NL West At A Glance
Arizona Diamondbacks: The D’Backs made tough decisions this off-season They decided to build their roster based on their team concept, and not based on just overall talent. Some think Justin Upton was the move that proved their concept, but I think it was sending Trevor Bauer to Cleveland. Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson have an idea of what they want this team to look and act like, and they apparently did not fit that mold. Miguel Montero is one of the best and most underrated players in the sport, and he’s surrounded by a lot more underrated talents. Martin Prado, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt are all players you never talk about but should. One thing that hurts though, rookie Adam Eaton who excelled in twenty games last year was supposed to be their starting CF this year is now out for about 8 weeks with a strained UCL. Their rotation is young but talented. They are lead by Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley but also have Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado whom they acquired in the Upton deal. I am really curious to see what Heath Bell does for this team. If he can revive his career then he and J.J. Putz could be a lights out combination.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants are your defending champions, and just like in 2011, I’m predicting they will finish second in the NL West following their title. The Giants didn’t really improve on anything, and sure the reply “they won it all,” is valid, it can still be argued they needed to improve. Offensively they are very weak, and unless Tim Lincecum returns to Cy Young form, this team cannot boast a dominating staff that will offset the lack of run support. I will believe the 2012 Angel Pagan was the real thing, when and if I see it in 2013. Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval provide the run support for the champs, and while I’d love to have them both on most teams, I don’t think they can carry an offense. The Giants chose to not offer Lincecum a longterm deal for a reason, and I think we started to see why last year. Madison Bumgarner and Cain are the real deal, but if Vogelsong, Lincecum and Zito struggle as I expect – there will be a repeat for San Francisco, just not the one they were hoping for.
San Diego Padres: The Pads were one of the best second half teams in 2012. Manager Bud Black seems to be getting the most out of his young roster, and I expect it to get a little better in 2013. First baseman Yonder Alonso needs to turn the corner though and become the complimentary corner player to Chase Headley. Speaking of Headley, is he the real deal after an MVP caliber season or was it a fluke? The Padres are just joining the masses who decided their park is “too” pitching friendly. So how will that help or hurt this team? Only time will tell, but I like their under the radar roster and I think they can squeak by in the NL West to get to third place.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are the sexy pick in this division, which is exactly why I’m predicting them 4th. They went out and grabbed Zack Greinke and Korean free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu to solidify their rotation. During the 2012 season, they also added Hanley Ramirez (now out for 8 weeks), Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. A-Gone is a superstar, and if he can take the reins and keep players like Beckett and Ramirez in check, things might be better than I expect. To take it a step further, if Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez stay healthy and they along with Clayton Kershaw can be the faces of this franchise and overshadow any issues – this team will be dangerous. I think the talent is there and I’d be a fool to deny it. However, I can just picture this blowing up in their faces like we’ve seen so many times. The end result will be Don Mattingly without a job. Regardless, there are not many better things in sports than turning on a Dodgers game and listening to the poetic methods of Vin Scully.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are starting to look more and more like the mid 2000’s Rockies that couldn’t put together a team and had a terrible rotation year after year. This year’s biggest question marks will be based on what they get in a trade for Carlos Gonzalez and whether or not Troy Tulowitzki can return as an MVP candidate. Their best pitcher is coming off Tommy John Surgery (De La Rosa), and I can’t pencil him in as a guarantee just yet. Coors Field effect is less of a big deal than it used to be, but they can’t compete in the NL West with this pitching staff.
XtreemIcon: Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs, Padres, Rockies
Jessep: D-Backs, Giants, Padres, Dodgers, Rockies
Joe D: Giants, Dodgers, D-Backs, Padres, Rockies
Next up will be the NL Central.