2014 AL West Lineup Power Rankings Heading into Spring Training
Power Ranking AL West Lineups
Spring Training is officially under way and the countdown to Opening Day is on. All across the country, teams are starting fresh in 2014 hoping to make a run to a World Series title this fall. For the teams of the AL West, that has been a difficult goal to reach as the division has just one World Series championship since 1990 (Anaheim Angels, 2002).
For the teams of the AL West, however, that won’t stop them from giving it their best shot this season. The division is stocked full of elite talent as every team has added key pieces to make a run in 2014. Some of those pieces may work out, others not so much, but every team is making moves to be the best they can be this season. The pieces that come through for their new clubs could be the difference in which team wins the division and has the best shot at breaking their World Series drought.
But to get there, they’ll have to score some runs. Last season, the division was a mixed bag of offense. One team surprised everyone by finishing in the top three of the AL in runs scored, another disappointed despite added some huge names to the lineup, and two clubs finished in the bottom four in the AL in runs scored. This season, the entire group is looking for a more potent attack as they make a push to the division title.
Last season, the team who had the best lineup and scored the most runs won the division. Will this season be the same? If so, teams better hope they can get hot at the plate. With that said, let’s count down the lineups of the AL West as we get into Spring Training.
5. Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were in full-on rebuilding mode in 2013, finishing No. 14 in the AL in runs scored with a lineup that was as young as it was ineffective. While the team added Dexter Fowler to bat leadoff and play center field and bring back Jose Altuve at second, expect the team to continue to play young bats like George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, and Domingo Santana at some point in an effort to build for the future. Unfortunately for Astros fans, that future is not now.
4. Seattle Mariners
Despite leading the AL in home runs last season, the Seattle Mariners finished No. 12 in runs scored as they struggled to get people on base. They finished last in the AL in average and No. 13 in doubles which made for a bevy of solo shots that did them little good. This year, the lineup will be built around free-agent acquisition Robinson Cano but the team still needs to find someone to protect him in the lineup or watch him get pitched around all season long. Right now, the team is very lefty-heavy with Cano, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Logan Morrison, Michael Saunders, and Dustin Ackley, so don’t be surprised if the team goes out to get one more right-handed bat before the season starts.
3. Los Angeles Angels
It’s hard to imagine that a lineup with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton batting 2-3-4 wouldn’t be one of the best in baseball. But the Los Angeles Angels learned last year that big names don’t always turn in big stats. While Trout has been one of the best in baseball, Pujols has struggled to stay healthy and Hamilton has just plain struggled since joining the team. They lack a true leadoff hitter with Erick Aybar deteriorating at the plate and their base-running ability has dropped off significantly. While Trout stole 33 bases last year, no other Angel player had more than 12 (Aybar). If Pujols and Hamilton both return to their MVP-caliber form of years past, this might be a very dangerous lineup. If not, then it’s just going to be a very expensive one.
2. Oakland Athletics
Good luck predicting what Bob Melvin is going to do with the lineup of the Oakland Athletics from a day-to-day basis, but don’t question its effectiveness. Last season, the A’s used 133 lineups with only Coco Crisp starting at least half of the games in one spot. Nobody uses their bench to platoon better than Oakland right now as they finished 2013 No. 3 in the AL in runs scored and home runs as they ran away with the division last fall. Josh Donaldson is a possible MVP candidate if he can build off his 2013 campaign at third base and Brandon Moss is looking to repeat his power-performance of 30 home runs last season. It might be a jumble but works.
1. Texas Rangers
After failing to secure the AL West crown last season, the Texas Rangers have reloaded their lineup to add even more pop. Shin-Soo Choo takes over the leadoff position and Prince Fielder will man the No. 3 position with his powerful bat ahead of Adrian Beltre. Add to that Elvis Andrus looking to repeat his 42 stolen base performance from 2013 and two talented youngsters in Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin filling out the lineup and you have a Texas team with the most dangerous offensive lineup in the AL West.