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AL West Preview: Resist Odds on Rangers Repeating

The unpredictability of baseball was on full display when the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks clashed in the 2023 World Series, a matchup few anticipated. Now, the landscape seems evenly matched as we edge closer to the 2024 season. The field is ripe with parity, with nearly every team in contention for a spot in the postseason.

Only a select few seem out of reach for the World Series title before the season starts, and an even smaller number appear to have no chance of securing a wild-what-ward spot. With the stage set, 2024 could introduce another dark horse as the surprise victor who makes global MLB baseball news. At the same time, a favorite like the Astros could go all the way in, which would be a more expected outcome.

AL West Preview: Resist Odds on Rangers Repeating
Wyatt Langford #82 of the Texas Rangers | John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

 

1. Houston Astros

  • Odds to Win Division: -110
  • Odds to Win AL Pennant: +450
  • Odds to Win World Series: +750

 

The Astros, traditionally a powerhouse, seem a bit off their game this year. Since their last division miss in 2016, they have diverged from their usual dominance. Early injuries to two key starting pitchers have left them relying more heavily on Cristian Javier’s potential comeback and Hunter Brown’s improvement. Despite a lackluster season in 2023, José Abreu remains their first base choice. The Astros also have Yordan Alvarez, who boasts MLB odds of +700 to win the AL MVP.

Their most noteworthy offseason acquisition is Josh Hader, whose five-year contract raises eyebrows given the spotty success of similar deals for relievers. On a brighter note, promoting Yainer Diaz to the main catcher could turn out to be a strategic masterstroke, replacing Martín Maldonado. This mix of risky and strategic moves marks a unique offseason for the Astros.

 

2. Texas Rangers

  • Odds to Win Division: +215
  • Odds to Win AL Pennant: +600
  • Odds to Win World Series: +1200

 

Congratulations to the Rangers, the reigning World Series champions. Fans, feel free to celebrate in the sunshine before the Texas heat hits full throttle. Flaunt your team’s triumph to your friends, frenemies and family nationwide.

For all the non-Rangers fans, I’m going to level with you. Yes, the Rangers boast a lineup worthy of champions but have a mediocre pitching rotation that could see a massive regression in 2024. Injuries and age haunt Max Scherzer while Jacob deGrom aims to bounce back from elbow surgery. Nate Eovaldi’s heavy pitching load over recent years raises concerns, especially now at age 34. Dane Dunning struggles against left-handers and Andrew Heaney has issues with right-handers. However, the acquisition of Michael Lorenzen, despite a challenging market, is a highlight. Signed for only one year, he presents minimal risk.

But even with its strong offense, the team’s increased likelihood of conceding runs could mean it might not replicate last year’s win tally. Don’t be surprised if Texas finishes third in the AL West with fewer than 90 wins.

 

3. Seattle Mariners

  • Odds to Win Division: +300
  • Odds to Win AL Pennant: +900
  • Odds to Win World Series: +2000

 

This winter, Seattle opted against chasing a major hitter, focusing instead on enhancing the team with strategic, if not headline-grabbing, signings. Jorge Polanco, Mitch Haniger and Mitch Garver join the roster, providing modest improvements with potential upside, especially if Haniger plays over 100 games. Expectations are high for Julio Rodríguez, who is anticipated to significantly outperform last year’s showing.

With a rotation poised to rank in the American League’s top three, the Mariners look strong on the mound. Despite the recent acquisition of Gregory Santos, who has faced injury challenges, his contribution could be key. However, the team needs to boost their infield corners’ offensive output. The Mariners are well-positioned for a wild card spot, with a division title within reach should fortune and fitness favor them.

 

 

4. Los Angeles Angels

  • Odds to Win Division: +4000
  • Odds to Win AL Pennant: +8000
  • Odds to Win World Series: +12500

 

The Angels are at a crossroads, having 100% squandered Mike Trout’s prime years, and with Shohei Ohtani’s departure, their prospects look dim for them to surpass their Vegas betting odds win total. They’re teetering on the edge, with a major injury to Trout potentially plunging them into a 95-loss season.

Yet, there are glimmers of hope with some emerging talent: Zach Neto made a stealthy impact with 1.6 WAR in just half of last season, Nolan Schanuel transitioned from college to starting in the big leagues in under a year and Reid Detmers still has untapped potential. Despite these hopeful signs, the team’s situation feels somewhat bleak.

 

5. Oakland Athletics

  • Odds to Win Division: +15000
  • Odds to Win AL Pennant: +25000
  • Odds to Win World Series: +50000

 

The A’s face a challenging year ahead, with prospects of minimal fan attendance and performance hurdles. Their talent pool is shallow, and spotlighting an All-Star for the upcoming event in Arlington, Texas, will be difficult.

The stats and trends predict a bleak scenario. However, the team’s knack for rejuvenating players’ careers could be a silver lining. J.J. Bleday, Miguel Andujar, and Aledmys Díaz — if they recover from injuries — are players to watch.

Another interesting move is transitioning Mason Miller to the bullpen, which could potentially unlock All-Star quality. Despite these efforts, the reality is stark: Many players will fill the lineup without matching the standard of other major league teams.

To the tens of A’s fans out there, we’re pulling for you.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

Who is favored to win the World Series among AL West teams?


The Houston Astros are among the favorites to win the World Series, with Vegas betting odds of +750.

Are there any MVP candidates in the AL West?


Houston’s Yordan Alvarez is the third-favorite to win the AL MVP at +700.

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