New Arena senior writers Dylan Fraychineaud, Harris Ahmadzai, and Jason Fray will offer their divisional and World Series predictions — as well as major awards predictions — for the upcoming 2021 season.
American League West
DF: Oakland Athletics
The AL West will be interesting to watch this season. The A’s, Astros, and Angels all have a chance to win the division. Oakland — last year’s AL West champ — lost Marcus Semien (Toronto) and baseball’s best closer Liam Hendriks (White Sox) in the offseason. Houston saw George Springer walk in free agency, also going to Toronto, and the Angels mostly remain unchanged. When it comes down to it, I believe Houston’s cheating scandal will catch up to them in 2021 with more fans back at the ballpark. Oakland will narrowly win the West.
HA: Oakland Athletics
Oakland’s seven-game lead over the rest of the AL West was tied for the largest margin for any division winner last season. The rest of the pack will be better — namely the Astros and Angels — but Oakland has already established a nice cushion between themselves and the other competitors. Losing Marcus Semien may take a toll defensively, but Elvis Andrus is a quality stand-in for the time-being. Mitch Moreland will also provide some much-needed pop in the middle of the lineup. Riding their impressive starting rotation, the A’s are well on their way to a second-straight division win.
JF: Houston Astros
On paper, it appears as if Oakland took a bit of a step back from where it was last year. Texas is a ways away from competing for anything, and Seattle is in a full rebuild. Between the Angels and the Astros, Houston has much better depth within both its rotation and the bullpen. Still possessing a potent lineup with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, I’ll stick with the ‘Stros having a bounce-back 2021-22 season.
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