WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: A wide view of opening day at The Ballpark of Palm Beaches during a Spring Training game between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals on February 28, 2017 at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Last season, the Rangers ran away with the division, leading the Mariners by a solid nine games. This year, the race for the AL West will be much closer as the young and hungry Astros look primed for a run. There’s a little spoiler, but here are my 2017 American League West Projections.

American League West Projections

5 Oakland Athletics

Oakland has one of the weaker lineups in the game. They have Khris Davis, Marcus Semien, and Ryon Healy, but those are the only real power threats. Their rotation is fairly weak, led by an inconsistent Sonny Gray. Oakland will continue their long stretch of poor seasons. 

4 LA Angels

The Angels made some moves this offseason to improve their roster. They brought in Cameron Maybin to solidify the outfield, and Danny Espinosa to play second. Los Angeles has a solid rotation with Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, and Matt Shoemaker leading the way. Even with the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, the Angels still do not have enough pieces to be a contender. 

3 Texas Rangers

Texas has a strong lineup from top to bottom. The addition of Mike Napoli at first base just adds another power hitter to the lineup. On top of their balanced lineup, the Rangers have a very solid rotation. They have two Cy Young award winners in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish

2 Seattle Mariners

The Mariners have a prolific offense. Their 2-5 hitters are terrific; Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager. However, the depth behind them isn’t all too good. Jarrod Dyson adds a speed element at the top of the lineup but that is about it. “King Felix and James Paxton are the main focus of their starting rotation. With a middle of the order that solid and a decent rotation, the Mariners may be able to carry themselves to a wild card spot. 

1 Houston Astros

The Astros are a very young and talented ball club. They added two veteran bats in the middle of the lineup this offseason in Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Houston also has a young and strong rotation that is primed for success. Last season they had one of the better bullpens in the game. This young team is primed for a run this season. 

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Hi, my name is John Flanigan, I am currently a sophomore at Sacred Heart University in CT where I study Communications/Sports Media, and play rugby. I currently write for three different sports blogs, ranging from topics of the New York Giants, New York Mets, MLB, and the NFL. I hope to eventually go into the field of journalism at the highest level, writing for the NFL or MLB. I look forward to contributing with the LWOSports team.