In part three of this six-part series, we’re taking a look at the AL West, which has a huge talent gap between the top two and bottom two teams. The numbers used here are courtesy of the LVH sportsbook. See the other overviews here: AL East AL Central
Los Angeles: Over 92.5
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The Angels made the big splash this offseason acquiring Albert Pujols, who should take a lot of the pressure off the rest of the offense and give them a formidable lineup. They may also get an offensive lift from top prospect Mike Trout. In acquiring C.J. Wilson, they lengthened what was already a good rotation, while hurting Texas at the same time. The bullpen is a little shaky, but the oddsmakers believe they’ve moved slightly ahead of the Rangers, and I agree with them. They slide past by a couple of games.
Oakland: Under 71
I think the bloom is off Billy Beane, who has struggled to find the right mix of late and seems to be stuck making lateral-type moves. The offense is putrid with almost no power and the pitching is uneven. The irony for this team is its best attributes are speed and defense. They stay comfortably under with the possibility of a 100-loss season
Seattle: Over 71
Nothing too exciting in the pitching department after ace Felix Hernandez, and the potential quick promotion of 2011 first-round pick Danny Hultzen. They do finally have a pretty good looking group of young everyday players led by Jesus Montero. The Mariners plan to drop Ichiro Suzuki to the third spot in the lineup so, maybe, he becomes a little more power driven. This team still needs a lot of work, but there’s enough there to win 75 games.
Texas: Over 91.5
There’s a lot of pressure on Japanese import Yu Darvish and converted closer Nefatli Feliz to become top-of-the-rotation guys quickly. The rest of the staff is efficient but not great. Joe Nathan is going into his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, but he’s getting up there in age. This team will rise and fall with its offense, which has an excellent combination of power and speed, and a good mix of young players and veterans. They inch past the number but get edged out by the Angels for the division.