Rivalry Review: Ranking the AL West Lineups Heading Into the 2023 Season
Power ranking the best lineups in the AL West
The AL West hasn't been much of a race the last few years. Aside from the 2020 season when the Athletics briefly knocked the Astros off the top of the division, Houston has reigned supreme since 2017, most years without any competition. Last year still wasn't much of a contest either.
Houston finished 16 games clear of the second-place Mariners and 33 games ahead of the third-place Angels. The 2023 season should be a tougher test for the Astros, with much of the division improving through free agency. All five teams in the West made multiple roster moves, so with that let's rank each team's lineups for the upcoming 2023 season.
Disclaimer: Opening Day lineup projections via Roster Resource on FanGraphs.
1) Houston Astros
1) 2B Jose Altuve
2) DH Michael Brantley
3) 3B Alex Bregman
4) LF Yordan Alvarez
5) 1B José Abreu
6) RF Kyle Tucker
7) SS Jeremy Peña
8) CF Chas McCormick
9) C Martín Maldonado
Forget the American League West, this may be the best lineup in baseball. Houston already possessed a lethal lineup in 2022, scoring the eighth most runs and finishing with the seventh-highest OPS in the MLB. Then this offseason they went out and added the 2020 AL MVP in Abreu and bring back a healthy Michael Brantley.
Abreu posted an .824 OPS in 2022 on the back of 40 doubles, while Brantley gives them a walking .300 hitter and a third lefty to balance the lineup.
In these projections, the reigning ALCS and World Series MVP is batting seventh. If Houston is healthy, 1-7 in the lineup are virtually interchangeable. They are all special talents.
There is just a ridiculous combination of contact, power and speed in this lineup. No team in baseball passes the baton as well as the Astros. Oh, and they have the best hitter in the game in Yordan Alvarez 100% healthy. Look for a monster season at the plate in Houston in 2023.