Top heavy in pitching with good offense throughout gives one an idea of how the teams shape up in the National League West. We begin our division previews with our baseball expert Molik Johnson as he paints the corners of this division from top to bottom.
- In Colorado the Rockies offense is bolstered by Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon. Questions surround Jose Reyes as off the field concerns may keep him from replacing the beloved Troy Tulowitzki. Pitching still looks to be a concern with Jorge De La Rosa as the ace but Jon Gray could potentially grow into that role. Molik drops the names of some minor league guys who could make the Rockies viable in the coming season including Trevor Story, Tom Murphy,Ryan Raburn and Jeff Hoffman.
- The San Diego Padres are coming off a failed season where they blew a lot of cash. Andrew Cashner, James Shields andTyson Ross have the potential to be something special and that’s where things start for the Padres when it comes to pitching. Will Meyers, Matt Kemp and Alexi Ramirez seem to be the base of the offense. We touch on the potential of Travis Jankowski and if the Padres need to move some of their veterans to let him play. It may not be great but at least their bullpen is set with Fernando Rodney.
- With Paul Goldschmidt the Arizona Diamondbacks are an elite offense in the National League. Will A.J. Pollock be as good as he was a season ago? How does the addition of Zack Grienke bolster what was a generous pitching staff a season ago? Is Shelby Miller really a positive addition? Can Patrick Corbin challenge for the second spot in the rotation? Questions in the bullpen is another reason to be skeptical as well as a potential change to the middle of their infield defensively. They have a couple guys in the minors to look out for in Brandon Drury, Socrates Brito and Peter O’brien but the Diamondbacks will rely on their established talent this season.
- By now we’ve all heard the even year nostalgia that is associated with the Giants. While we don’t subscribe to such superstition here we recognize that San Francisco is a good team regardless of what the calendar year says. Denard Span is the only significant addition to their offense which is good as long as they can keep Buster Posey and Hunter Pence healthy and get Brandon Crawford to repeat last season’s success. Pitching is the team’s true strength behind Madison Bumgarner dominance and Johnny Cueto‘s return to the NL. The addition of Jeff Samardzija will be the key to the Giants’ season if he can regain his confidence as a power pitcher.
- Can the Dodgers repeat despite changes on the bench and losing a CY Young caliber pitcher? Clayton Kershaw is an alien according to Molik but nobody fills in directly for the loss of Grienke. Scott Kazmir, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood will all have significant roles to play. Will we see Joc Pederson cut down on the strikeouts? Can Yasiel Puig stay healthy? Is Corey Seager the key to the middle infield and lineup for the Dodgers?