Less than a week to go until pitchers and catchers report. Can you feel the excitement?
The Los Angeles Angels have loaded their guns and are ready to battle the Texas Rangers for the AL West. Still, the real sheriff in town is Texas and they won’t give up without a fight.
The Rangers are locked and loaded at every single position and probably have the best lineup 1-9 as anyone in baseball. Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Craig Gentry, David Murphy. That is all kinds of nasty. 6 of those guys will hit at least 20 HRs. They can steal bases. Hit for average. Flat out ball.
On the mound, the rotation is so deep, last year’s ace, Alexi Ogando, might move to the bullpen to straighten that out. The starters seem to be shaping up as follows: Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. Feliz was their closer last year, but the Rangers like his stuff and want to feature him in the rotation. Speaking of featuring, Yu Darvish is the $60 Million Man, and all of Major League Baseball will be watching the youngster from Japan. Joe Nathan joins the Rangers and hopefully can regain his title as one of baseball’s premier closers.
Prospect wise, Jurickson Profar looks like the real deal. At 18 years old, he won’t be joining the big league team anytime soon. He also plays short stop and with Elvis Andrus recently signing a new 3 year deal, it wouldn’t shock me to see Profar change positions. He reminds me of a young Justin Upton, who at one time was also a short stop.
Despite everything they Angels did to make their team better, I believe Texas still wins this division. The only thing that can stop them is themselves or a more serious Josh Hamilton relapse.