Mar. 14, 2017
National League West Preview
Today we have the 2nd in our series of baseball posts coming up, this time featuring the National League West. Opening day is Sunday April 2, so it will be here before you know it! We have a schedule of posts set up so you can follow. All links to previous posts in the baseball series will be posted at the bottom of this post.
AL West: Friday March 10:
NL West: Sunday March 12
AL Central: Friday March 17
NL Central: Sunday March 19
AL East: Friday March 24
NL East: Sunday March 26
Preseason Award Favorites: Friday March 31
Way Too Early Postseason Predictions: Sunday April 2
For each team, there will be a quick review of last year, key additions and subtractions, possible impact in 2017 by prospects, and an outlook and prediction for 2017. For the additions and subtractions, we will simply be naming the guys who can make an impact. The guys who are last on the bench or last in the bullpen may be left out. The additions and subtractions will also be limited to guys added or lost in the offseason. Guys who came or went at the trade deadline last year were an addition or subtraction for last year, not so much for this year coming up (Example, Andrew Miller will not be a subtraction for the Yankees. Aroldis Chapman will be a subtraction for the Cubs). That said, let’s dig in to the NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers: Last Year 91-71 (1st in NL West)
2016 Review: The Dodgers had a very successful 2016 season that ended with a 4-2 series loss to the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. Cory Seager was a bona fide MVP candidate as a rookie, Clayton Kershaw was as dominant as ever, and they made a deep postseason run despite being ravaged by injuries most of the season.
Key Additions: OF Franklin Gutierrez, P Sergio Romo
Key Subtractions: OF Josh Reddick, 2B Howie Kendrick, P JP Howell, P Louis Coleman
Possible Rookies to Watch: Austin Barnes, Brock Stewart
2017 Outlook: This year’s Dodgers are possibly the biggest challenger to the Cubs in the National League. Cory Seager is only expected to get better, Kershaw is healthy starting the season, and they are expecting big growth from young starting pitcher Julio Urias. Urias is the best pitcher to come through the pipeline since Kershaw, and after getting his first taste of the big leagues at age 19, he is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in his age 20 season.
Austin Barnes is a unique prospect who can play a role in 2017 as a utility reserve who can catch and play multiple infield positions. Brock Stewart could be in play as an extra starter or long reliever this season.
With a little health, they could be as dangerous as anyone in the National League this season. If Urias takes the next step in his progression, the Dodgers will have as formidable of a rotation as there is in the National League. Adding Romo to the bullpen addresses one of their biggest weaknesses from last year, and they will now be able to finish games more effectively without having to lean so heavily on Jansen.
2017 Prediction: 94-68
San Francisco Giants: Last Year 87-75 (2nd in NL West)
2016 Review: 2016 was supposed to be the year the Giants won the World Series. They won in 2010, missed the playoffs in 2011, won again in 2012, missed the playoffs again in 2013, won again in 2014, and missed the playoffs again in 2015. Unfortunately for the Giants, the trend was broken in 2016. The biggest weakness for the Giants was finishing games, as they lacked a true closer.
Key Additions: P Mark Melancon, C Nick Hundley
Key Subtractions: OF Gregor Blanco, P Sergio Romo, P Santiago Casilla, OF Angel Pagan, P Jake Peavy
Possible Rookies to Watch: Chris Stratton
2017 Outlook: The Giants quickly addressed their biggest need by adding Mark Melancon to take over the closer spot. Melancon should give them the reliable guy they lacked to lock down games last year. Unfortunately, they lost Casilla and Romo who were two of their better relievers. They brought in the guy to finish, but they don’t have much to get to him once the starters are out.
Chris Stratton got a taste of the big leagues last year, He was mostly a starter in the minor but worked out of the pen last year. He may be able to crack the rotation this year, but if not, will likely be back in the pen.
This is still a very strong Giants team, but they have some weaknesses. They lack depth in the rotation and in the bullpen, and the offense may not be enough to overcome that to make a deep run. They should be in the playoff hunt, but will need to add some depth at some point.
