MLB 2021: AL West Division Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

AL West Division Preview for MLB 2021

Houston Astros – Look for the Astros to finish in the upper 80s for a win total this season and challenge Oakland for the top spot in this division as they battle it out. Houston has weathered the storm after the sign-stealing scandal and this team has a deep pitching rotation. Perhaps not as dominant at the top as others but deeper. Also, a solid bullpen and still a solid lineup with a strong infield too. Astros are still a tough team.

Los Angeles Angels – These team should be right around .500 but are hard to gauge in my opinion with so many question marks. Bundy, Ohtani, Heaney are the top 3 in the rotation and Bundy struggled so badly not too long ago in Baltimore. Is he totally past all that? What about Ohtani injuries impeding him? Heaney has good stuff but had a mediocre 4.46 ERA last season. Getting a new closer in Iglesias was big and this team has a solid lineup but will the rotation hold up? Starting pitching a key here. 

Oakland Athletics – Will battle with Houston for top spot in the division and should have a win total in the upper 80s. New closer with Rosenthal instead of Hendricks but overall this is a solid bullpen. Respectable but not dominant rotation. New DH as Khris Davis now with the Rangers. A’s likely better off in that spot now but overall this lineup most produce better. That will be the key to Oakland winning this division. They must hit a little better this season. Keep an eye on that with this team that, thanks to strong management/coaching always seems to manage to do more with less than other teams! 

Seattle Mariners – Should stay out of the basement in this division thanks to the Rangers but a 90-loss season appears likely. Seattle has Marco Gonzales at top of rotation but never should have traded away Taijuan Walker. Bullpen has former Rangers closer Rafael Montero and some question marks. The lineup is a concern as they were one of worst hitting clubs in the league last season. This will simply be a tough team to trust often. They will have to get their lineup going to even be a threat at getting to a .500 season here. 

Texas Rangers – This team unlikely to avoid the basement in this division. The Rangers targeted for about mid-60s in wins this season. Kyle Gibson is their number one starter in the rotation. No disrespect to him but he would not be a number one on any other team in the majors. He had a 1.53 WHIP last season! That is only the start of problems with this Texas team. They have major question marks throughout their rotation and their closer Leclerc is off a major shoulder injury and overall the bullpen has a lot of unproven arms heading into the season. The batting lineup one of the worst in the majors and absolutely horrific when it comes to getting on base. A very ugly .285 OBP last season. Rangers could lose 100 games this season unless they get some surprises somewhere. Hope springs eternal at the start of a season but not a lot of it in Texas for these Rangers based on how things look in Arlington. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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