Odds to win 2017 AL West

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Updated: March 1, 2017

Unlike the AL East and the AL Central, the American League West looks to be full of intrigue in 2017 with tons of exciting teams. In fact, I think there is a pretty darn good chance that both of the Wild Card teams in the American League come from the West. The Rangers are a perennial contender, the Astros may be the best team in the American League and the Mariners are dead set on ending their long playoff drought. That’s not even mentioning the Los Angeles Mike Trout team or the Athletics. I love the AL West this season.

AL West – Odds to Win

Houston Astros +150
Seattle Mariners +240
Texas Rangers +240
Los Angeles Angels +900
Oakland Athletics +1400

The Astros are the favorite here and for good reason, they are absolutely stacked. Last season’s team got off to an awful start and had a weak finish, but in between all that they were one of the best teams in baseball. They were 64-45 in May through August and 20-32 in April, September and October. They looked to address their weaknesses this offseason and made themselves a much more well rounded team.

Josh Reddick replaces Colby Rasmus in the outfield, Brian McCann replaces Jason Castro behind the plate, they added Carlos Beltran to DH, Norichika Aoki as a fourth outfielder and last season’s signing Yulieski Gurriel will man first. Adding that group to the core of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman makes them the deepest and possibly best lineup in the league.

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot in the division previews, but the question here is pitching. Dallas Keuchel regressed in a big way last year and he’ll probably never be that 2015 Cy Young winner again. Colin McHugh and Lance McCullers Jr. have tons of upside, but haven’t proven it. Mike Fiers is what he is and new acquisition Charlie Morton is too. That group on it’s own is fine, but the question is always health. Joseph Musgrove is waiting in the wings and is a very promising young pitcher.

This team is the favorite for a reason and while there are certainly plenty of reasons that it won’t happen, it’s hard to believe that they will happen. This team is just deep and good.

I’m admittedly biased towards the Seattle Mariners. They are my favorite team in baseball and I’ll probably place a small wager on them to win this division only because I want them to win the division. That being said, there is a pretty good chance they can win this division.

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The core of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz are three of the best hitters in the AL. Seager is elite defensively and Cruz is always challenging for the homerun crown. This offseason Jerry DiPoto has done a great job of surrounding them with players that help them. The trade for Danny Valencia could be huge for them and the trade for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger could end up winning him an Executive of the Year award. There is a lot to like about this lineup, but so much of that is potential. Haniger should be good, Dan Vogelbach could be good and catcher Mike Zunino should continue his real improvement from last year.

The pitching is going to be bailed out by a great defense, but it should still be pretty good. James Paxton looks to be a potential ace, Drew Smyly is an upgrade over what they had last year, Felix Hernandez had the worst year of his career last year but has come into camp in the best shape of his life, Hisashi Iwakuma is solid and Yovani Gallardo is a great comeback candidate. (Not saying he’ll be great, just saying he’ll be better than last year’s 5.42 ERA.) Throw in lockdown reliever Edwin Diaz and a solid bullpen and it’s hard not to like this team.

The Rangers were a team of devil magic last year. They had the lowest run differential among playoff teams despite having one of the best records. They got extremely lucky in one run games and rode that to the AL West title. This team has a ton of good hitters though and there is definitely a good team in there. Rougned Odor is only 23 and already a star, Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Fame lock and Jonathan Lucroy is an outstanding catcher. The rest of the lineup is a mix of veterans and young players. Nomar Mazara is a prospect turned solid major leaguer, Carlos Gomez is a vet, Jurickson Profar is a young guy who can play every position, Mike Napoli can only play first and Shin-Soo Choo is now a DH. On paper this lineup doesn’t look that scary, but I get the weird feeling that it will be once the season starts.

The pitching is Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and a whole lot of nothing. If Hamels continues to play like the guy we know and Darvish comes back strong, they could be dangerous. If something happens to one of those two, I don’t feel as confident.

Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and the Angels have done a much better job this year of surrounding him with players. Last year it was Trout, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols. This year looks a lot better. Cameron Maybin is a big upgrade in left, Danny Espinosa should do a nice job at second and Luis Valbuena is a solid add. This team should be good, but it all depends on the pitching. There is some sort of an injury question about Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney. If they get mostly good answers there, they could surprise people this year. If they don’t, it’ll be 2016 all over again.

Finally, the Athletics. What can I say about them? They were pretty unlucky last year, but even if things had went their way they wouldn’t have been that good. I like Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Ryon Healy to hit a ton of homeruns. Trevor Plouffe could be solid at third base. I love Jharel Cotton and Sean Manaea as young guys in the rotation. Sonny Gray could come back strong after a bad 2016 and this team could surprise some people, but I think the teams ahead of them are simply too good for them to challenge for this division.

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