2024 AL West Division Preview

The AL West will be extremely competitive up top in 2024, with three of the best teams in baseball in the Astros, Rangers and Mariners.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners steals second base during the thirteenth inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the American League Division Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Thanks to the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, the American League West has been the home of the last two World Series champions. Those two teams also met in the ALCS last year and they both return just as formidable as ever.

Along with the Rangers and Astros, the Seattle Mariners look to be a top-tier contender this year as well. They finished one game out of the Wild Card race last year, made the playoffs in 2022 and won 90 games back in 2021. With one of the best rotations in baseball, along with one of the game’s biggest young stars, Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners can make some noise this year.

Despite having Mike Trout, and a talented young core of players, the Angels are very unlikely to make run in the AL West this year. Meanwhile the Athletics are heading towards their third-straight 100-loss season.

Bottom line, this division looks to be a three-horse race, but arguably the best one in all of baseball. Let’s take a look at each team’s outlook this season with our staff’s full written team previews.

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Houston Astros Season Preview

Written by: West Jones

Death, taxes, and the Houston Astros in at least the ALCS, if not the World Series. The first two on the previous list are givens throughout history, and yet for the last seven years, the latter has been true as well.

Love them or hate them, the Astros have quite the dynasty going, with little to no signs of letting up anytime soon. Yes, I used the D-word to describe what has been cooking in Houston over the past seven seasons because it has been remarkable. Controversies aside, the Astros are on a heater that has been quite impressive.

This season the Astros will look to add to their current resume of winning. They will have to do so under the watch of new manager Joe Espada. While Espada has been in the Astros dugout as bench coach since 2018, this will be the first time that he will be calling the shots.

There was much angst toward Dusty Baker from many in the fan base last year, despite his success with the team that included the 2022 World Series championship. Not to mention that Baker navigated the team through the aftermath of the sign stealing saga.

Espada should do fine, but he is a first-time manager that will make some mistakes along the way. The shoes that Dusty left behind will be a bit harder to fill than some anticipate.

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Thankfully the Astros still have a solid core group of players that know how to win. The offseason saw them snag top closer Josh Hader and sign Jose Altuve to a five-year contract extension that will run through the 2029 season.

It is still yet to be determined how Houston will handle the upcoming free agency of Alex Bregman (FA at the end of this season) and Kyle Tucker (FA after 2025 season). Those will be issues that GM Dana Brown and owner Jim Crane will have to navigate but shouldn’t affect this year’s efforts…

For the rest of this preview on the Houston Astros, click here.

Texas Rangers Season Preview

Written by: West Jones

For the first time in the history of history, the Texas Rangers will be looking to repeat as World Series champions. Riding high from their shocking run through October, the 2024 Rangers will have their sights set on a return trip to the playoffs and hopefully postseason glory once again. They will have to buck the historic trends that have recently plagued reigning champions.

In the past two offseasons, the Rangers have made the biggest of splashes. First by signing Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray prior to the 2022 season, then by going out and getting Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney before last year. This offseason has been quite different.

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With the uncertainty surrounding the regional sports networks and how much money the organization will be guaranteed from TV in the future, there has been a lack of high-end spending this offseason. Couple that with the fact that because of the previously mentioned moves, the Rangers will have their largest payroll in the history of the franchise in 2024, and big signings this offseason were never in the cards.

There were calls for GM Chris Young to re-sign playoff hero Jordan Montgomery ever since Josh Sborz got Ketel Marte looking to end the World Series. On Tuesday, the southpaw signed with the Diamondbacks instead. “Just write the check,” many had said. When spending other people’s money, that really is an easy answer. Owner Ray Davis should continue to write large checks, but within reason.

What is in store for this 2024 Texas Rangers ball club? Let’s take a look at where the season might go and which players will most likely have the biggest impact.

For the rest of this preview on the Texas Rangers, click here.

Seattle Mariners Season Preview

Written by: Lyle Goldstein

The Seattle Mariners began the 2023 season with no shortage of expectations, having just broken their 21-year postseason drought and having gone toe-to-toe with the Astros in every game of the 2022 ALDS.

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The past year, however, ended in massive disappointment. Despite winning 88-plus games for the third consecutive season (marking just the second stretch in franchise history in which they have done so), the Mariners were eliminated from playoff contention in Game 161.

Their division foes, the Astros and Rangers, punched their postseason tickets, with Texas ultimately hoisting its first World Series trophy.

The front office knew the roster needed overhaul. And despite not doing much via the free agent route, overhaul they did. Jerry Dipoto and company continued to be one of the busiest and most active teams this winter, as they often are, to find the necessary reinforcements (within ownership’s budget) to get the team back into the postseason…

For the rest of this preview on the Seattle Mariners, click here.

Los Angeles Angels Season Preview

Written by: Kevin Henry

In doing research for this article, I read through a number of thoughts about what 2024 could (and a big emphasis on could) be like for the Los Angeles Angels.

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Most of those thoughts were anything but positive, with the defection of Shohei Ohtani to the Los Angeles Dodgers as one of the primary reasons why things may not be so heavenly yet again in Anaheim this year. In fact, one of the headlines that jumped out at me was one writer predicting that the Angels were due for another season in “purgatory.”

Religious references aside, yes, this could well be a tough year for the Angels, even with Ron Washington taking over as the team’s skipper and plenty of signals that a new day may be dawning in Anaheim. PECOTA predictions have the Angels coming in at 74-88, finishing fourth in what should be a daunting American League West.

However, even with Ohtani now wearing Dodgers blue, there are some reasons to pay attention to the Angels in 2024. With young players such as Nolan Schanuel, Zach Neto and Logan O’Hoppe destined to get plenty of playing time this season, there is reason to believe better times could be ahead for the Angels…

For the rest of this preview on the Los Angeles Angels, click here.

Oakland Athletics Season Preview

Written by: Clay Snowden

Well, you made it through another offseason. Spring is here and the Oakland Athletics‘ roster looks a little different. A few low cost veterans were added to the lineup as well as the bullpen, although none could be described as needle movers.

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Things have not improved much in Oakland. The stadium lacks upgrades, the team’s future is still a mess, and the A’s have turned off comments on social media post. However, baseball still needs to be played. For a moment, let’s put ownership in the rearview mirror and try to focus on the team and their outlook for 2024…

For the rest of this preview on the Oakland Athletics, click here.