The American League West division is loaded with MVP-caliber talent.
It is home to two of the best teams in MLB in 2021 in the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics.
Oddly, the majority of the division’s elite talent resides in Anaheim, California, home of a Los Angeles Angels organization that rarely finds itself in the postseason mix.
Regardless, we’ve ranked the three best players in the division based on recent production and career-long body of work.
Here is how the list shakes out.
3. Alex Bregman
Spoiler alert: The top two players on this list are both Angels.
The Angels almost swept the board, as Anthony Rendon was given some serious consideration at this No. 3 spot.
But ultimately, Rendon’s poor 2021 campaign thus far (.230/.305/.342) cost him the selection.
Instead, Alex Bregman gets the nod.
Bregman is a polarizing player, and for good reason, as he was a major part of the sign-stealing scandal.
That said, you can’t argue with his results (although you could argue that they’re tainted).
Bregman is in his sixth MLB season and is a career .282 hitter with an .891 OPS.
He has finished in the top-five of the MVP race twice, been named an All-Star twice, and has a Silver Slugger Award to his name.
His best season came in 2019 when he batted .296 with a 1.015 OPS.
That year, he drew a league-best 119 walks en route to an outstanding .423 on-base percentage.
He accumulated a massive 8.9 WAR in that campaign.
Alex Bregman knew it was gone.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 30, 2019
For his career, Bregman averages 6.7 WAR per 162 games.
2. Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani requires no introduction, as the two-way prodigy has made a big-time name for himself this season.
At the plate, Ohtani currently leads the American League in home runs with 23.
He has a .984 OPS and a 160 OPS+, meaning that his OPS+ is 60 percent better than league average.
On the mound, Ohtani has a 2.58 ERA, 3.53 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP over 11 starts.
He has fanned 82 batters in 59.1 innings.
His current 5.0 WAR puts him on pace for an 11.7 mark by the end of the season, and he is the runaway favorite for the AL MVP Award.
Do you guys ever think about how we all get to watch Shohei Ohtani play baseball? 🥲 pic.twitter.com/CTQjw5QRDY
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 20, 2021
You can’t say enough good things about the guy.
Ohtani is a generational talent who will be one of the most exciting players in baseball for the rest of his career if he stays healthy.
1. Mike Trout
A calf injury has deprived baseball fans of getting to watch Trout for the past month or so, but there is still no debate that the 29-year-old is the best player in the world.
Let’s run through some of his most impressive career accolades.
Trout is three-time MVP, a nine-time top-five MVP race finisher, an eight-time All-Star, and an eight-time Silver Slugger.
He has led the league in on-base percentage four times, slugging three times, OPS four times, and OPS+ six times.
In the context of WAR, he has two 10-win seasons to his credit, a historic achievement.
For his career, Trout averages 9.6 WAR per 162 games.
With that in mind, now would be a good time to remind you that a WAR of 8.0 or better is widely regarded as an MVP-caliber season.
He makes it look easy.
It will be a very long time until Trout loses his distinction as the best player in MLB.