MLB American League West Baseball
MLB American League West 2022
The AL West should continue to stack up well against the rest of Major League Baseball in 2022. The Houston Astros currently have the second-best odds in baseball of winning the World Series.
Beyond Houston, there is still plenty of talent, especially from the likes of the Angels (Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon) and the Mariners (Mitch Haniger, Ty France, Kyle Lewis).
Even a team like the Texas Rangers should be much improved, especially after going on a spending spree to start the 2021-22 offseason as they signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray to large contracts.
The Oakland A’s have consistently been one of the best teams in the division for the last several years; however, there is speculation they could start to unload premier players as they look to cut payroll heading into the 2022 season.
Regardless, with many teams on the rise and the Astros still with a World Series window wide open, it should be a great summer of baseball in the AL West.
MLB American League West History
Prior to 1969, Major League Baseball was set up with just an American League and National League; however, there were no divisions. Rather, the winner of each league automatically won the pennant and advanced to the World Series.
In 1969, MLB introduced four divisions, seeing an East and a West division in both leagues. For the American League West, the first teams in the division included the Los Angeles Angels (founded as California Angels, still a member), Oakland Athletics (still a member), Chicago White Sox (switched to AL Central in 1994), Kansas City Royals (switched to AL Central in 1994), Minnesota Twins (switched to AL Central in 1994), and the Seattle Pilots (changed to Milwaukee Brewers and moved to AL East in 1972).
Since that time, the Texas Rangers joined in 1972, switching from the AL East. Furthermore, the Seattle Mariners joined as an expansion team in 1977, while the Houston Astros joined in 2013, switching from the National League Central.
After baseball transitioned to six divisions in 1994 (adding a Central division to both leagues), the A.L. West was the only division in baseball to have just four teams until the Astros joined in 2013. Since that time, there have been five teams per division throughout baseball.
MLB American League West Championships
Since its inception in 1969, the Oakland Athletics have had the most dominance in the division. Throughout the years, they are the only AL West team to have won double-digit division crowns. Including their division title in 2020, they have won 17 total AL West championships.
In regards to the rest of the current AL West, the Angels (9), Texas Rangers (7), Houston Astros (4), and Seattle Mariners (3) have also had some success throughout.
In recent years, it has been the Astros who flashed their dominance. They have won four of the last five division titles. The one year they didn’t win, 2020, they still made it into the playoffs as a Wild Card team and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series.
In terms of the World Series, the AL West has had 16 teams make it to the World Series, with nine prevailing.
Oakland holds the most World Series titles from the division with four. In fact, from 1972 to 1974, they won three straight titles.
The most recent winner was the Houston Astros, who won in 2017, a year clouded by their sign-stealing scandal.
Throughout the history of the AL West, the Angels are the only team to have played in, and won, a World Series as a Wild Card team in 2002.
MLB American League Central Top Players
Focusing on just players since the beginning of the divisional era, there are a plethora of superstars throughout the division’s history. Players like Harmon Killebrew, Vida Blue, Reggie Jackson, Jeff Burroughs, Rod Carew, Don Baylor, Jose Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Vladimir Guerrero, and others have all graced the American League West throughout its history.
Since the adaptation of the AL West in 1969, there have been 27 players from the division that have won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. The Oakland A’s have the most MVPs in that span, with seven.
The AL West has had a lot of success recently as they have had a player from the division win the AL MVP in four of the last six years. The most recent from the division was Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, who won it in 2021.
In terms of the American League Cy Young, the division has had 16 winners since its inception in 1969. The A’s have had the most Cy Youngs with a total of five winners. The most recent winner was Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros in 2019.
Today, there is still a ton of star power in the AL West. Here are just a few of the stars from the division this past season:
American League West Star Players:
- A’s: Matt Olson – .271/.371/.540, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 101 R
- Angels: Shohei Ohtani – .257/.372/.592, 46 HR, 100 RBI, 103 R, 26 SB, 9-2, 3.18 ERA, 156K
- Astros: Yordan Alvarez – .277/.346/.531, 33 HR, 104 RBI, 92 R
- Mariners: Mitch Haniger – .253/.318/.485, 39 HR, 100 RBI, 110 R
- Rangers: Adolis Garcia – .243/.286/.454, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 77 R
MLB American League West Top Managers
Like several of the other awards, the AL West is no stranger to Manager of the Year awards. In fact, since the award started in 1983, the West has won the award 15 times.
Some of the most outstanding managers throughout the division’s history include Tony La Russa, who won the award both with the White Sox while they were part of the division and the Oakland A’s (twice). Other great managers throughout the years include Lou Piniella (Mariners), Mike Scioscia (Angels), Buck Showalter (Rangers), and Bob Melvin (A’s).
Of all the teams in the West, the Oakland A’s have had a manager win the award more than any other team with four. The most recent winner from the division was Bob Melvin of the A’s in 2018.
Heading into the 2022 season, the AL West continues to have strong managers at the helm, including Dusty Baker (Astros), Joe Maddon (Angels), Mark Kotsay (A’s), Scott Servais (Mariners), and Chris Woodward (Rangers).