Not that it's particularly noteworthy, but in writing this headline it occured to me for the first time that "AL West" is spelled the same as the name "Al West". I have never met nor even heard of anybody named Al West, but I'm sure scores of them exist. And I would trust my life to each and every one of them sight unseen. On name alone, I can tell that Al Wests are about 6'2", barrel chested, and as honest as the day is long. A more decent name you'll never find.
1) Anaheim Angels: 86-78 (Division Winners)- I think 86 wins will be enough to take down the AL West this year. I'm just not sure which team will get there. My best guess is the Angels. Although their rotation is worse than it his been in years, their offense should be better than it has been since the '02 Championship team. Obviously four months of a healthy John Lackey will be crucial to the Angels' success. Perhaps it's his dopey face or putzy name, but nobody gives Lackey the credit for being the top 10 pitcher that he has clearly become. He is rapidly becoming this decade's Kevin Appier.
2) Seattle Mariners: 85-79 - The M's lineup is very soft and their bullpen is shambles with Putz injured and Sherill in Baltimore. They are going to need Cy Young caliber seasons out of Felix Hernandez AND Eric Bedard to win this division. If they stay healty that is a distinct possibility.
3) Oakland A's: 81-81 - On a scale of 1 to 10, just about every A's player fits in the 4-6 range (Rich Harden and his glass arm notwithstanding). Given the complete lack of star power and the absence of SF Giants level stinkers, this team is mediocrity defined. If Harden throws over 110 innings, the A's peek above .500. If he throws less, they dip just below.
4) Texas Rangers: 73-89 - Given the Rangers spotty choice for low level scouts, I don't have much faith in this organization. But seriously, folks. After Baltimore this is the worst team in the AL. They really don't do anything particularly well. Well that's not fair. Josh Hamilton is really awesome at doing drugs.