The first projection of the season is in.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB ranks the six divisions in baseball, then where each team will finish.
The American League West is the fifth strongest division out of the six. It’s hard to argue with that, although his choice for last is the National League Central. That will probably change once the Nolan Arenado deal goes through. But before that deal was announced, you had five teams that were shedding talent and trying not to win, the Cubs and Reds especially.
But the A.L. West isn’t much better. The good news for the Rangers is nobody else in the division is trying to win. So it’s really a hard division to handicap at this point.
Here is Castrovince’s projection for the A.L. West:
“This division is evolving rapidly and is pretty difficult to forecast. Both the A’s and Astros are currently compromised by major free-agent departures but have enough young pitching to stay competitive. Where there is youth, though, there is uncertainty, and their attempts to patch holes between now and Opening Day will go a long way toward determining how strong their outlook is.
“The Angels are probably in the best position to seize the moment, and time is ticking for a star-laden squad that simply hasn’t assembled enough quality pitching and depth in recent years. The Halos have kept busy with the additions of José Iglesias, Raisel Iglesias, Kurt Suzuki and José Quintana, but a move for an ace (i.e. Bauer) appears increasingly unlikely. Speaking of unlikely, I’ve written here about why the Mariners should accelerate their rebuild this winter, but they’re not inclined to push their chips in just yet. The Rangers are projected to bring up the rear here.
“How it might change: The Halos have gone the cost-effective route to repairing their pitching, but do they still have some sort of splash in them? Even a bet on Paxton would make you feel better about their ability to accelerate ahead of the A’s and Astros (who, of course, still have needs of their own).”