MLB Baseball Futures Odds – 2018 AL West Predictions
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NL West Predictions & Handicapping Insight
In a trend that’s followed across most of baseball’s divisions, there are one or two teams at the top of the American League West, and everyone else is in (or entering) rebuild mode.
As recently as a year or two ago, the AL West was a close contest. Lately, however, it’s pretty much a one-horse race, with a beefed up team in SoCal perhaps making it interesting.
Houston Astros AL West Predictions
Astros AL West Division Odds: -110: +800
Astros Win Total Odds:: 93
The Astros reached the Promised Land last year as World Series champs, and although it is amazingly tricky to repeat as champs, Houston has a chance to do it.
They were the wire-to-wire favorites last season and the Jeff Luhnow and the front office has built a winning formula in Minute Maid Park.
The ‘Stros have enough pitching and an incredible lineup highlighted by the best middle infield in baseball (2B Jose Altuve and SS Carlos Correa; sorry to Cleveland, but it is), and it’s enough to be right back in the mix come October.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team representing the American League in the World Series, especially if they can silence the Bronx Bombers.
Los Angeles Angels AL West Predictions
Angels AL West Division Odds: +190
Angels Win Total Odds: 87.5
For years the Angels seemed like Mike Trout and little else, but Anaheim’s front office is looking to change that in a big way.
With adding Japanese phenom pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani, plus impact vets like 2B Ian Kinsler, SS Zack Cozart and OF Justin Upton, the Halos are announcing to the rest of the division (and the AL) that they are all-in on contending. It won’t be easy with the juggernaut Astros looking down on everyone, but the Angels look like they’re giving it a college try.
I still don’t think Los Angeles has the horses to supplant Houston, but the Angels are going to be a lot of fun, for the massive throngs of Japanese media at every home game, if nothing else. And the fact is, there’s lots else; among everyone else mentioned, Trout is the modern incarnation of Mickey Mantle.
Seattle Mariners AL West Predictions
Mariners AL West Division Odds: +700
Mariners Win Total Odds: 84.5
Seattle is kinda, sorta, half-assed contending. Sure, they have boppers like Nelson Cruz, Robbie Cano, Kyle Seager and a talented speedster in Jean Segura. Still, I’m not sure the M’s have enough in the rotation, and if everything doesn’t break just right for this team, the longest postseason drought in sports will continue.
The Mariners do a lot of spending, but it isn’t always sensible spending. For one, the club has given virtually endless dollars to ‘King’ Felix Hernandez, yet last year he was a shell of his former self. King Felix desperately needs to recover – or at least find a new normal with reduced velocity – for Seattle to really be in the mix.
Seattle has a vague shot at the Wild Card, but I don’t really see it happening.
Oakland Athletics AL West Predictions
Athletics AL West Division Odds: +2800
Athletics Win Total Odds: 73.5
I like Oakland’s young players better than most people do, but I’m not crazy. This club doesn’t have a chance in the AL West in 2018. For one, David Forst and Billy Beane haven’t gathered the top-end starting pitchers a club needs to be a real threat. Oakland’s rotation is full of decent #3 and #4 guys, but long gone are the days of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.
Oakland has found diamonds in the rough – OF Khris Davis has evolved into a premier power hitter in the bigs. The middle infield is intriguing with slugging but injury-prone Marcus Semien and the likely call-up of top prospect Franklin Barreto (acquired from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson trade that still gives Oakland cold sweats).
Beane and his bean-counters – hey, look at Oakland’s crappy stadium and you see it applies – are in a perennial rebuild, and 2018 is no different. Great uniforms, though!
The A’s will finish in the basement of the AL West division.
Texas Rangers AL West Predictions
Rangers AL West Division Odds: +900
Rangers Win Total Odds: 80.5
The Rangers seem to be a similar boat with the Mariners. They don’t have a terrible roster, but they invested in 2B Roughned Odor and he, well, stunk last year (sorry, it was too easy). Texas’s bullpen was awful last year despite having lots of fireballers (Matt Bush is a great story, look him up if you get a chance). Lastly, the rotation has too many question marks after Cole Hamels.
Texas could be a plucky competitor, but don’t expect them to roll with the LAs and Houstons of the world.
If Texas has a bad start to the season, don’t be surprised to see them be sellers at the trade deadline.
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