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Mariners, Athletics Set To Challenge Angels For AL West Supremacy In 2015

Posted by on 3/13/2015 3:14:26 AM

The Los Angeles Angels ran away with the American League West when they posted a 98-64 record that was the best in all of baseball a year ago and 10 wins better than an Oakland Athletics squad that was forced to settle for a Wild Card spot. The Angels return most of last year’s roster and while the Athletics have reloaded but it’s a Seattle Mariners coming off a strong offseason that is considered to be the biggest threat and listed as the co-favorites in the division. Here is a quick look at what to expect in the AL West this season.

The Favorites

Los Angeles Angels +160

Everything came together for the Angels throughout the 2015 MLB season and the best news for their fans is that they return almost all of the key pieces that led last year’s team. Mike Trout, Matt Joyce, Albert Pujols and David Freese fill out the heart of LA order and they should be able to provide more than enough offense to compliment a strong starting rotation led by Jered Weaver. CJ Wilson and Matt Shoemaker have the potential to be very good and if they can step up behind Weaver along with Hector Santiago then the Angels should once again live up to their billing as the favorites in the AL West.

Seattle Mariners +160

The Mariners landed one of the biggest free agents available for the second straight year when they signed Nelson Cruz to slot in to their lineup and help protect Robinson Cano and provide a boost to their scoring numbers. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma lead a talented rotation with James Paxton ready to break through at the major league level. Seattle was the big offseason winner from the AL West for the second straight year but whether or not they will be able to close the gap enough to beat out the Angels for top spot is another question altogether. Look for the Mariners to improve overall but fall in to the Wild Card race with Los Angeles locking up top spot for the second straight season.

Also In Contention

Oakland Athletics +450

Oakland’s window to win it all hasn’t closed but after last year’s collapse down the stretch general manager Billy Beane had his work cut out for him as he retooled the roster. Billy Butler and Brett Lawrie draw in to a lineup that will once again feature Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick and it will be interesting to see how manager Bob Melvin handles his lineup from game to game. Sonny Gray is ready to hold down the No. 1 job and if Scott Kazmir and Jesse Hahn can put up decent numbers then the Athletics will once again be in the mix for a Wild Card spot.

Sleeper Pick

Texas Rangers +600

It will be very interesting to see how the Rangers fare after things fell apart for them a year ago and it wouldn’t be a major shocker if they challenged for a Wild Card spot out of the AL West. Prince Fielder is healthy and joined by Adrian Belre and Shin-Soo Choo in a talented lineup but the starting rotation is a mess with Yu Darvish likely to have season-ending Tommy John surgery and not a whole lot behind him to rely on. Texas won’t challenge for an AL West title but there is still enough talent there for this team to be a sleeper Wild Card contender.

Out of Contention

Houston Astros +1600

One AL West team that won’t contend for a playoff spot in 2015 is Houston as they try to take another step forward toward respectability this season. George Springer got a taste of the pros a year ago and the Astros tried to build around him with the additions of Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis but there are still too many holes in the lineup and in the starting rotation for this team to climb out of the AL West basement this year.

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