2017 Prediction: 88-74
Colorado Rockies: Last Year 75-87 (3rd in NL West)
2016 Review: The Rockies in classic Rockies fashion had a lot of punch in their lineup but not much pitching to keep them in games. Nolan Arenado was a real MVP candidate, while guys like Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMathieu all had big years as well. Trevor Story got off to a monster start to his career before going down with an injury. They had all the bats they could possibly need, but no pitching to help win them games.
Key Additions: P Greg Holland, OF Ian Desmond
Key Subtractions: IF Daniel Descalso, C Nick Hundley, OF Ryan Raburn, P Boone Logan, P Jorge De La Rosa
Possible Rookies to Watch: Jeff Hoffman, Tom Murphy, German Marquez
2017 Outlook: In classic Rockies fashion, when they have a lot of bats and not a lot of pitching, they continue to add bats. Ian Desmond will be a nice addition to the lineup, but they still can’t shut anyone down pitching. Greg Holland was a nice addition to the bullpen, but there is still a lack of starters.
The Rockies will have to hope Hoffman and Marquez make an impact on the pitching staff if they are going to be more successful in 2017. Murphy will likely step in to the role vacated by Nick Hundley leaving.
The Rockies are ahead of the Diamondbacks and Padres in terms of talent, but still have a way to go with the pitching staff before they can contend with the Dodgers or Giants. It’s looking like another likely 3rd place finish in the division.
2017 Prediction: 76-86
Arizona Diamondbacks: Last year 69-93 (4th in NL West)
2016 Review: Last season was a massive disappointment for the Diamondbacks. They made some big moves hoping to push the needle for them in the division, but they all backfired. As a result, they were bottom feeders in the league and gave up some really promising prospects in the process.
Key Additions: P Jorge De La Rosa, OF Gregor Blanco, INF Daniel Descalso, P Fernando Rodney, SS Ketel Marte, P Taijuan Walker
Key Subtractions: SS Jean Segura, P Phil Gosselin, C Wellington Castillo, OF Rickie Weeks
Possible Rookies to Watch: Literally none. The Diamondbacks have the worst farm system in all of baseball with nothing promising coming anytime soon
2017 Outlook: The Diamondbacks were terrible in 2016 and lost one of their best players in Jean Segura. They are going to need a rebound year from Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller if they are going to salvage anything in the upcoming season. There’s really not much else to add- they are a bad team with no young guns coming to help. It’s time to tear it right to the ground so you can start building it back up.
2017 Prediction: 66-96
San Diego Padres: Last year 68-94 (Last in NL West)
2016 Review: The Padres were certainly trying to build a competitive roster for 2016 but with the guys they were adding it didn’t seem likely to work. Once they realized it wasn’t working they started tearing it down to prepare for a true rebuild.
Key additions: P Jared Weaver, P Trevor Cahill, P Jhoulys Chacin
Key Subtractions: C Derek Norris, OF John Jay, INF Adam Rosales, P Tyson Ross
Possible Rookies to Watch: Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Carlos Asuaje
2017 Outlook: 2017 is going to be all about assessing the young players on the roster to see what they have moving forward. Guys like Travis Jankowski, Austin Hedges, and Cory Spangenberg are going to have every opportunity to show they can be big league regulars.
The good news is the Padres have built up their farm system and Manuel Margot is one of their best and ready to make an impact this season in center field. Hunter Renfore is likely to play a lot in right field, and Carlos Asuaje may play a utility infield role.
Things may be a little bleak for the Padres right now, but if the young talent is all able to stay healthy and take a step forward, they have a team that can be on the rise soon after bottoming out last year.
2017 Prediction: 70-92
In summary, the predicted standings for the NL West this season are as follows:
That’s a wrap on the NL West. What do you think? Who is going to win the division? Who is the one addition or subtraction that will make the biggest difference? Who is the top rookie to watch in the division? Comment and let us know! Stay tuned for more current sports stories. Don't forget to follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram @beyondthemetrics, and Twitter @byondthemetrics
Check out our other baseball previews:[BeyondTheMetrics :: American League West Preview]