AL West 2024 Preview: Predictions, Player Grades & More
AL West 2024 Preview: Predictions, Player Grades & More

As part of Baseball America’s season preview, Zach Buchanan asked scouts and executives to weigh in on a number of topics. Industry sources were granted anonymity to speak freely. Quotes are lightly edited for clarity. You can also find Baseball America staffers’ picks and grades for every AL West lineup below.



“The Mariners will make it to the World Series because of their pitching.”

“It’s hard to pick surprises these days, but I will guess the Angels. I do not love their talent, but I do have belief in Ron Washington holding them accountable and making them pesky.”


“It sounds like A’s righthander Joe Boyle is still throwing strikes in spring training. He’s going to get a lot of runway there and in a good pitcher’s park. It just seems like he’s figured it out, and sometimes it takes guys with that type of stuff and that type of length in their body some time. Even if he’s just a so-so strike-thrower, you’re probably looking at a midrotation guy.”


Wyatt Langford received a half-dozen mentions, which is telling for a player who has not yet made his MLB debut.

“He may not make the club out of camp, but he might, and I think he’s gonna be a freak.”

“He’s real. He should compete for Rookie of the Year with Jackson Holliday.”


TOP PLAYER: Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners

Not many MLB players have been as productive through age 22 as Rodriguez, whose list of accomplishments includes two all-star nods in two seasons, two top-10 MVP finishes, two Silver Sluggers, a Rookie of the Year trophy and a 30-30 season. According to one NL scout, the best is yet to come. “He has the ability to up his OPS into the .900s this year with over 40 homers, fully solidifying himself as a generational superstar.”

TOP PITCHER: George Kirby, RHP, Mariners

One NL executive didn’t mince words. “Kirby will win the Cy Young. He will take the step from good to great,” the exec said. We share their optimism about Kirby. Adding a splitter last season helped him neutralize lefthanded hitters, which combined with top-shelf stuff and elite command give him ace upside he could realize this season.

TOP ROOKIE: Evan Carter, OF, Rangers

Carter is one of the most disciplined young hitters to hit the MLB scene this century. According to FanGraphs data, he swung at pitches outside the strike zone less frequently than any 20-or-younger hitter with at least 50 plate appearances since 2002. That’s par for the course for Carter, who posted a .410 on-base percentage in the minor leagues while being outrageously young for each level. Carter’s developing power and elite speed could make him a household name in short order.


Advanced ERA estimators paint a much rosier picture of Brown’s rookie season than his actual 5.09 mark. A high hit rate, low strand rate and elevated rate of home runs on fly balls last season left him M.I.A. in the pitchers’ Bermuda Triangle. Brown could be a few sequencing tweaks away from becoming a No. 3–caliber starter.

UNDERSTATED STAR: Marcus Semien, 2B, Rangers

Availability is the best ability. The axiom feels like it was written specifically about Semien. With his fifth 700 plate–appearance season in 2023, he is climbing the all-time list for availability. Another two seasons of 700 PAs puts him in the top 10. In two years in Texas, Semien has averaged 28 homers and 92 RBIs per season to go with a 114 OPS+. He has a trio of third-place MVP finishes, including one last year. And now he has a World Series ring as one of the Rangers’ team leaders.

BOUNCEBACK: Jose Abreu, 1B, Astros

The AL West has no clear-cut favorite in this category. The Mariners are bound to see a better season from Ty France or Mitch Haniger—or both—especially if T-Mobile plays more fair to righthanded hitters. The Angels’ Taylor Ward will be further recovered from an ugly beaning and could recover his power stroke. But Abreu has the most past value to reclaim—and the largest financial commitment to ensure that he stays in the lineup. Does the 37-year-old have one more 25-homer, 100-RBI season in his bat?

C    Cal Raleigh    SEA
1B    Nathaniel Lowe    TEX
2B    Marcus Semien    TEX
3B    Alex Bregman    HOU
SS    Corey Seager    TEX
LF    Mike Trout    LAA
CF    Julio Rodriguez    SEA
RF    Kyle Tucker    HOU
DH    Yordan Alvarez    HOU
SP    George Kirby    SEA
SP    Framber Valdez    HOU
SP    Luis Castillo    SEA
SP    Logan Gilbert    SEA
SP    Justin Verlander    HOU
SP    Hunter Brown    HOU
CL    Josh Hader    HOU


1.    Astros    
2.    Rangers   
3.    Mariners    
4.    Angels    
5.    Athletics


Each player’s BA Grade reflects his current ability level, not what he was at his peak or what he projects to be in the future. Grades were determined by JJ Cooper, Matt Eddy, Geoff Pontes and Dylan White.


ON DECK: Joey Loperfido popped 25 home runs at three levels last season while starting games at first base, second base and all three outfield spots.

WARMING UP: Spencer Arrighetti has a four-pitch mix and experience at Triple-A, making him the logical next-up candidate.

BOLD PREDICTION: Center field is a question mark in a battle-tested Astros lineup. That creates opportunity for top prospect Jacob Melton to force his way into the picture.


ON DECK: The Rangers will be rocking with rookies Carter and Langford. A third, Justin Foscue, should be on hand to play multiple positions.

WARMING UP: Owen White’s first taste of MLB didn’t go well last season, but he should have a chance at redemption this year.

BOLD PREDICTION: With Corey Seager already banged up and Marcus Semien another year older, Wyatt Langford could emerge as the Rangers’ most-feared hitter.


ON DECK: The Mariners have one of the youngest farm systems, making speedy, switch-hitting outfielder Jonatan Clase a rare upper-level bat.

WARMING UP: Emerson Hancock made three starts last season before straining his shoulder. He could get another look, maybe as a reliever.

BOLD PREDICTION: After going 20-20 as a rookie and 30-30 last year, Julio Rodriguez will go one step further with a 40-40 season capped by an MVP award.


ON DECK: The Angels have rushed players such as Zach Neto and Nolan Schanuel to MLB. Maybe their 2024 first-round pick will be next?

WARMING UP: Relievers Sam Bachman and Ben Joyce should have ample opportunity to log big league innings.

BOLD PREDICTION: Reid Detmers showed swing-and-miss stuff in 2023 but needs to tighten his command. Still just 24, he has the stuff and experience to take a step forward.


ON DECK: Tyler Soderstrom hit .160 in his MLB debut but has shown big power in the upper minors. He has focused on catcher in spring training.

WARMING UP: Opportunity will be plentiful in Oakland, which is good news for young arms like Joey Estes, Luis Medina and Royber Salinas.

BOLD PREDICTION: JP Sears unveiled a new sinker this spring and looked sharp overall. Now in his third MLB season, he will cement his status as Oakland’s top starter.