Los Angeles is coming off a 2018 — and 2017 — World Series appearance, and not much has changed.
The Dodgers had a rough start in the beginning of last season and had an uphill battle with the Rockies to win the division. A full season with Justin Turner and having Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill all healthy this season will make this team’s post season ride a lot easier.
They had the second-best ERA in baseball (3.19) and scored the fifth-most runs in 2018.
Muncy, Pollock and top prospect left handed pitcher Alex Verdugo should help make the already great team with depth even stronger. The Dodgers are looking to win their first World Series Championship since 1988 and anything less than that will be seen as an unsuccessful season.
The Rockies are a great team that almost won the National League West title last season — they fell a tie-breaker game short — and will be a big threat to the Dodgers again this season.
What Colorado lacks is pitching depth.
Short stop Trevor Story is a possible Golden Glove winner this year after an impressive 2018, and his offense may be better with the potential to bring 40 homers, 25 stolen bases and an average near .300. They are relying heavily on David Dahl to remain healthy and replace veteran players like Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra.
The Rockies spent $106 million on relievers last season and finished the season with a 4.62 ERA. They lost Adam Ottavino and will need the pitching to be strong enough to replace his loss. They didn’t do much this offseason, especially when it comes to strengthening their bullpen in order to compete with the Dodgers.
They did recognize their MVP, and paid third baseman Nolan Arenado accordingly — $260 million. If the four-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glover plays better with the comfort of a set financial state, he could be on the verge of a historic season.
They have the players and potential, the question is, will they have enough to beat the Dodgers?
One of the biggest free agent signings, after Bryce Harper, was Manny Machado, who joined the San Diego Padres with a 10-year, $300 million contract. He will be a strong asset in the middle of the lineup and potentially help lift the Padres into a winning team.
Though they acquired a great player, one player can not make a team great. The Padres were 66-96 in the NL west last season and during the offseason they added other players: Ian Kinsler, Arron Loup, Garrett Richards, and Greg Garcia.
For San Diego, everything will come down to the pitching staff and whether or not a young staff can hold up to big league hitters.
If so, look for the Padres to be competing for the Wild Card. Twenty-five-year-old Joey Lucchesi is the Padres’ ace, but the entire bullpen will need to be strong and that may be what holds the team back from being successful this season.
The Diamondbacks lost Paul Goldshmidt, who was strong on offensive, defense and was the team’s heart and soul. They lack a closer and their talented players have grown stagnant.
They have a tough start in store, playing the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies and Padres right off the bat.
Zack Greinke can’t be the only pitcher the Diamondbacks can rely on if they are to compete without “Goldy.” But they are still lacking a reliable rotation and their bullpen needs to improve in order to be a competitive team in this division.
Arizona lost a lot of talent from an 82-80 2018 club. Pollock, Patrick Corbin and Goldschmidt are no longer around. Robbie Ray, David Peralta, Ketel Marte will help bring some success, but too much was lost.
The Diamondbacks will struggle repeating their 2018 season.
The Giants had a great six-year run, but have lost the winning spark.
Last season was tough on the Giants, who suffered numerous injuries, saw integral players struggle and losses pile.
If they remain healthy they may have a shot, they have the talent.
The organization does not view this season as a rebuilding year, but there is almost zero power in the lineup, they lack a strong and experienced center fielder and relief pitching is still a huge question mark, especially lacking a veteran closer.
San Francisco is consistently unhealthy. Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Joe Panik are all injury-prone and can’t last a full season. If these All-Star, Golden Glove players remain healthy and can return to their All-Star form, the Giants will not be a bad team.
Without a bullpen to keep a late lead, though, it looks like they are doomed to repeat last seasons record. With Bruce Bochy announcing his retirement following this season, the players may have something to play for and strive to give Bochy a winning season. But that is a tough ask.
- Colorado Rockies
- San Diego Padres
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- San Francisco Giants