The Houston Astros were the team to beat in the AL West before the season started.
They are the ones with six straight Championship Series appearances and two World Series titles since 2017.
They have basically the same core that led the franchise to four World Series appearances in the last six years.
However, they are not the leaders in the West as of Monday afternoon, not even after winning nine of their last ten games.
The Texas Rangers are.
Yes, a team that has had nothing but struggles since 2017 is now ready to contend after making sizable investments in 2022 and 2023.
Texas is leading the pack with a 29-17 record, a +108 run differential that is second in the American League, and seven wins in their last ten contests.
Rangers star Nathaniel Lowe had to witness how virtually all analysts left the Rangers for dead before the season.
They said it was the Astros’ division to lose.
In fact, the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners were popular picks to finish higher than the Rangers by most analysts.
But Lowe says it’s the Rangers’ division to lose, and he has a case.
Nathaniel Lowe on where the Rangers stand in the AL West:
"The division is ours to lose" pic.twitter.com/qGCF0GVNqW
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 22, 2023
The Astros might be the hottest team in the junior circuit, but the Rangers are also playing great baseball.
They haven’t collapsed or disappeared after their strong start.
In fact, they are stronger than ever, even without Jacob deGrom.
Lowe himself has been a big reason why they has been able to stay on top.
He is slashing a cool .279/.354/.454 with five home runs and 1.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
The Astros might or might not erase the two-game deficit they currently have with the Rangers, but one thing is clear: Texas won’t make it easy at all.
This team has arrived.NEXT: Marcus Semien Owns An Elite 2023 Stat