NL West Preview and Predictions

Disaster almost struck the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Their huge offseason pickup of Mookie Betts was nearly wasted, luckily the season was salvaged along with the possibility of the two best offensive players in the National League being able to make an impact in the same lineup.  The Dodgers are the clear favorites if the normal season took place, but with the season being relegated to just 60 games, the possibility of a talented squad catching fire can make a huge difference in who wins the west.  

Colorado Rockies

It may shock you that the Rockies along with another team in the NL West actually had the best 60 game run during the season. The Rockies were 37-23 during the middle of the season in 2019.  Unfortunately they were so far behind the front running Dodgers their run came pretty much unnoticed. Colorado will enter 2020 without any major changes to the organization.  Can they rely on their players improving? 

Serious rotation questions. 

The Rockies have Kyle Freeland and Antonio Sentzatela penciled into the rotation to begin 2020. Both pitchers are coming off of seasons of 6+ ERA.  This could lead to serious issues down the line with no clear answers to who replaces them in-season.  Top pitching prospect Ryan Rolison has never pitched above high-A.  He will need at least two full seasons in the minors unless something drastic changes.  That leaves just Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Peter Lambert as the potential 6 and 7 options.  It’s going to be a tough season for the Rockies rotation.  Lots of pressure will be put on the bullpen. 

Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado and…. 

Charlie Blackmon had another stellar season in 2019 with an OPS+ of 123 but the Rockies will need even more from the veteran in 2020.  A few unfortunate dart throws over the last few offseasons have left their mark on the lineup.  Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy have both performed at a less than expected level and it’s become time to call it a day in the hopes that they will perform.  The time is now to move on and give the youth a chance.  Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampsona and Sam Hilliard should be three names to keep an eye.  If all three can produce along with a finally healthy David Dahl the Rockies offensive may finally reach its potential. 

San Diego Padres

San Diego has amassed a large amount of young talent.  It’s getting close to put up or shut up time for the Padres and GM AJ Preller.  Accumulating talent is only as valuable as what that talent becomes.  Can they fit together to make a real run or are they a bunch of studs that will go down as historical pieces somewhere else?  2020 is time to see whether or not the Padres have a core worth moving forward.  Who will join Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado as the future of Padres baseball. 

The Rotation behind Chris Paddack.

San Diego made some interesting moves to bolster their rotation in the offseason. When you add veteran starting pitchers to a rotation you want guys that maybe once were considered potential aces but never panned out all the way.  That is not the case with Zach Davies.  Davies is a solid middle of the rotation starter that will be an innings eater and will pitch to contact.   The Padres stellar infield defense and large park should be a perfect fit for the former Brewer.   

San Diego also decided to take on a reclamation project in the often injured Garrett Richards.  Richards, a former 15 game winner, has not seen 16 starts in four years and only got into three total games last season.  He still brings to the table solid stuff that was a lost cost, potentially high reward signing.

The rest of the rotation behind Paddack will feature high upside starters Dinelson Lamet and Joey Lucchessi.  Both hurlers at certain points of last season found themselves taking the reins as the ace of the staff.  Top prospect MacKenzie Gore should make his debut in 2020 along with a host of other young arms including one of my favorite sleepers Ronald Bolanos in the bullpen.  The young arms that San Diego can throw at you will give them tons of depth that make them dangerous. 

What to do with Eric Hosmer? 

Hosmer is owed a lot of money. With a wRC+ of 95 which is his lowest since 2012.  He did still drive in 99 runs which was the only highlight of his entire season.  The most startling number is the 24% strikeout rate was also a career high.  San Diego will need Eric Hosmer who was a middle of the order producer with Kansas City or they will struggle behind Machado, Tatis and the newly acquired Tommy Pham. 

San Francisco Giants

The Giants got the most shocking news of the offseason.  Their franchise cornerstone Buster Posey decided to sit out the season.  San Francisco was not expected to make a run in 2020, but they did quietly tie the Rockies in the best record over a 60 game period going 37-23 in a 60 game stretch last season.  Can San Francisco’s veterans help them make an unlikely run in this shortened season?  

Can veteran staff lead the way?

Jeff Samardzija (35), Johnny Cueto (34), Drew Smyly (31), Kevin Gausman (29)

The front four of the Giants rotation reads like a list of potential trade chips by the end of August.  The contracts of Samardzija and Cueto may be tough to move but veteran’s Smyly and Guasman have shown the ability to handle the rotation and bullpen piece when needed. They could be valuable trade chips as the season goes on.  Top pitching prospect Logan Webb will round out the rotation, he reintroduced himself in spring training last year hitting 98mph on his fastball a year after recovering from Tommy John surgery.  With Webb the Giants should have a solid young arm to begin the rebuild of the starting staff but the rest of the arms in the system still need time to move up the board. 

Derek Rodriguez was disappointing last season off the heels of a stellar 2018, if he is able to rebound and discover what made him successful he could be another strong piece for the future.  The Giants rotation has the arms to keep them competitive but with the age and injury history of the top of the rotation they will need more depth to have any chance to compete.  

