We simply cannot wait for the new MLB season to start, and we are counting down the days until that very first pitch is thrown. If you are like us and love the MLB, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the AL West and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
It was a rough year of criticism aimed at the Houston Astros for their sign stealing scandal that came to light and ultimately helped them win the 2017 World Series. It didn’t seem to impact the Astros too much and they just banned together, put their head down and proceeded to win their third American League pennant in the last five years. A redemptive World Series crown was right within their grasp, but they fell just two games short, losing to the Atlanta Braves.
Ready to bring the heat. pic.twitter.com/jQAeNJF5x2
— Houston Astros (@astros) April 2, 2022
Houston will once again be right back in the race for the World Series after returning eight of their nine everyday position players and the return of Justin Verlander to the pitching rotation. Verlnder may show some rust early in the year after missing a large chunk of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but I expect the 2-time Cy Young winner to get back to his all-star form within the first couple months.
Still having Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman in the prime of their careers paired with breakout hitter Kyle Tucker from last season will have this batting lineup scary once again. If Houston can do anything to bolster what is their only weakness, which is the bullpen, this team will be right back winning another AL West title and AL pennant.
Los Angeles Angels
2021 was the year of Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani won the AL MVP unanimously, finishing third in the AL in home runs (46) and second in OPS (.965), all while starting 23 games as a pitcher, going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and striking out 156 batters. Despite his electric performances, it was another mediocre season for the Angels and wasted year of Mike Trout’s prime with no progress towards contention.
The Angels haven’t had a winning season since 2015 and only have made the playoffs once in Trout’s otherwise illustrious career. If they want to break that cold streak and finally make the postseason, they’ll need newly-acquired pitcher Noah Syndergaard to stay healthy and get back to all-star level. He missed most of the 2021 season following Tommy John Surgery and now at 29-years old he’s on a one-year “prove it” deal with the Angels to try and cash out for one last big contract following this season.
Shohei Ohtani is our 2022 Opening Day Starter!
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 25, 2022
Him to be the co-ace with Ohtani would be the best-case scenario but if they are contending for a playoff spot at the trade deadline I would expect them to make a move for another veteran starting pitcher. Albert Pujols will not be on the opening day roster for the first time in over ten years, and in his place will be first-time all star Jared Walsh. I think this team has a good mix of young talent and veterans and if everyone can stay healthy, I would not be surprised to see them securing a wild card spot and Mike Trout winning his first career playoff game.
The 2021 Oakland Athletics were buyers ahead of the trade deadline and brought in all-star and gold glove outfielder Starling Marte to make that final push towards the postseason. Things did not work out in their favor unfortunately, going just 34-36 after the all-star break and finishing six games back in the AL wild card race. Now the 2022 team has lost a few key players including Marte, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, and pitcher Chris Bassett so it will be a much different looking team this year.
🗣️ “That baby’s GONE!”
FINAL: OAK 8 | SD 2 pic.twitter.com/hebDren0cC
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) April 3, 2022
The A’s will try and build around breakout pitcher Frankie Montas who had a 3.37 ERA and finished 6th in the Cy Young voting. He was the bright spot in an otherwise mediocre season and now he will be tasked with trying to lead Oakland out of what seems to be a rebuilding period. Montas will be followed in the rotation by Sean Manaea, Cole Irvin, and James Kaprielian. Kaprielian is a former 1st round pick by the Yankees and just finished up a solid rookie season in 2021. He’s a guy to keep an eye on in 2022 and as the A’s stock up on more prospects heading into the future. This team isn’t ready to compete this year so I would stay away from all futures bets.
The Seattle Mariners 2021 season got off to a very slow start with them hitting for an abysmal .211 batting average as a team in the month of April. Things didn’t get much better in May, where they lost 15 games, hit for an even worse .199 average and got no-hit twice in a two-week span. This prompted the organization to call up center fielder Jarred Kelenic, who was baseball’s #4 prospect, to try and spark some offense. Kelenic couldn’t get anything going either and started his career 5-for-75 from the plate, which included a 0-for-39 slump.
Something finally clicked for Seattle in September though, and they went on an 18-8 run and had a shot at the wild card entering the final series of the season, but lost 2 of 3 to their division rival Angels and had their playoff drought extended to 20 seasons. That run to end the year was promising and made the front office enter win-now mode and they made a plethora of moves in the offseason. The acquisitions of Eugenio Suarez, Adam Frazier, Robbie Ray, and Jesse Winker make them strong contenders in the American League West.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 11, 2022
Frazier was one of the best hitters in the league in 2021, hitting for .324 with Pittsburgh before being traded to San Diego where he was misused. Robbie Ray signed a 5 year, $115 million deal with the Mariners and they have hopes of him being their first real ace since Felix Hernandez. He had an incredible 2021 season, posting a 2.84 ERA and striking out 284 batters, so Seattle fans have a lot to look forward to.
The M’s look a little undervalued in the betting markets with their solid offense that includes Mitch Hanover, Ty France, and Jesse Winker in the heart of the lineup. Number 2 prospect Julio Rodriguez is also expected to get the call-up at some point this year and compete in the outfield so there’s a lot of promise with this Mariners team and I see them competing until the end for a playoff berth.
2021 was a season to crumble up and throw in the trash for the Texas Rangers. They finished with the third fewest wins in all of baseball and lacked talent at practically every position. Texas also won just 24 games away from home which was the second fewest in the league. The team also moved Joey Gallo to the Yankees at the trade deadline as they were heading towards their fifth consecutive losing season.
The disappointing season led the front office to spend big in the offseason, committing $561.2 million to free agents Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, and Kole Calhoun. Their plan was to put-big any team for the guys they were interested in and that’s exactly what they did. Seater and Simien will be a force in the middle infield for Texas for years to come.
Gray’s ready for Opening Day. pic.twitter.com/tI6QQXuCyj
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 3, 2022
Simien hit for 45 home runs and drove in 102 runs in 2021, and will match up perfectly with Corey Seager who is one of the best hitting shortstops. Seaver was always a model of consistency in his time with the Dodgers, hitting over .295 in six of his seven seasons and making the all-star team twice. The departure of Jordan Lyles will serve as an improvement to the pitching staff, as his 5.15 ERA was a big reason for their struggles in 2021.
Jon Gray will be a much better replacement for a Rangers team that will be much improved. Much improved still won’t be enough to contend however, as this top-heavy roster has a considerable drop off in talent after their main guys and still have a long ways to go before we consider putting any money on them winning anything.
When the 2022 MLB season does eventually kick off, make sure SportsTips is your go-to destination for MLB picks. We will provide daily MLB picks from our expects, so you can place your bets with more confidence!