The AL East was the best division in MLB in 2021. That division had four teams with records over .500. However, the American League West was not far behind with three teams over .500 at the end of the year and one team, getting very close to breaking even in wins and losses.
The Houston Astros put together a 95-67 record to win the AL West in 2021. The Seattle Mariners finished in second (90-72). They were followed by the Oakland A’s (86-76), Los Angeles Angels (77-85) and the Texas Rangers. The Astros made the playoffs in the West and earned the American League spot in the World Series, where they fell to the Atlanta Braves in six games.
The Astros are once again at the top of the AL West with 67 games played in the season. However, only the Astros are over .500. The Rangers, Angels and Mariners are all above .400, but none of them have a winning record. Meanwhile, the Athletics are in last place overall in MLB in 2022.
2022 American League West picks
|To Win 2022 American League West|
|Los Angeles Angels||+1200||+1400||+1450||+1500||+1450|
It turns out those who thought the departure of Carlos Correa and Zack Greinke would hurt the Astros were wrong. The team has seemed to move on from those free agents leaving thanks to the play of Jeremy Pena at shortstop and the return of Justin Verlander to the mound. Pena is in the mix for AL Rookie of the Year with a .277 batting average, 53 hits, 27 RBIs and nine home runs. As for Verlander, the two-time Cy Young winner had been out of action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2020. Verlander has 13 starts for Houston with a record of 8-3. He leads the team in innings pitched, ERA (2.30) and strikeouts (81) and is in the mix for the 2022 AL Cy Young.
Yordan Alvarez leads the Astros in most batting categories. He is first in average (.312), home runs (19), RBIs (49) and OBP (.405). Michael Brantley, who is hitting .299, has the most hits for the Astors with 67.
With 67 games played, the Texas Rangers are already more than halfway to their number of total wins in 2021 (60-102). Texas is in second place in the AL West with a 32-35 record. The Rangers made some big deals in free agency, inking shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year deal worth $325 million and signing second baseman Marcus Semien to a contract worth $175 million over seven years. The duo has improved the team on offense and defense.
One thing to keep an eye on as far as the Rangers are concerned is their run differential. The have scored 294 runs, which is five more than the Astros, but they have allowed 291 to the Astros 230.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels have struggled this year. A long losing skid cost manager Joe Maddon his job and Mike Trout has not been the force the Angels need him to be at the plate. Los Angeles began a nine-game home stand this week by losing two straight to the 25-42 Kansas City Royals. That’s not great. They have also lost their third baseman for the season due to injury. The Angels need to find some consistency and soon.
Unless something changes in a big way, the question in the American League West is not who is going to win, but how many games the Houston Astros are going to have over the second-place team.
Pick: Houston Astros to win 2022 American League West.
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