The dynamic of last season’s American League West was highly unusual, with the normally prolific Houston Astros finishing below .500 while the Oakland Athletics took home the divisional crown by seven games. It was clear the Astros were underachieving, largely due to injuries throughout the shortened season, and they bounced back with two playoff series wins. The second of those came against the Athletics, a disappointing result for Oakland after such a strong regular season. These two teams figure to battle again for the AL West title in 2021, though the improved Los Angeles Angels should be able to make some noise as well.
World Series Odds: +2200
American League Odds: +1000
AL West Odds: +125
Win Total Over/Under: 87.5
MVP Contenders: Alex Bregman +1200
Cy Young Contenders: Zack Greinke +3300
The Astros’ most notable loss is George Springer, who signed with the Blue Jays in free agency. Myles Straw figures to take the bulk of the center field time, which means a defensive upgrade but also a very significant offensive downgrade. The Astros will also be without starting pitcher Framber Valdez for at least the beginning of the season as he recovers from an injury to his throwing hand, but there’s plenty of rotation depth here, especially with addition of Jake Odorizzi. Overall, this is an Astros roster that is somewhere between where they were during the 2020 regular season and where they peaked in the playoffs, and they’re firmly established as a playoff contender once again.
World Series Odds: +2500
American League Odds: +900
AL West Odds: +145
Win Total Over/Under: 86.5
MVP Contenders: Matt Chapman +1500
Cy Young Contenders: Jesus Luzardo +2500, Frankie Montas +3500
The Oakland A’s most notable roster change was swapping out Marcus Semien for Elvis Andrus at shortstop. There isn’t a ton of youth on this team, but the development of Jesus Luzardo is the one area that could result in a major stride forward. The A’s were a solid team that probably overachieved in 2020, but they’ll be a solid team again in 2021.
World Series Odds: +4000
American League Odds: +2000
AL West Odds: +375
Win Total Over/Under: 83.5
MVP Contenders: Mike Trout +225, Anthony Rendon +1500, Shohei Ohtani +2000
Cy Young Contenders: Andrew Heaney +3300
The Angels were plagued by injuries throughout 2020, and whether or not they can stay healthy will be a key factor in deciding if they can make it to the playoffs in 2021. Shohei Ohtani in particular has dealt with a variety of issues, but it sounds like he’s going to be available as both a batter and a pitcher to start the season. The Angels added Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb to their rotation during the offseason, but the rotation is still far from a strength and Ohtani could play a big role in changing that. The Angels’ bullpen was perhaps their biggest weakness last season, and they also added Raisel Iglesias in hopes of resolving that issue.
World Series Odds: +10000
American League Odds: +5000
AL West Odds: +2600
Win Total Over/Under: 72.5
Cy Young Contenders: Marco Gonzales +2500
ROY Contenders: Jarred Kelenic +650, Julio Rodriguez +2000
The Mariners still very likely won’t be pushing for a playoff spot in 2021, but the rebuild is in full swing and there are plenty of promising young players to be excited about. Kyle Lewis and Dylan Moore had breakout seasons in 2020, and Jarred Kelenic is among the favorites for the AL Rookie of the Year. There’s not quite as much to look forward to on the mound, though Marco Gonzales has been a pleasant surprise and is actually a Cy Young contender according to the betting odds. James Paxton is making his return to Seattle as well, and while he’s had a long list of injury problems in recent years, there’s at least a chance he’ll be able to regain form and be a key contributor to the rotation.
World Series Odds: +15000
American League Odds: +5000
AL West Odds: +6000
Win Total Over/Under: 66.5
The Rangers are in the midst of a rebuild as well, though they have a bunch of veterans on their roster and there doesn’t seem to be a clear path for Texas to turn things around any time soon. The Rangers’ lineup has plenty of formerly good players, and the overall offensive talent is lacking. Nate Lowe, Leody Taveras, Willie Calhoun, and Nick Solak are young players with potential, and Kohei Arihara and Dane Dunning are two intriguing pitchers on the roster with a chance to develop. The rest of the starting rotation is mediocre, however, and the win total set in the mid-60s does seem appropriate for this team.
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