Cooper: American League West (AL West) ranks and predictions
Cooper ranks AL West teams and predicts outcomes for the season.
Much like the East, the AL West has two very strong teams. I predict the division winner will likely be the Houston Astros. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman run oneof the best infields in the league. Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker help run a strong outfield as well. After George Springer left, however, the Astros have fallen from their glory days. Still, most of their core is still going strong. They have Zack Grienke to pitch, which should push them over the top defensively. I will refrain from making a sign-stealing joke in this paragraph, as I do not feel like beating a dead trash can.
In second place: the Los Angeles Angels. Future hall-of-famers Albert Pujols and Mike Trout will likely lead this team to the playoffs with the help of Antony Rendon. Justin Upton and David Fletcher will also contribute greatly to this team, potentially rocketing them to a wild card spot. The big story in LA, however, will be young two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is ushering in a new era of baseball archetypes.
The heavily depleted Oakland Athletics will finish third, as they are the only mid-level team in this highly polarized division. Marcus Semien and Liam Hendricks both left in free agency. The Matts, Chapman and Olson, will have to lead this team in 2021, with only a small amount of help from Ramon Laureano and Mark Canha. The main strength of this team is the pitching, where young star Jesus Luzardo will have the support of Chris Bassit and Jake Diekman.
After Oakland, the talent in the AL West gets much worse. The last two teams are basically as good as each other – as in, not at all good. Fourth place by a hair will be the Seattle Mariners, who, after the loss of Austin Nola, will have to resort to rebuilding around a young core. Evan White and Kyle Lewis seem like the go-to guys for this, but it could take up to a decade for the Mariners to break their playoff drought, possibly around a decade.
It could be worse: the Mariners could be the Texas Rangers. Absolutely no one on this team looks promising, including the younger guys. I really can’t say much more on this subject – the majority of their team batted under .200 last year. The Rangers are stuck in a hole, and the hole is 50 feet deep and on fire.