Jake Devin Previews the NL West
First: Los Angeles Dodgers
The amount of simply good major-leaguers the Dodgers possess is staggering. There are only eight positions outside of pitcher on the field, and the Dodgers count a solid dozen players that have cogent arguments for regular playing time. Not only that, their starting rotation runs nine-deep. With Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and the unlikely Rich Hill leading the way, the Dodgers have stars too. Their combination of enviable depth and top-end talent is overwhelming, and makes them the favorites to take the AL West crown for the fifth year running.
— MLB (@MLB) February 26, 2017
Second: San Francisco Giants
2017 isn’t an even year, but expect the Giants to compete anyway. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto front a strong rotation that could benefit from a full year of Matt Moore, and the Giants infield core of Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Joe Panik is young and productive. The addition of Mark Melancon should help a bullpen that was much-maligned down the stretch last year. They might not take down the Dodgers, but another October appearance could very well be in the cards.
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) February 25, 2017
Third: Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have assembled a nice core of position players, one that is strong enough to generate some sleeper buzz in Colorado this year. The signing of Ian Desmond to play first base was puzzling, but he adds to a group that includes superstar Nolan Arenado, batting champ DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, and the still solid Carlos Gonzalez. And in Jonathan Gray, Colorado might finally have a frontline hard-throwing starter that sticks. There might not be enough pitching here for the Rockies to truly contend, but they should be fun to keep an eye in 2017.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 25, 2017
Fourth: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are still reeling a bit from the mismanagement by former executives Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa. This squad would likely have a very different feel to it if AJ Pollock, Zack Greinke, and Paul Goldschmidt were joined by Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte. Instead, Arizona has a pitiful farm system on their hands, and a major league team that does have talent, but not enough to scare anyone. The Diamondbacks look to be a team in transition.
— Diamondbacks Fans (@ArDiamondbacks) February 26, 2017
Fifth: San Diego Padres
GM A.J. Preller has earned himself a slimy reputation, after seeing a trade with the Marlins partially reversed when it was revealed the Padres weren’t forthright about medical details. Smarmy as he may be, he has rebuilt the Padres farm system impressively over the past year, but that it needed to be rebuilt was Preller’s own fault, after he razed the farm in a brazen attempt to compete in 2015. Nevertheless, the Padres are bad right now, but might be better in the future, with a cadre of prospects that ranks among the league’s best. We’ll see if Preller survives long enough in his role to see the fruits of his rebuilding efforts borne out.
A.J. Preller says “there’s definitely a scenario” in which the Padres start the year with 3 Rule 5ers. “We took them for a reason,” he said.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) February 21, 2017