Three of the five NL West teams opened their baseball season with a win. The West division has represented the NL in 5 of the past 9 World Series and it’s proven to be a tough division. Last season even came down to a game 163 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies at Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers would win and go on to lose in 5 games in the WS. This year will be an undoubtedly fun race in the division and here’s my prediction and ranking for all 5 NL West teams.
5. San Francisco Giants (77-85)
The glory years for the Giants are in the past, they’ve lost the second most games in the MLB over the last 2 years. I don’t expect this year to change much but they are certainly headed towards the right direction. Their biggest offseason signing wasn’t on the field, but in the front office, snatching up ex Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi and making him President of Baseball Operations. The usual names will line up for the Giants in 2019, Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, and Gerrardo Parra while Madison Bumgarner will once again ace the Giants below average pitching staff. The Giants are definitely in a rebuilding phase and are hoping Zaidi can bring the same kind of magic he brought to division rivals Dodgers sooner rather than later. Giants fans remain loyal and continue to sell out ATT Park, and I don’t expect that to change this year. They opened the season with a loss to the Padres 2-0.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (78-84)
The departure of Paul Goldschmidt would hurt any team, and it will be no different for the D-Backs. However, the players they brought in the trade for him will provide a boost for the snakes. Any team any year can be plagued by injuries and that was the case for Arizona in 2018. They actually spent a lot of time in first place of the division but lack of depth would see them miss the playoffs.
Carson Kelly, a catcher who never got to shine after being a second option to Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina, will finally get the chance to show what he can do in the majors. They have a pitching staff led by ace Zack Greinke and Archie Bradley but not much after that. Chase Field is one of the nicest indoor stadiums in the league, but I expect it to be a little less full this season with the departure of Goldschmidt. They opened the season with a 12-5 loss to the Dodgers.
3. San Diego Padres (86-76)
The Padres addition of Manny Machado was the biggest move in the division, and a great one. Machado adds playoff experience to a team that hasn’t seen much of it. He’s a great ball player and while some antics are questionable he will no doubt raise the Padres win total from 2018, (66-96). They have a solid defensive infield consisting of 2B Ian Kinsler, 1B Eric Hosmer. SS Fernando Tattis Jr, and 3B Manny Machado, not to mention they all can hit the ball and are more than capable of driving in 80+ RBIs each. With a decent hitting outfield led by LF Wil Myers, the Padres can be a well above average baseball team this season. They’re now the only team in San Diego and I’m sure the fans there won’t want to lose them. I expect to see Pet-Co Park packed and loud. They opened the season with a 2-0 shutout win over the Giants.
2. Colorado Rockies (95-67)
The Rockies went down to the wire last year with the Dodgers, resulting in a Game 163 they would lose. They possess the biggest home field advantage in all of the majors as the ball just flies out Coors Field. Offseason acquisitions Daniel Murphy and Mark Reynolds will be solid replacements after the departure of DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino, both to the Yankees. No big names in the pitching staff but Kyle Freeland is coming off the best pitching season in Rockies history, according to Eric McKinley of SBNATION Purple Row. Its certainly true and Freeland will hope to lead the Rockies back to the postseason again. Closer Wade Davis is as good as they come in the majors. One through 8 slots all capable of getting on base or hitting the ball out the park, especially their home park. If this team can stay healthy they’re going to give the Dodgers another run for their money. Coors Field offers advantages on offense, and a die-hard purple crowd. Coming off a great season I expect attendance to increase and it will be a good season for the Rockies. The Rockies opened the season with a 6-3 win over the Marlins.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (101-61)
Six time repeating division champs and back to back World Series appearances make it hard not to put LA as the highest ranking team in the division. Corey Seager is back for LA after Tommy John and hip surgery, and this basically untouched offense has proven to be able to score runs. The Dodgers have two legitimate aces in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. The only question is at second base this year, Kike Hernandez started at 2B but the question is who will play the position for the majority of the year. Around the diamond are all power hitters, and now they have a reliable hitting force behind the plate in Martin. Roberts’ pitching changes and management style in the past 2 world series have been questioned but if the starting rotation can stay healthy than the Dodgers have plenty of opportunity to not only win the division, but make another run deep run in October. Dodger Stadium is “blue heaven on earth,” according to legend Tommy Lasorda. I expect the stadium to be packed and loud as ever this season. They opened the season with a 12-5 win over the D-backs.
Lineups courtesy of MLB.com
Featured Photo Credit: Ralph Freso/Getty Images.
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