West Coast in baseball sometimes goes under the radar for most people since the games start at 9:30 pm EST at the earliest. Hidden in those late start times are many of baseball’s biggest stars, incredible young talent, and teams with much to prove. A coast that the Astros and Dodgers have dominated for the last few seasons. Will someone new take over the top spot? Will the Angels finally get into the playoffs? Will the Padres overtake the rival Dodgers? This region is full of questions and incredible storylines.
Buy or Sell, West Divisions
The Dodgers Take a Step Back
This level of dominance that the Los Angeles Dodgers have had over the last decade or so is something to marvel at. It’s similar to the Braves’ run in the ’90s led by the three future Hall of Fame pitchers. The Dodgers have won 9 out of the last 10 division titles while winning a World Series in 2020.
It’s tough to bet against a team that had that kind of success year after year. At the same time, signing top free agents and drafting and developing players. On the outside looking in, the Dodgers organization can almost look within the organization to fill the holes once the big-name stars leave. The Dodgers still have a line-up that features Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. With a pitching staff that has future hall-of-famer Clayton Kershaw. How people doubt the Dodgers’ power in this division with that kind of firepower seems laughable.
The San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, at least to this point, are definitely on the way up. The Padres made a big blockbuster deal last year to get Juan Soto. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks’ crop of young players are simultaneously getting up to the majors and making their presence known. Corbin Carroll is a definite Rookie of the Year candidate-level player. The Padres have an All-Star filled line-up. Significant free-agent signings lead the way for them. The extension of Manny Machado to stay in San Diego makes it seem like the Padres want to be a force in the National League West. However, I don’t think this year is that year.
The Oakland Athletics Will Break The Record for Most Loses
The modern era record for losses in a single season is 120, set by the New York Mets in 1962. To be that bad is usually not something you assume will happen when the season begins. These Oakland A’s entered the season with extremely slow expectations. Everyone knew they would finish fourth in the American League West and possibly last in baseball. Despite showing a small amount of promise, the A’s are one pace to win about a game a week. If that keeps up, the Athletics would only win 26 games.
To lose that many games, a number of things have to go wrong. All these things happening to a team that wins a record-breaking number in one season is difficult. Now imagine being on the wrong side of those breaks over 162 games. It doesn’t seem possible. Even with the A’s time in Oakland seeming to end soon, it begs the question, why? The A’s have done these rebuilds for years, the way of money ball not paying for the big ticket players, instead young talent that gets traded to replace them. Usually, the A’s remain slightly competitive, but not this time.
There are a few bright spots for this season for the A’s franchise. Mason Miller took a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the Seattle Mariners. Brent Rooker has been on a tear for them all month long. Will any of this change anything? It could probably make fans want to come to the ballpark and prove to the city that the fans of Oakland want baseball in the east bay.
The Angels Finally Return to the Postseason
For the last handful of years or so, the narrative of the Los Angeles Angles are wasting Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout has become the calling cards of many of baseball’s most prominent writers and podcasters. Despite the faux attempts to sell the team, a botched stadium land deal, and a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s impressive that the team has remained even somewhat competitive.
Outside influences aside, the 2023 Angels have been okay so far. As of this article, they are a game behind the American West-leading Rangers. The roster the Angels have this season is the best they have had, possibly since the last playoff appearance in 2014. They finally have depth on the roster, plus a line-up when healthy is even more profound. The 18-14 record may not be the best in the sport, but it proves that despite the bullpen’s flaws, they can compete with the best on most nights.
The impending free agency of Ohtani puts added stress on the team to maintain a competitive edge all season and even deeper into October. The season is still incredibly young, and the team will have ups and downs. There have been more downs than ups but it is essential to keep things in perspective. Additions can be made that can improve the team, and players improve as the year progresses. Most importantly, they have Trout and Ohtani. With those two guys healthy and playing consistently, their team should always have a chance to win most games.
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