AL West Preview: World Series Champion Astros Remain Clear Favorite

Seattle Rising Behind Budding Star Julio Rodriguez

Are the Seattle Mariners Ready to Dethrone the Houston Astros as Kings of the AL West?

The Mariners finally broke through in 2022, with 90 wins and their first playoff appearance in 21 years. While the Astros were once again the class of the division — and baseball, for that matter — Seattle clearly closed the gap on the World Series champions.

With Opening Day right around the corner, Houston remains favored to win the AL West at -200. Seattle, of course, is next in line at+300, with the Texas Rangers a distant third at+750.

Let’s take a closer look at the odds in our AL West preview.

Astros logo Houston Astros

Odds to win American League West: -200
Odds to win World Series: +650 (1st)
Regular Season Wins: 95.5 (Over -120, Under -110)

Houston is the clear favorite in this AL West preview, and with good reason. The Houston Astros have finished atop the division five of the last six seasons and are bidding to become the first club since the 2000 Yankees to repeat as World Series champion.

The Astros lost three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. to the injured list with a muscle strain in his right elbow. Still, Houston’s staff is littered with quality arms. Framber Valdez, Christian Javier, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia figure to anchor the rotation, with highly touted rookie Hunter Brown also in the mix.

The bullpen is elite too, with Rafael Montero inking a $34.5 extension to return as Ryan Pressley’s set-up man.

Eight-time All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve will miss at least two months after breaking his thumb in the World Baseball Classic. His absence is undoubtedly a big blow to the lineup. That said, it shouldn’t slow down Houston too much. With Yordan Alvarez — who has been eased along in spring training due to a sore hand — Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, and newly signed first baseman Jose Abreu, the Astros’ lineup remains imposing.

Angels logoLos Angeles Angels

Odds to win American League West: +900
Odds to win World Series: +4000 (tied for 12th)
Regular Season Wins: 81.5 (Over -130, Under EV)

Few continue to do less with more than Los Angeles, which now owns the longest postseason drought in baseball. The Angels have not been to the playoffs since 2014 nor won a playoff game since 2009. Altogether, they’ve missed the postseason 10 times in Mike Trout’s 11 full seasons.

With fellow superstar Shohei Ohtani due to hit free agency after this season, the clock is ticking on Los Angeles’ window of contention.

While the Angels didn’t make any type of splash over the winter, they did bolster the supporting cast around Trout and Ohtani, with the additions of power-hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe and utility infielders Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela. They also signed left-hander Tyler Anderson, who’s coming off a career year (15-5, 2:57 ERA) with the crosstown Dodgers.

Athletics logo Oakland Athletics

Odds to win the American League West:+12500
Odds to win World Series: +40000 (29th)
Regular Season Wins: 59.5 (Over -115, Under -115)

Coming off a 100-loss season, things remain bleak in Oakland. At 59.5, the Athletics and Nationals share the lowest projected win total in baseball.

With a paltry payroll, few proven commodities in the lineup after trading catcher Sean Murphy, and a young pitching staff, the Athletics are in for a long summer. Really long.

For now, the focus is on developing players like Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache, JJ Bleday, and Ken Waldichuk.

Mariners logo Seattle Mariners

Odds to win the American League West: +300
Odds to win World Series: +2200 (tied for 10th)
Regular Season Wins: 87.5 (Over -120, Under -110)

The Seattle Mariners won 90 games last season and broke the longest postseason drought in North American sports at 21 years. What will they do for an encore? They added some pop to the lineup with Teoscar Hernandez (25 HR, 77 RBI in 2022), plus a quality glove at second base in Kolten Wong.

Assuming reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez continues his ascent as one of baseball’s best young stars, the Mariners won’t have any issues producing runs.

Seattle also has an elite bullpen, led by Andres Munoz, Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo, and an ace atop its rotation in Luis Castillo (2.99 ERA, 167K in 150.1 innings in 2022). Logan Gilbert, Robbie Ray, and George Kirby figure to slide in behind Castillo.

There’s enough talent in place to challenge Houston. At plus odds, Seattle offers strong value in our AL West preview.

Rangers logo Texas Rangers

Odds to win the American League West:+750
Odds to win World Series: +4000 (tied for 12th)
Regular Season Wins: 82.5 (Over -110, Under -120)

Texas made a splash in free agency, landing two-time National League Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom on a 5-year, $185 million contract. His debut will be one of the most anticipated games on the MLB schedule. When healthy, deGrom is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, however, injuries have limited him to just 156.1 combined innings the last two MLB seasons. The Rangers also added middle-of-the-rotation help in Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney.

Corey Seager (career-high 33 home runs in 2022), Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia are back to provide thump in the lineup. Only three AL teams homered more than Texas (198) last season.

While Texas lost 94 games, it went 88-74 against the MLB spread, second-best in the AL.

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