Houston Astros (33-16)
After winning the World Series in 2017, they didn’t miss a beat in 2018. Even though the didn’t reach the World Series in 2018, the Astros are a team that could still do so. If they perform like they have the last two years, the Astros are poised to make a championship run.
Key Players: Catching and 1B
With every other position filled with all-stars, Catcher and 1st base are the only legitimate concerns for the Astros. So far, Robinson Chirinos has been the better Catcher by far and at first base, it’s a whirlwind. If they can get a better first baseman at the trade deadline, this team will have no weak spots heading into the final stretch of the year.
Injuries: Lance McCullers (SP)
With only McCullers out, the Astros are poised to make a run this year. It seems like McCullers is always hurt and the team performs well without him. While he is helping when healthy, expect the Astros to do just fine until his return next year.
Texas Rangers (23-23)
This year the Rangers are still in a rebuild as they look ahead to a decent future. With stars Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo, they can provide leadership to those who will be making debuts in the next few years. This year expect the Rangers to sit around .500 the whole year.
Key Player: Joey Gallo (1B, OF)
Joey Gallo just reached the milestone of hitting 100 career home runs before hitting 100 singles. When your job is to hit nukes, Joey does not disappoint. Currently tearing it up with 15 HR and 35 RBI’s through 42 games, he’s on pace to hit around 60 HR this year. Expect him to cool off a little bit, but the power will never go away.
Injuries: Elvis Andrus (SS)
A key part of this team being so good this year. Andrus was powering the team to multiple runs and hits. With him out of the lineup, the team is going to slide.
Oakland A’s (24-25)
Having a young but experienced team can help the A’s this year. With Matt Chapman at the hot corner, his glove can save lots of runs and his bat to produce them. Mike Fiers recently just threw a no-hitter and maybe that will elevate the whole teams play moving forward. If so, this A’s team is a heavy sleeper to make the playoffs.
Key Player: Matt Chapman (3B)
Possibly one of the best young players in the game, Chapman is already having a breakout year and it’s only the middle of May. With an absolute cannon of an arm, Chapman is a favorite to win the gold glove over at 3rd. Having his bat as well makes the A’s a dangerous team to hit lots of homers off of an opposing pitcher.
Injuries: Jharel Cotton (SP), Marco Estrada (SP), Sean Manaea (SP)
3 of the 5 starters injured, never a good sign. Cotton and Manaea’s injuries date back to the 2018 season and hopefully get them both back in 2019 back and better. They will get some help back in a few weeks with Estrada due back. With the starters not healthy at the beginning of the year, this hurts their chances of making the playoffs right from opening day.
Los Angeles Angels (22-26)
When you have the best player in the game on your team, it’s hard not to be a competitive team every year. Mike Trout is hands down the best player in baseball right now but needs one or two more pieces to become a serious playoff team. They all have experience and this could be the year where everything based on this year, is a sign of the future.
Key Player: Mike Trout (OF)
The best player in the MLB right now happens to be on a team where if they didn’t have him, they would be rebuilding. With Trout on the team, the Angels will lean on him the most when a game is within a grasp. If Trout has an MVP season, the Angels still won’t make the playoffs.
Injuries: Andrelton Simmons (SS) and Justin Upton (OF)
With a key piece to the puzzle missing, the Angels need to stay around .500 without Upton to have even a chance to make a run to the playoffs. Missing one of your best run producers is never good, especially on a team where it’s hard to score runs as-is. When Upton gets back, the Angels need him to produce right away and for the rest of the year.
Seattle Mariners (23-28)
Bringing in the foreign arm of Yusei Kikuchi was a perfect addition to a team in need of pitching. But right now they need to worry about getting past the Astros. It’s been 18 years since they last won the AL West, this could possibly be the year they hang up a banner in the stadium.
Key Players: Hitters
This team can hit, score lots of runs, and steal lots of bases. They will have to single-handedly carry this team this year. With pitching being below average, scoring lots of runs is going to be a must for the Mariners.
Injuries: Dee Gordon (2B), Ryon Healy (1B), Felix Hernandez (SP), Kyle Seager (3B), Hunter Strickland (RP)
Missing possibly your best hitter always sucks. When 3rd baseman Kyle Seager gets back, the Mariners will score even more runs than they do now. Hunter Strickland is needed back ASAP!!! This bullpen is a mess and needs a steady arm to help them late in games.
Houston Astros (91-71)
Seattle Mariners (86-76)
Oakland A’s (80-82)
Los Angeles Angels (77-85)
Texas Rangers (76-86)
The Astros will reign supreme again this year in the AL West. Loaded with talent, the Mariners are the only team I could see giving them a run for their money, but the Astros will pull away in the month of September.