Apr 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) runs the bases and eventually scores during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

April MVPs of the AL West

Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yes we’re only a month into the 2014 season and it’s way too early to buy playoff tickets or start handing out awards; however, thisis a good time to evaluate the performanceso far of teams and players. With around thirty games under their belt, the teams in the American League West all have players that have been vital to their success so far. Yes, even theAstros have players who have been playing really well in the early going. Lets take a look at each AL West teams’ best offensive player and pitcher.

Los Angeles Angels

The Halos have played .500 ball so far this season (14-14) and so clearly they haven’t put it together the way they would like quite yet. But the best player in baseball continues to be on their team and that is never a bad thing. Every time you think Mike Trout is finally going to come down to earth, he reminds us of the abilities he has. The star center fielder did not miss a beat at the beginning of the season and continues to play at a consistently high level. Through 28 games Trout is hitting .316 with six homers, 18 RBI, and a OBP of .395. Yes, his steals are down and his strikeouts are a little elevated, but those numbers are just to remind us that, yes, he is in fact human.Honorable mention: Albert Pujols

C.J. Wilson is the ace of a pitching staff that has pitched pretty well so far and who is proving to be pretty deep as well. Wilson is 4-2 with a respectable 3.18 ERA in 39.2 innings. The lefty’s 41 strikeouts are tied for seventh in the league and boasts a solid 1.109 WHIP. With Jered Weaver not pitching as well as he has in the past, the Halos are reliant on Wilson to provide a strong presence at the front-end of the rotation and so far he has delivered.Honorable mention: Garrett Richards

Oakland Athletics

The defending three-time division champs have gotten off to a fabulous start in 2014 with a 18-11 record, including a 12-5 mark on the road. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is making a strong case to be an All-Star this year and he has been the leader of the A’s offense so far. He’s hitting .280 with 7 homers and 23 RBI and is sixth in the league in hits with 35. The 29-year old had a very solid 2013 campaign when he finished 4th in the MVP voting. Clearly Donaldson is emerging as one the better players in the league and his success is helping to breed team success.Honorable mention: Yoenis Cespedes

Sonny Gray has made a case so far for him being one of the best pitchers in the league. In 6 starts, the right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 41 innings. The strength of the A’s team is their pitching and while they lost A.J. Griffith for the season due to Tommy John surgery, there have been several guys to step up. Gray is young, 24, but he has shown that he is not overwhelmed by the position he’s in as the ace of the staff. Assuming he stays healthy, Gray could make a run at the Cy Young Award this season. Honorable mention: Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez

Texas Rangers

The Rangers have got off to a good start considering the injury issues they’ve had to endure. They are 13-11 and poised to make a run into October once their injured comrades return. Offensively they have been led by the newcomer, Shin-Soo Choo. The left fielder is hitting .325 with an OBP of 446 and OPS of .971! Clearly the change in leagues has not hurt Choo’s ability to be the catalyst at the top of the lineup and he continues to be one of the best players that no one talks about. Honorable mention: Alex Rios

In a bit of a shocker, the Rangers best pitcher has been Martin Perez, not Yu Darvish. Perez, a 23-year old lefty has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.95 ERA with a WHIP of 1.078. Perez won 10 games for Texas last season and showed he’s belongs in The Show. This year, however, he’s proven he not only belongs, but he’s here to stay and possible contend for an award someday. Honorable mention: Yu Darvish, Joakim Soria

Houston Astros

To find the best offensive player on the Astros is no easy task and it’s not because there are too many to choose from. The team “boasts” a .213 team batting average which is tied with the Padres for the worst in the majors. So finding a player that has performed much better than hard is a difficult task. Catcher Jason Castro has shown so far that he’s about as good as it gets for the Astros. The 27-year old has hit 4 homers and knocked in 13 runs in the early going, but he’s only hitting .221. Yeah, it’s pretty bad down in Houston, but the future still looks bright as their farm system is loaded. Right field prospect George Springer has joined the big league club ahead of schedule, but he still needs some time before he flourishes. Honorable mention: Jose Altuve, Jeff Bagwell (just kidding)

It doesn’t get much better on the pitching side as the Astros have a team ERA of 4.73 which ranks them 13th in the league. Newcomer Scott Feldman has been the best starter for Houston by far and his numbers are pretty solid. He is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts and he has a WHIP of .0938. Wins are going to be hard to come by for pitchers considering the state of the offense, but hopefully Feldman doesn’t get too frustrated with his team not backing him up with runs to the point where it affects how he pitches on the mound.Honorable mention: Dallas Keuchel, Matt Albers

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners have also struggle mightily on the offensive side as they have posted a .230 team batting average and which is “good” enough to be just ahead of the Astros in the league. Cather Mike Zunino has been the best overall hitter so far, but of course it’s all relative. Zunino is hitting .272 with 4 homers and 13 RBI. It’s pretty bad in Seattle offensively, but if you were a baseball there, you’d probably feel pretty safe.Honorable mention: Robinson Cano

At least one thing remains the same, Felix Hernandez is still the best pitcher on the team and maybe the league. His numbers are solid of course (3-1, 2.53 ERA, 53 SO in 46.1 innings), but just imagine what they would be if he got consistent run support. King Felix is a special player and the Seattle pitching staff have been good as whole this season. They have 3.57 team ERA which places them third in the league. So the Mariners have the arms to be competitive in the division, but you obviously can’t win if you don’t score runs.Honorable mention:Roenis Elias

Tags: AL West MLB

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