What to do without Posey. 

The Giants veterans just sit in the rotation.  Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence and even Pablo Sandoval all will have prominent roles in the lineup for San Francisco.  Journeyman Alex Dickerson and Mike Yaztremski both burst onto the scene last year, proving their worth on the major league level.  If they both can contribute similarly the Giants may have the bats to compete with the top of the powerful NL West.  

The signing of Wilmer Flores and the emergence last season of Mauricio Dubon along with Crawford will make a nice stop gap for the eventual coming of top prospect Marco Luciano.  Luciano most likely won’t see any time this season but he has a bright future in San Francisco and will look to take on a role in the bigs sooner than later.  

With the loss of Buster Posey for 2020 many will speculate that the Joey Bart era behind the plate will soon be coming to the bay.  Posey most likely will then be seeing more time at first base when he returns.  Bart though still hasn’t seen much time at higher levels playing only 22 games in double-A.  In those games he produced with a .902 OPS which could push the front office to give him the first shot behind the plate.  

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona was one of the teams I was looking at as a potential sleeper to come out of the NL West.  Multiple offseason additions solidified a young core of players that already began their ascent to potential stardom. The front office made moves to take the next step in an ongoing battle with the dominant Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Madbum, the leader they need.

Arizona shocked the rest of the league by signing long time Giant Madison Bumgarner to lead their rotation.  The longtime division rival now finds himself in a similar role that he entered the league to do.  He has to step up and lead a developing team to overtake the powerful Dodgers. Bumgarner is still in the midst of the prime of his career as he enters his age 30 season.  Coming off of a WAR of 3.2 for a Giants team that didn’t always give him the support necessary for success shows that he has not lost anything as the innings have piled up.  Bumgarner brings leadership to a staff that has desperately needed it.  With a young core staff they need a guy who has been down the stretch and knows how to win.  

The Diamondbacks also had a player decide to sit out the 2020 season.  Veteran starter Mike Leake has decided to invoke his right to forgo the season, leaving the Diamondbacks with an open slot in the rotation. The immediate replacements are between righty Merrill Kelly and young lefty Alex Young.  Both rode the roller coaster of success and failure in 2019 and both will be given the chance to win the job.  Kelly, the former KBO standout, likely will have the first shot to take the job but his run of getting blown up in the middle of the season leaves him with a quicker hook than what would have happened if the season was going from day one. With Young it is a similar story, bursting onto the scene he looked like a lefty of the future for Arizona.  His peripheral numbers are intriguing in just 15 starts last season Young had 7 wins and an ERA of 3.56.  The troubling numbers show in the advanced analytics that show his vulnerabilities. Young’s FIP sits at 4.86 and he gives up a hard hit percentage of 48%.  

Arizona’s top four are as good as any in the division with Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver.  If they can find a number five that gives them a push this staff can be enough to sneak into the playoffs.  

Arizona’s offense is very nice. 

The easiest thing to say about the Arizona offense is that it is explosive.  The addition of Starling Marte allows everyone to move back and put themselves in an even better position to drive in runs.  Ketel Marte is a serious star in the making, Eduardo Escobar, Christain Walker, David Peralta, Kole Calhoun and Carson Kelly all have the chance to hit 20 homers and hit above .300.  Starling Marte brought his OBP up to .342 last season and his ISO up to .200.  This team is loaded and dangerous. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have been stacked for a number of years.  They have dominated not only the West but honestly the entire national league.  Despite being loaded with talent they have not been able to put it all together.  Their response to this is like what you would do on the video game MLB “The Show”, put the best possible player in your lineup in order to put yourselves over the top.  That player in this instance is Mookie Betts.  This team is good and I am not going to waste much time on breaking them down, but here we go. 

Rotation flaws?

Not really.  The re-acquiring of Alex Wood has put the Dodgers in a great spot.  Wood will slot into the #4 spot in the rotation behind Kershaw, Buehler and the rising phoenix Julio Urias.  That leaves one spot for either veteran Ross Stripling or young fireballer Dustin May, both would be top three on most rotations in baseball.  The Dodgers have as good of a full staff as anyone in baseball.  

Is Gavin Lux ready to make an impact?

When you have a top five prospect in baseball ready to take the reins it’s always exciting.  Lux will be given the chance to show what he is made of.  The Dodgers have plenty of bench depth to put Lux in a great spot day by day.  If they see a bad matchup then you can put guys like Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor in the lineup.  Lux doesn’t have to come in and carry the lineup,  he has maybe the least pressure of any top prospect in the entire league.  He can relax and play his game.  

Verdict:

The NL West is the Dodgers division.  They have the bats and the arms to take the entire league. The only team that can give them any trouble would likely be the Arizona Diamondbacks.  They have built a team that is ready to make a run at the playoffs right now. 

Standings:

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. San Diego Padres
  4. Colorado Rockies
  5. San Francisco Giants

DH for every NL team.

