It looks like the National League should be a fugitive for the West Dodgers, but it was supposed to be last season as well. Instead we see the Giants win 107 games and beat the Dodgers in one game. It was quite a race, and this year that will be a big surprise again. LA is certainly the most complete team in the division as we begin the season.
Last year the Giants came out of nowhere to push the LA, this is what San Diego was supposed to do, but the Padres fell flat and ended below .500. Still, the Padres certainly look like the best team to challenge the Dodgers this season, especially as they continue to add to their club.
San Francisco is not irrelevant, but it would be a surprise if the Giants were anywhere near their form last season. They’re like Tampa Bay West so maybe it works. They are hard to read.
Colorado and Arizona are pulling behind the division, but there is still a huge gap between them. The Rockies have a ceiling of being a .500 club where the Diamondbacks call 60 wins a successful season.
Take a closer look at the teams in the National League West here.
National League West Future
- Los Angeles Dodgers-225
- San Diego Padres +325
- San Francisco Giants +550
- Colorado Rockies +8000
- Arizona Diamondbacks +10000
Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Additions: 1B Freddie Freeman, CL Craig Kimberly
Key minus: SS Corey Seager, SP Max Scherzer
The Dodgers are a very strong team, but I don’t believe they’re one of the best ever. DH from NL helped the group, and LA has already added Freeman to a good lineup. It was easy to say goodbye to cigars as Trey Turner (after last year’s trade with Washington) was ready to jump. If Cody Bellinger could be more than a guy who homers, walks and strikes out, this lineup could be really good, but the third one below doesn’t shout at the Super Team – and Justin Turner is now 37 years old. This team is not a slam dunk for me.
Walker Bueller is likely to win a few Sai Yongs in his career, and is as good as starting this year. After that the rotation is quality but not elite. Clayton Carshow is no longer that guy, and the others are adept at pitching five winning innings and passing with bullpen. It remains to be seen what will happen to Trevor Bauer. The bullpen added by Kimbrel should be very good. There are veterans and young live weapons.
LA is the head and shoulders above the rest of the section, and the differences reflect that. There’s not much value in that, which is why the Dodgers aren’t the best bet.
San Diego Padres (best bet)
Key Additions: SP Shawn Mania, DH Luke Voight
Key subtractions: RP Mark Melancon, RP Daniel Hudson
It’s amazing how the Padres Baseball team has become the most attractive team, with money spent and abandoned. Last year they collapsed in the second half and won just 79 games, but the outlook is still good despite the mood with Fernando Tatis Jr. to start the season. They lose one of the most dynamic players in the game, but the lineup should be good enough – if there is pitching, where there is a chance to be elite.
Manaea is a very nice hand to add a twist that was already U Darvish and Blake Snell. That threesome, when everyone is pitching to the best of their ability, can be great and take away the pressure of Joe Musgrove, who doesn’t have the same track record. Add healthy Mike Clevinger to the end and make the best spin in the San Diego NL. They are still threatening, even if they have questions about how good the Frears can be and why they are Tatis. At Bullpen they are hoping former starter Danielson Lamette could be close to removing some of the pressure from his hands. If it works, that group should be more than just right.
I always start with pitching and it’s hard to ignore what Padres has there. There is so much to choose from, especially if Tatis comes back strong. They are worth a scatter.
San Francisco Giants
Key Additions: Jock Pederson, SP Carlos Rodon. SP Alex Cobb
Subtraction: SP Kevin Gaussman, 3B / OF Kris Bryant
San Francisco was much better than anyone expected last season. Winning more than 100 games is rare, but the team seems to be able to have another successful season, not just at that level. There’s not an elite bat in this lineup, and Bryant’s departure and Evan Longoria getting injured to start the season are not to be found with last year’s best track record. San Francisco looks like it’s going to mix and match and try to score just enough, Tampa Bay Ray style.
The monsters on the mound are much stronger. It hurts that they haven’t caught Gaussman their best starter since a year ago, but Logan Webb and Rodon’s combo should be strong at the top of the rotation, while Cobb is hitting radar gun numbers like he never did before. . Rotation is a force, and so is the bullpen. Pitching should be in the top five in the NL overall and is an excellent foundation for future success.
Again with the LA the competition at the top of the division is too much to expect. They are a nice value if they are being a healthy team. The Giants don’t have much depth.
Original additions: 3B / OF Kris Bryant, OF Randal Grichuk
Key minus: SP John Gray, SS Trevor story
The start of each season for Colorado begins with the simple question of whether there is enough pitching to compete. This year that could be a certain one, though that could be a minority opinion. Looking at the lineup it looks like it could be very productive, although I’m not sure why the Rockies felt more comfortable investing in Bryant Over Story. Charlie Blackman is a born DH, and now he can do it every day. This will add a few more good years to his career and the addition of Jituk or Haruk, Grichuk should add 30 homers to that ballpark. There seems to be enough crime.
Full of rotating weapons to gain the right age / experience. In the context of a coors field this may mean something different from other places, but German Marquez and Kyle Freeland may be the guys who go 15-10 with good peripherals and make sure that the bullpen gets occasional series with light load. I can see it happening, and that group will need it too.
Colorado is one of those teams that has a huge range of results. The Rockies can win anywhere from 65 to 85 games.
Key Additions: RP Mark Melancon, RP Ian Kennedy, SP Jack Davis
Key minus: Cole Calhoun
Arizona won just 52 games last season. The way this team has been built may not even reach the winning score this season. There’s nothing wrong with stretching your own boys, but I’m not sure what it would be worth to hit a lineup for having nothing around Kettle Marte (now). The Diamondbacks are going to challenge teams like the Pirates and Nationals for the lowest scoring team in the NL. There is no one in that lineup with whom you have to be careful about pitching.
Only modest good on the mound of things. Madison Bamgarner is nothing more than eating an innings at this point in her career, and no one else in the rotation seems to be able to rise to what Madbam once was. Those who add curiosity are curious. Looks like they’re hoping they can flip them for a higher price than what they’re offering. It may be over, but it’s a very interesting way to try to build a team.
Chase Field plays small so some Arizona games can be exciting, but overall this team is awesome. D-back is hard to choose at any cost.