Take it to the Bank- (probably not) …

MLB predictions, Division by Division.
AL West

Angels

Ohtani Fever. Yeah, Southern California has it. For good reason. The Japanese pitcher/DH has lit the league on fire since his transfer from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Despite a very brief slump to start his MLB career, Ohtani is on fire. As a pitcher, he’s 2-0, with eighteen strikeouts. At the plate, he’s already hit three homeruns, and is batting .367. Reminder, these guys also have some guy named Mike Trout on the team. That particular guy is at the top of pretty much every measurable offensive stat (HR, RBI, Runs) except batting average. They’re out to a scorching 13-3 start, and start a major clash for AL bragging rights with the 13-2 Red Sox. It will be Ohtani vs. Price tonight. Get your popcorn ready.

Prediction: Ohtani hits a slump late in the season, is still the best home run hitting
pitcher since the Great Bambino. Angels win a close race over the Astros for the
division title.

Astros

I’d love to say that the Astros don’t have a World Series hangover. I’d love to tell you that Houston is going to turn around and walk away with the division. But here’s the best case situation; they’re in for a long, scrappy fight with the Angels. There’s nothing that says that their 10-6 start isn’t who they really are. A good team with playoff caliber roster and rotation. Despite having no real changes from their World Series roster, the Astros have only three players batting over .300 and none with an OPS over 1.0. You know who does have an OPS over 1.0? Ohtani and two other Angels…not named Mike Trout. He’s just a few ticks under. The Astros have some work to do, but it’s all on the offensive side of the ball; their pitchers lead
the majors in ERA.

Prediction: The infield of this Astros team keeps them in contention as the rotation
underperforms through the midst of the season. They’ll be a wildcard contender.

Mariners

Seattle sits in second place in the division right now, behind a white hot start by Robinson Cano and despite a struggling starting rotation and the early absence of All-Star Nelson Cruz. Cruz has returned from the DL, and that should help, but if they can’t get their pitching situation under control, it’s going to be a looooong season in the Pacific Northwest. As a group, Seattle’s hurlers boast a robust 4.61 ERA and have allowed the third most homeruns in the Majors. Cano’s blazing start probably isn’t sustainable, so they’ll need a lot of run support from somewhere else.

Prediction: Robinson Cano is closer to the end of his career than many people think.
He’s hitting at a better rate than every year in his career except 2006. He’ll regress and
the Mariners will regress with him.

Rangers

When you’ve won only two home games out of ten, something might be wrong. When you’re tied for last in opponent’s batting average, you know what it is. Opposing teams are raking against the Rangers, hitting almost .275. SS Elvis Andrus suffered a knee injury and will be out for several months. Joey Gallo is hitting the cover off the ball, leading the team with six home runs thus far, and the Rangers have slugged twenty homeruns so far this season, good for fifth in the AL. Fun fact, Bartolo Colon leads the rotation with a 1.45 ERA. AMAZING fun fact from Jake Mintz at Cut4. Colon has pitched AGAINST nine current MLB managers, and is older than three of them. Wow, just wow.

Prediction: When your de facto ace (yeah, Colon) has played for over a third of the
league’s teams and has a career ERA three points higher than his current stat, you might
be in trouble. Headed for the bottom third of the league.

A’s

Despite the feel good story of outfielder Trayce Thompson rooming with his NBA star brother Klay while playing with the big club in Oakland, the A’s are a hot mess. For the record, Trayce has been cut, despite a highlight reel catch in his only start with the club. The move was made to bring up Trevor Cahill, a starting pitcher. The A’s are hitting with power, they trail only the Angels in the AL in homeruns this season, with twenty-three. Given that the A’s play baseball in a football stadium, that’s really quite remarkable. What’s not? Their rotation. The team ERA is a bloated 4.56 and they lead the majors in homeruns allowed, with twenty-six. Ouch

Prediction: The A’s won’t keep hitting the long ball at this pace. If the rotation can’t
come around and keep some games in range, this team is destined for the AL West
basement.

Image source: CBS Sports

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