The AL West features the defending World Series champions and the league’s best player; however, aside from the Houston Astros, it might have been the most disappointing division in baseball. In fact, Houston won the division by an astounding 21 games in 2017. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be much different in 2018, as the Astros have strengthened their rotation and look even better heading into this season.
Houston Astros (-550)
As mentioned above, the defending World Series champions seem to have gotten even better this offseason by adding former Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Yes, they signed an ace this offseason, and he will be slotted as the number three starter, behind former Cy Young winners Dallas Kuechel and Justin Verlander. Pair the now-best starting rotation in baseball with arguably the best offense in baseball, and you get a runaway in the AL West.
Los Angeles Angels (+550)
The Angels have entered many seasons with high hopes the last few years, only to be disappointed by the team’s performance at season’s end. Of course, they do have the best overall player in the league in Mike Trout, but he can only do so much on his own. Trout enters the 2018 season as the favorite to win AL MVP, but the players that are expected to protect him in the lineup have not impressed this Spring Training. Albert Pujols continues to age, and Japanese new-comer Shohei Ohtani has had an extremely disappointing Spring Training at the plate and on the mound.
Seattle Mariners (+1000)
The Seattle Mariners currently own the longest playoff drought in all four major North American sports, having missed the postseason every year since breaking the MLB wins record in 2001. They bolstered their lineup by pairing the speedy Dee Gordon with power hitters Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, but the rotation is still sub-par, so Mariners fans shouldn’t expect to end that drought in 2018.
Texas Rangers (+3000)
The Rangers have made the postseason in five of the last eight seasons, including four division crowns; however, last season, the team finished below .500 and failed to make any big splashes in free agency this offseason. Despite finishing third in home runs in 2017, the Rangers’ starting rotation has had a problem keeping other teams off the scoreboard. It would be a surprise to see them make the playoffs in 2018.
Oakland Athletics (+3000)
Coming off three straight losing seasons, Oakland once again looks like it will finish at or near the bottom of the AL West. The truth is, the moneyball system doesn’t really work in the big leagues. A wild card appearance in the postseason doesn’t mean much to fans that have been starved of any real playoff success for years. The A’s will be hard-pressed to even compete for an above-.500 record in 2018.
*Odds based on Bovada as of 3/27/18