Interesting questions abound when assessing the American League West in 2022. Can anyone knock the Houston Astros from their perch atop this division? What does reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani have in store as an encore? Will the Mariners finally snap their postseason drought? Will the Rangers’ $500 million double-play combination — Corey Seager and Marcus Semien — pay immediate dividends? And will the Athletics ... well, it’s probably best we not talk about the A’s. They are in the early stages of what looks like a major rebuild.
Here are each team’s odds to win the AL West this season, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
2022 AL West odds
Favorites: Houston Astros
The top 6 in the Astros’ everyday starting lineup still looks scary, especially if they get healthy seasons out of Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley. Even sans Carlos Correa, there shouldn’t be much drop-off from what was the best offense in baseball last season.
The rotation is deep, too, led by 39-year-old Justin Verlander. Who knows how much he has left in the tank following his 2020 Tommy John surgery, but the last time Verlander pitched a full season — 2019 — he was the AL Cy Young Award winner. Behind him sit a quartet of hurlers — Jose Urquidy, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia — who are all 28 years old or younger, pitched at least 100 innings last year, and had a huge performance in the 2021 ALCS and/or World Series. Houston needs that starting pitching depth since Lance McCullers Jr., their ace at the end of last season, is still dealing with a forearm injury he sustained during the playoffs and won’t be ready for Opening Day.
Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Hector Neris and Blake Taylor make up a pretty solid middle relief crew in front of All-Star closer Ryan Pressly. The Astros still soar above the rest of the field here because they are very well-rounded.
Darkhorse: Seattle Mariners
Is this the year? The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001 — the longest postseason absence for any team in major North American pro sports. But they were in the 2021 Wild Card race down to the final day of the season, and there are reasons to believe they will take a step forward. Their recent trade with Cincinnati for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Eugenio Suarez add much-needed pop into a lineup that was a little below league-average last season. Former top prospect Jarred Kelenic had a hot month to close last year and should improve in his first full season in the big leagues. And then watch out for Julio Rodriguez; one of the best prospects in baseball is looming and should be in Seattle this summer. He’s a face-of-the-franchise type player.
The Mariners augmented their rotation by signing 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, giving their staff the true ace that it lacked. The Mariners’ best starter last season, Chris Flexen, may be their fourth-best starter now, behind veteran Marco Gonzales and 24-year-old Logan Gilbert, who has a ton of upside as he enters his second season. The M’s have the third-best odds to win this division, but they have the second-best team on paper; their pitching staff far surpasses what the Angels and Rangers possess. Now we’ll see if they can put it all together to experience playoff baseball for the first time since Ichiro was a rookie.
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