There’s no such
thing as competitive balance in the American League Western Division in 2012.
You’ve got the Angels, the Rangers and two also ran’s in the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics this season.
Don’t be fooled by
the attractive sports betting futures available on Seattle and Oakland. It’s going to be a two
team race where either Los Angeles or Texas will win the division with the
other team favored winning the wild card.
Here are the MLB odds
to win the AL Pennant and World Series. You’ll notice the Angels and Rangers
are listed among the Top 5 in practically every futures category available for
Last year’s standings, money line financials and O/U
are listed in parentheses.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (86-76, +192
units, UNDER 78-71-13)
Heading into camp,
the four most important players are Albert Pujols, Kendry Morales, Mark Trumbo
and Bobby Abreu. First base won’t be a problem for the foreseeable future in Anaheim
but it has created a logjam. Skipper Mike Scioscia now has to figure out what
to do with Trumbo, Morales and Abreu. Only one of them can DH at a time and
there’s no room in the outfield.
In a perfect world
Trumbo would move to third base, taking with him his 29 homers from a year ago.
However several scouts say Trumbo at 6-4, 230, is too big to make the
change. If that’s the case, the Angels
are back to three players for two positions. A trade or two would be the next
logical move and with the Angels still looking for a fifth starter, my guess is
Trumbo or Abreu leaves. Having said that, Trumbo isn’t not going anywhere until Morales proves he can
play in the majors again.
Odds to win:
AL Pennant (3/2)
World Series (13/2)
Texas Rangers (96-66, +1275 units, OVER
Give the Texas Rangers
credit. Not many teams could lose their No. 1 starter in back-to-back off
seasons and not miss a step. First it was Cliff Lee, then CJ Wilson but still
Texas is primed for its third straight trip to the World Series.
How can they keep
losing pitching and keep winning? That’s an easy one--it’s called offense. The
two-time defending American League champions return the majority of
their team that was in the Top 3 in most major categories--hitting, runs, runs
scored per game, RBI’s and home runs (210).
Being a Southern
California guy and all, I can you screaming ‘Homer’. But I hardly see how Texas
adding pitcher Yu Darvish is bigger or even remotely close to the Angels
getting Pujols and Wilson. Josh Hamilton is back to fighting demons that I hope
he can beat back but I just don’t get a good feeling about him making it
through another season clean. Mike Napoli doesn’t figure to have another 30
homerun season either.
It’s very simple math.
The Angels add two players through free agency and could get a third starter
back from a trade. Outside of Darvish, the Rangers didn’t do much else.
Odds to win:
AL Pennant (11/2)
World Series (10/1)
Oakland Athletics (74-88, 15-40 units, -1540,
I hope Billy Beane
enjoyed all the hoopla surrounding “Money Ball” because this is going to be
another tough season by the Bay for the cash strapped A’s. Oakland’s familiar pattern
of forever rebuilding was in full force during the offseason as Beane was
forced to deal pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzales for a package of
unproven prospects in an attempt to keep payroll at a manageable number.
Odds to win:
AL Pennant (35/1)
World Series (65/1)
Seattle Mariners (67-95, -2151 units, UNDER 81-70-11)
Mariners GM Jack
Zduriencik this off-season was given a simple task. Improve an offense
that was MLB’s worst in 2011. Consider it a failed assignment. Seattle has too
many unproven players and veterans like Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez and
who had their worst seasons in 2011 as professionals. They need to bounce back
to give the M’s any chance.
AL Pennant (50/1)
World Series (90/1)