AL West Round Up

Welcome one and all to theBRKDWN’s predictions as we head into the 2020 MLB season. This week is the AL West and I share my thoughts on each team’s outlook as well as their postseason chances. Stick with us throughout Spring Training for the latest around the league!

**All win totals in this series are from Circa Sports on February 7th. As always, remember to shop for the best prices possible if you are looking to wager on or against a particular team**

Predicted Standings

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Oakland Athletics
  3. Los Angeles Angels 
  4. Texas Rangers 
  5. Seattle Mariners

Houston Astros 

2019 Record: 107 – 55 (1st)

2020 Win Total: 94

2020 Playoffs? Yes

Yes, we all know about the scandal; no need to beat a broken trash can at this point. The Astros will most likely win the AL West yet again because the talent on the roster can’t be denied. While the loss of Gerrit Cole really stings the Astros rotation, having a 1-2 punch of Justin Verlander and Zack Grienke should be enough to hold down the fort; unless they have a steep decline in performance due to age of course. 

The rest of the lineup is mostly identical to the one that fell in the 2019 World Series, but now with a full season of Yordan Alvarez could be interesting if he could carry that hitting over to 2020. The Astros will be booed at every single road game this year and it will really test the character and mentalities of these players if they are able to shut the noise out. With every player’s integrity on the line, it will be interesting to see if they will shut everyone up or turtle up into a nearby garbage can. 

Oakland Athletics

2019 Record: 97 – 65 (2nd)

2020 Win Total: 89

2020 Playoffs? No

Another fruitless offseason has come and gone for the Oakland Athletics. The well-known reputation of not spending big money in the offseason has followed the A’s for years now. They have managed to field back to back playoff teams led by the likes of Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Marcus Semien had a breakout season in 2019 and the A’s hope he is able to replicate that success in 2020. The pitching, on the other hand, is more of a question mark. With no clear ace in the rotation, the A’s will rotate a committee of starters throughout the season to give them a chance to win every night. 

What the A’s are mostly looking towards is whether slugger Khris Davis could return to usual .247 BA and 40+ HR form, as 2019 was a very down season for Davis. With the A’s investing in keeping Davis around early last season, they would like to see their investment pay off this season. While the A’s are very capable of making the playoffs for a third consecutive season, the lack of offseason moves and money spending just might be too much to overcome in the end and I can see them just missing out on the postseason.   

Los Angeles Angels 

2019 Record: 72 – 90 (4th)

2020 Win Total: 85 ½ 

2020 Playoffs? No

For the love of God, Angels can you stop wasting Mike Trout’s career? Trout was once again a monster in 2019 and took home AL MVP despite missing the last month of the season with an injury. The Angels realized that maybe they should get some help around their superstar and signed another star player to a long term contract in Anthony Rendon. Rendon is a great addition to the Angels lineup which would feature Trout, Otani, Rendon, half a season from Justin Upton and whatever is left from Albert Pujols. 

However, the Angels failed to land an impact pitcher as they were in on Gerrit Cole who ended up signing with his childhood team New York Yankees. The best addition to their pitching rotation is signing Julio Therian and while it’s a slight upgrade, it is not significant enough to turn the tide of the rotation which has lacked an ace for many years. If everyone is healthy in the lineup and the pitching performs to their standards unfortunately, the Angels will miss the playoffs yet again.   

Texas Rangers 

2019 Record: 78 – 84 (3rd)

2020 Win Total: 80

2020 Playoffs? No

The Texas Rangers had an interesting offseason, to say the least. While ravaged by injuries to key players last season, they managed to have a respectable season; thanks in part to career years from Mike Minor (who I swear is under the age of 40) and a standout season from Lance Lynn. The Rangers realized that if their position players can stay healthy in 2020, they could do damage. The front management went out and added to their strength in 2019 by acquiring Corey Kluber from the Cleveland Indians. After a very injury-riddled and overall bad year for Kluber, the Rangers are hoping a change of scenery will do wonders for the 2-time Cy Young Winner. 

With another somewhat minor addition of Todd Frazier to play third base, the Rangers will be looking for a wild card spot in the AL that I simply do not see them getting. It will be really tough for Minor and Lynn to have the seasons they had last year given their track record and age. The lineup is very strikeout prone which could be tough to get guys on base if they’re not launching home runs. I understand the Rangers have high hopes as they are moving into a new facility for 2020, this is not a playoff team. 

Seattle Mariners

2019 Record: 68 – 94 (5th)

2020 Win Total: 66 ½ 

2020 Playoffs? Hell nah

The easiest pick of this prediction is, of course, the sinking Seattle Mariners. Remember when they were 13-2 to start the season last year? Good times. Seattle only won 55 of their last 147 games. It’s going to take years before the Mariners are competitive again and asking for their fans to be patient in a rebuild while already not making the playoffs since 2001, is just downright cruel. With King Felix officially moving on to the Atlanta Braves and trying to secure a spot in the rotation, an era is officially over in Seattle. 

I am not going to sugarcoat it, the Mariners will be awful in 2020 and honestly, 66 ½ wins may be generous to them. With a few intriguing prospects in the system such as Julio Rodriguez, there is a glimmer of hope in Seattle. The Mariners for sure need to continue to stock up the cupboards and get more prospects and that should be the goal over the next few seasons.     

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