MLB: National League West Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers (97-65)

The Dodgers have the money and they are using their money efficiently as they have by far the best roster top-to-bottom on paper coming into this season in the entire league. Clayton Kershaw enters his 7th season in the Major Leagues and will once again be a Cy Young award candidate. Joining him in the pitching rotation is Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to complete what may be the best 1-2-3 punch in the division. Their 1-5 spots in the lineup are solid with Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Andre Ethier. Matt Kemp will begin the season on the DL, but when he returns the front office will have to decide on whether or not to keep him or Ethier because there aren’t enough outfield spots to go around. If Juan Uribe can step it up this season and knock in some runs from the six or seven hole then it will take the Dodgers a long way. Expect the Dodgers to be playing until late October with a great shot of competing for the World Series.

Addition(s):

RHP Dan Haren

RHP Chris Perez

INF Alex Guerrero

Departure(s):

INF Michael Young

INF Mark Ellis

RHP Ricky Nolasco

LHP Chris Capuano

 

San Francisco Giants (92-70)

Madison Bumgarner has won two World Series championships and was a 2013 NL All-Star. Oh, did I mention that he will only be 24 years old when the season begins? “MadBum” heads the Giants pitching rotation in 2014. The “Workhorse” Matt Cain will be the number two starter this season with the two Tim’s (Hudson and Lincecum), and Ryan Vogelsong filling out the rest of the pitching staff. The offense continues to be headlined by 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey. Hunter Pence led the squad in RBIs (99) while playing in every single game. Pablo Sandoval lost 30 pounds in the offseason and will look to rebound from last season, while Brandon Belt comes in with many experts predicting him to have 20+ homeruns and 80+ RBIs this season. Those numbers will be needed from Belt if they are to challenge the Dodgers this season. I still believe that the Giants will get one of the two NL Wild Card spots and once they make the playoffs you never know how they will do. After all, it is an even number year this season and they have won it all the past two even number years.

Addition(s):

RHP Tim Hudson

OF Michael Morse

Departure(s):

RHP Chad Gaudin

OF Andres Torres

LHP Barry Zito

 

Arizona Diamondbacks (76-86)

2013 NL MVP Runner-Up Paul Goldschmidt will finally have some protection in the lineup as the Diamondbacks front office went out and acquired a slugger in first baseman Mark Trumbo. Trumbo has hit at least 29 homeruns in each of his three complete seasons in the big leagues. The pitching staff was delivered a huge blow when it was announced that ace Patrick Corbin had a torn UCL that requires Tommy John surgery and will be out for the season. That now leaves them with Wade Miley as their number one guy with Bronson Arroyo, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, and Randall Delgado filling out the rotation. Delgado was acquired a few years back in the trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta. A big reason why the Diamondbacks lost control of the NL West last season was due to their inefficient bullpen in which they only converted 38 out of 67 save opportunities. The front office addressed their need to find a solid closer and went out and acquired Addison Reed from the White Sox who has only blown 12 saves in the past two seasons while converting 69 of those opportunities. Ultimately, losing Corbin for the season will kill any chance that the Diamondbacks have coming into the season because they simply do not have enough pitching to carry them now.

Addition(s):

1B Mark Trumbo

RHP Addison Reed

RHP Bronson Arroyo

Departure(s):

RHP Tyler Skaggs

OF Adam Eaton

 

Colorado Rockies (72-92)

The Rockies season will depend on the health of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. In seasons where Tulowitzki has played at least 100 games he has hit 27 homeruns, 30 homeruns, and 35 homeruns while also hitting over .300 in each. Since 2010 Gonzalez has averaged 27 homeruns, 22 steals, and has hit at least .295 in each season. This season marks the first year without Todd Helton manning first base since 1997 and the Rockies will count on 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau to fill those shoes. Jorge De La Rosa will head the pitching staff with newly acquired Brett Anderson following him. Anderson pitched well with Oakland in four seasons and holds a career ERA of 3.81. The fact of the matter is that Tulo and CarGo will get hurt again like always and will burst the bubble of Rockies fans with hopes of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Addition(s):

LHP Brett Anderson

OF Drew Stubbs

RHP Jordan Lyles

1B Justin Morneau

Departure(s):

1B Todd Helton

OF Dexter Fowler

LHP Drew Pomeranz

 

San Diego Padres (69-95)

In 2012 Chase Headley finished 5th in the National League in MVP voting when he hit 31 homeruns and had 115 RBIs and last year Headley only hit 15 homeruns and had 51 RBIs, so which Headley will the Padres get this year? Jedd Gyorko led all rookies last season in homeruns with 23 and including two minor league seasons, he has hit at least 20 homeruns in three straight seasons now. The pitching staff gained a solid arm in Josh Johnson when he is healthy, but question marks surround Tyson Ross coming into the season as the number three starter in the rotation. Huston Street is a top-notch closer in the big leagues and he will be called on many times this year after finishing with 33 saves last season. Quite frankly in this division wins will be hard to come by and the Padres won’t have enough fire power offensively to compete with their division foes.

Addition(s):

RHP Joaquin Benoit

RHP Josh Johnson

OF Seth Smith

Departure(s):

RHP Luke Gregerson

RHP Edinson Volquez

Brendan Kennealy

Brendan Kennealy

Brendan is a sophomore and is currently studying journalism and mass communication at Arizona State University. He is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and grew up a fan of the Giants, 49ers, Sharks, Warriors, and the California Golden Bears. His favorite player growing up was ASU alum Barry Bonds. You can follow Brendan on Twitter at @TheBKing4

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