Dodgers Rule NL West

The next five days will feature an MLB preview. No one knows, of course, when the season will actually begin but let's be optimistic and think May. So here we go in a special five-day preview.
Who's going to argue with Betty Boop?

Barring a collapse of unprecedented levels, the Los Angeles Dodgers will waltz away from their National League West rivals. Sheesh, when you add Mookie Betts to an outfield that already has Bellinger and Pollock, that’s a good start.  Then there’s an infield with Muncy, (Corey) Seager, and (Justin) Turner. We’re talking serious mash. Adding David Price to a pitching staff that has Kershaw, Buehler, and Wood will make it more than competitive. Jansen closes.

If you’re looking for weak spots, the # 5 pitcher is up in the air, and I’m not sure that new signing Blake Treinen is that hurler. The catching is okay, but not earth-shattering. But the Dodgers have excess they can trade, especially Pederson and Stripling. I’ll be surprised if either is still with the team by mid-season, as they’d be more than enough to secure whatever help is needed.  This looks like a runaway division winner and an odds-on favorite to win the World Series.

Dark Horse: The Arizona Diamondbacks have quietly buried some dead snakes and added useful pieces. If Bumgarner can return to 75% of what he was, he’s worth the money the D-backs shelled out. Leake is intriguing and I like Robbie Roy, as do a lot of other teams who unsuccessfully tried to get him. (Luke) Weaver has great potential. Vogt is one of the better catchers in the NL. Calhoun will help solidify the outfield, especially if Marte lives up to his potential.

On the flip side, the infield is young and unproven, other than (Christian) Walker. One never knows if the young guys will bloom or need more watering in the minors. The pitching will be thin if injuries strike or if MadBum has his best days behind him.

The sexy dark horse pick is the San Diego Padres. I feel about the Padres what I feel about the Seattle Mariners: Meh! They add pieces that add up to nothing in the long run–(Garrett) Richards, Profar, and Pomeranz, for instance. Yeah, they have Machado and Hosmer. Sure, Pham was a good pickup and Tatis, Jr. looks like he will (eventually) be a star. But look at the rest–including the overrated Wil Myers. Name one pitcher on this team you’d trade promising prospects to secure.

If I had to pick another team as a dark horse, it wouldn’t be the Padres. The Colorado Rockies have better pitching and they still have Arenado, Blackmon and others: Story, Desmond, Murphy…. It wouldn’t surprise me if they finished second.

The San Francisco Giants have just enough to be thoroughly mediocre. That might make them just good enough to pass the Padres for fourth, but they really need a tear-down/restart. There are guys on this team that simply aren’t worth their salaries: Cueto, Peralta, Gausman, Samardzija, Smyly, Posey, Belt …. These guys need to pick it up or the Giants will rot in the cellar. At its best, this team would be considered an overachiever if it finishes even for the season.  

Predicted Order of Finish:
1.    Los Angeles
2.    Arizona
3.    Colorado
4.    San Diego
5.    San Francisco

Rob Weir

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