An Exact Forecast For The AL West

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We’ve reached the end of the division previews and now get the opportunity to take a look at the AL West. Baseball interest should be higher than usual after a fantastic World Baseball Classic (fantastic and profitable for us). I’m looking forward to this division and do thing there is a bit more intrigue than “The Astros will win again.” Let’s examine it.

The Athletics are not going to win anything this year. I am not sure that they are even trying to win. Along with the Nationals, they have the worst odds to win their division in all of baseball. They have some decent pitching but I really don’t expect them to make much of a move in this. We can just move on from this squad because there really isn’t much worth considering for the division. It would be surprising to see them finish anything but fifth.

A team that was very bad last year, but wanted a good year was the Texas Rangers. Those expectations, and subsequent results, didn’t come to fruition but led to Texas spending even more money in the offseason. They added two well-known starters, Jacob deGrom (arguably the best pitcher when healthy), and Nathan Eovaldi. While that might help improve them a bit, I still think the back-half of the rotation isn’t very good, and outside of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, the lineup stinks. The moves helped, but won’t put them much further than third in the division.

I loved the Angels last year, I thought that it would finally be the year that they actually won enough games to get into the playoffs. I was wrong. The Angels were not even a .500 team and they didn’t do much in the offseason to make me think they will be any better this year. I’d love to think that everyone will take a big step forward and Los Angeles will stop wasting years of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout’s careers. That probably won’t happen and they should hope they can finish in third place again because I doubt they have a chance at anything higher.

Now we get to the two teams that actually have a chance to win the division: Seattle and Houston. The Mariners took the wild card last year and probably have to hope that’s their ticket into the playoffs again this season. I was never really big on them, but I basically underestimated their young talent. I also though Robbie Ray wasn’t going to replicate his Cy Young season. He didn’t, but he was good enough. Now they have a full season of Luis Castillo as well which should help them win more games than last season. The rest of their rotation leaves some desires, but George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Marco Gonzales are all talented enough. Will Julio Rodriguez improve on his great rookie year? There are some questions about this lineup, but I think they still have the second-best team in the division.

The Astros ran away with the division last year on their path to a World Series victory. They did lose Justin Verlander in the offseason so that true dominant starter is not there. However, they still have one of the best rotations in baseball with Framber Valdez (he set the quality start streak last year), Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers, Luis Garcia, and even Jose Urquidy. One nice addition to their team is Jose Abreu. The former White Sox bopper comes over after a nine-year stint with Chicago. His home runs are down, but his average was good last year. There is more than enough talent on this Astros roster for them to remain at the top of the division. At -175 there is still some good value on this number, but you might consider passing.

I really believe no one will catch the Astros, but injuries could cause some issues with Houston. If you are looking for a bit of value on anything you can take the Mariners at +320, but a lot would need to go right. A better bet would be Astros winning and Mariners in second at +180.

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Written by David Troy

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