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What scouts like -- and don't -- in the AL West

@brianmctaggart
May 9, 2019

As baseball heads toward the quarter mark of the regular season, some teams are still searching for identities, while others are rolling along nicely and others are spinning their wheels. MLB.com asked several scouts who have seen each team in the American League West to anonymously share their likes and

As baseball heads toward the quarter mark of the regular season, some teams are still searching for identities, while others are rolling along nicely and others are spinning their wheels. MLB.com asked several scouts who have seen each team in the American League West to anonymously share their likes and dislikes for each club:

Angels

What they like: “They can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Getting [Shohei] Ohtani back is really going to help their offense. [Kole] Calhoun is really swinging the bat well at the top of the order. [Andrelton] Simmons has been solid. Offensively, as a team, they’re going to be able to put up some runs. They’re athletic, they steal bases, they’re aggressive offensively. They’re going to hit the long ball more than they’re going to get a ton of base hits and doubles. They’re going to hit the ball out of the ballpark. A three-run homer is going to help them.”

What they don’t like: "They don’t have a lot of starting pitch depth. Obviously, losing Ohtani from last year, he’s not pitching at all this year, their starting pitching is just thin. They’ve had a number of guys go into the rotation and have had a ton of injuries. They’ve just been piecing together the first six, seven weeks of the season. The back end of the bullpen is just OK. Ty Buttrey, their big right-hander, has taken a step forward. They just don’t pitch well. They’re just trying to piece the pitching together.” -- AL scout

Astros

What they like: "They are always going to run [Justin] Verlander and [Gerrit] Cole out there. ... They have a great position players. They are solid all around. They have All-Stars in three or four different positions. When they throw Verlander out there, they have a chance to win.”

What they don’t like: "Their bullpen has been a little suspect. I just think the back of their rotation isn’t as good as they have been in the past when you are throwing Wade Miley out there, and [Dallas] Keuchel not there and they don’t have [Charlie] Morton. He has been good the past two years.” -- AL scout

A’s

What they like: "They swing the bats. They don’t hit a lot of home runs, but they put the ball in play. With [Marcus] Semien and [Chad] Pinder and [Matt] Chapman obviously [driving] in runs; they’ve just got [Matt] Olson back off the DL. They’re aggressive on the bases. They don’t play small ball, but they put the ball in play and manufacture runs. Starting pitching is OK. I really like the back end of their bullpen with [Blake] Treinen and [Lou] Trivino.”

What they don’t like: "The starting pitching doesn’t have a lot of depth. They’ve had some guys come up from the Minor Leagues, but they don’t have a lot of starting pitching depth, similar to the Angels.” -- NL scout

Rangers

What they like: "They have a balanced offense in terms of being able to hit the long ball and manufacture runs from top to bottom. They have a talented and consistent offense in terms of producing runs. I like their offense. They can drive in runs and hit the long ball. They can put pressure on pitching and work the count. They can manage an at-bat. I think that’s probably their biggest strength.”

What they don’t like: "Their pitching is going to be the question mark, too. They’ve been piecemealing their starting rotation together. [Reliever] José Leclerc has struggled. He took a huge step forward last year and was OK early this year, but the last week to 10 days to two weeks he hasn’t been very effective on the back of the bullpen they’ve lost some close games.” -- AL scout

Mariners

What they like: “For much of the lineup, there seems to be real buy in complementing their power-hitting profiles with improving patience and team-first at-bats, which I think is leading to a more sustainable and dangerous offensive group on the whole, helping to balance out the lack of routine play reliability on defense and the bullpen-by-committee approach and subsequent volatility that comes with it.”

What they don’t like: “Like most teams, the major concerns here moving forward revolve around sustainable starting pitching and who they can use to build around Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi long term. Justus Sheffield is yet to separate himself as a starter with control struggles and inconsistent stuff, Erik Swanson attacks the zone well and has filled in nicely for Wade LeBlanc, but is missing stand-alone secondary weapons to keep hitters from settling in as he turns the line up over.” -- NL scout

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.