin Verlander to free agency in the offseason and the reigning AL Cy Young award winner will be hard to replace. However, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia can pick up the slack.
They will be without pitcher Lance McCullers Jr for the first week of the season and second baseman Jose Altuve fractured his thumb in the World Baseball Classic and will not be available until June.
Despite the injuries, the Astros will still be a strong roster and you’d be questioned if you thought they would be anything other than Division champions.
Houston have appeared in the American League Championship series five times in the last six series and won it four times, appearing in the World Series four times and winning the Fall classic twice, the epitome of a dynasty.
Last year the Seattle Mariners finally reached the postseason for the first time in 21 years.
Seattle even won their Wild Card playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays before falling to Houston.
Should the Astros falter at the start of the season through injuries or form, then maybe the Mariners can step up and take the lead. Their lineup includes Julio Rodriguez (AL Rookie of the Year for 2022), Ty France, Eugenio Suarez, Cal Raleigh and Jared Kelenic.
The rotation has the potential to be the best in the American League. Luis Castillo signed an extension after being traded to Seattle from the Cincinnati Reds in July, while Logan Gilbert and Robbie Ray are the second and third options in the pitching staff.
The bullpen is pretty good too, led by Paul Sewald and helped by Andres Munoz, Diego Castillo and Matt Brash.
Two of baseball’s superstars are on the Los Angeles Angels’ roster, so why do they usually fail to compete and challenge for the postseason?
This could be the last season for Japanese two-way player Shohei Ohtani who is a free agent at the end of the season while Mike Trout will be hoping that before he leaves he can count on the team reaching a playoff position.
The Angels enter 2023 with a solid team on paper. Not only do they have Ohtani and Trout, they also have a fit-again Anthony Rendon, Taylor Ward and Hunter Renfore.
The rotation also looks pretty good as, along with Ohtani, the Angels have Patrick Sandoval and Tyler Anderson. Reid Detmers and Jose Suarez will complete the starters.
The bullpen is above average and they will have to stay healthy to try and compete to give Ohtani and Trout a chance. If things go pear-shaped come July, Ohtani will be one of the most sought-after trade candidates there has been in .
Adding Marcus Semien and Corey Seager prior to last season was just the start, and now they have added to their pitching rotation by acquiring the best pitcher in baseball in Jacob deGrom.
Keeping the former two-time Cy Young award winner is the big question. They have also added Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney to give them a positive 1-2-3 in the rotation, it’s just keeping them fit and ready. The Rangers lost 94 games last season.
It’s going to be a long season for the A’s. On the field it’s a struggle to see how they can compete with the youngsters they have. They are crying out for experience and they have it in the bullpen with Trevor May who was acquired from the New York Mets in the offseason. However, if he performs well, he’ll probably be a trade chip.
There is also a great deal of uncertainty about where the Athletics are going to be playing in the future. It seems a long time ago that Oakland reached the playoffs for three consecutive seasons from 2018.