NL Central:

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

The argument can be made for a couple of different players on the Cardinals roster.  Tyler O’Neil seems to make a lot of sense as he has had a few problems in the field that were well documented.  But I think that Matt Carpenter makes a lot of sense being a DH.  Bro’Neil needs to be active in the game to keep his focus, he has shown he is not great coming off of the bench as a pinch hitter, while Carpenter is a type of player that can focus on film while the team is in the field.  Tommy Edman has shown he can play a great hot corner.  

Nicholas Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds

Castellanos is not a great defender anywhere on the field.  He was a terrible third baseman and a subpar corner outfielder.  Great American Small Park should hide some defensive inefficiencies but he is still not a great option in the field.  With the addition of 6-time gold glove winner in the Pacific League Shogo Akiyama controlling center along with youngster Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker and Aristedes Aquino the Reds have more than a couple great options in the outfield. 

Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

Kyle Schwarber is the type of player that the DH is built for.  A great power bat that has never had an exact spot in the field to play.  With Albert Almora, Jason Heyward, Ian Happ and the addition of Steven Souza the Cubbies have enough options to handle the outfield and allow Schwarber to just mash. 

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

The addition of Avisail Garcia brought up a lot of questions about what was next for former MVP Ryan Braun.  The Brewers had talked about moving Braun over to first base but another addition Justin Smoak makes that an unlikely option.  Braun still brings impact to the lineup and can be protected from injury by just having a few at-bats per game. 

Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

Josh Bell became one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball, surprisingly Bell has ranked as one of the worst defensive players in all of baseball.  His -31 DRS (fangraphs) was the worst in the league by a first baseman.  With Jose Osuna on the bench the Pirates can have a better defensive first baseman that can actually bring more power to the lineup. 

NL East:

Howie Kendrick, Washington Nationals

Washinton has a litany of veteran players in the infield and they are set on giving prospect Carter Kieboom the job replacing Anthony Rendon.  Kendrick has shown his ability to hit and he has to find a way in the lineup.   DH seems like it was made for Kendrick. 

Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves

The former gold glove winner has seen a consistent decline in his defensive ability due to injuries and just extremely questionable decisions.  The Braves needed to replace the Josh Donaldson pop in the lineup and keeping Ozuna healthy could be as easy as keeping him out of left field.  Austin Riley, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis can round out an outfield centered around mega-star Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins

It seems like Jesus Aguilar’s breakout season of 2018 was actually a lifetime ago.  Aguilar couldn’t replicate his success during the 2019 season but he still brings the power that belongs in a lineup.  The Marlins picked up Aguilar in the offseason, he immediately becomes a threat in the Miami offense.  The Marlins actually have a solid option at first base in Garrett Cooper.  Cooper can handle the defense of first base while Aguilar slots in at the DH spot. 

Neil Walker, Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies loaded up with veterans in the offseason. Neil Walker will enter the season in a utility bench spot but would make a lot of sense as the DH.  Walker brings a OBP of .344 which would put him right at the top of the Phillies lineup.  The return of Andrew McCutchen will help with a serious problem Philadelphia has.  They were one of the worst teams in the league at getting on base.  Putting Walker in the lineup provides the RBI chances for the big bats as well as a switch hitter for late inning matchup problems.  

Dominic Smith, New York Mets

Long time prospect Dominic Smith found himself overtaken as the future first baseman of the Mets by Pete Alonso.  Smith is still an impact bat that just needed consistent plate appearances.  Smith transitioned to the outfield where he did not excel defensively.  With a healthy Michael Conforto along with Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis and Jake Marisnick the outfield is too stacked for Smith to find a spot.  Smith can hit and he should be given a chance as a full time DH. 

NL West:

Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

Injuries have completely derailed the production of Jake Lamb.  With no set spot in the field because of Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker, DH should be a great spot for Jake Lamb. 

Sam Hilliard, Colorado Rockies

Colorado has to find a way to get consistent at bats for prospect Sam Hilliard.  Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl and Ramail Tapia currently man the massive outfield in Colorado. Putting Hilliard in the DH role gives him a chance to in the majors with consistent at-bats.  The Rockies had a lot of options with Daniel Murphy, Ian Desmond and Garret Hampson, but Hilliard needs to find a spot in the lineup. 

Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are going to play the matchup game as they always do, so naming one guy as the potential DH is trivial but I would go with Joc Pederson.  Pederson has shown his ability to play the corners as well as first base.  With the addition of Mookie Betts, the Dodgers now have two solid defenders in the outfield. Betts, Bellinger and former gold glove winner AJ Pollock would give the Dodgers their best defensive outfield.  Max Muncy is a better defender at first base so Pederson in the DH role makes the most sense. 

Josh Naylor, San Diego Padres

Josh Naylor mashed in triple-A slugging .573.  He has legit power that can be put right into the middle of the Padre lineup.  Naylor will have to find his way onto the roster.  Franchy Cordero, Will Myers and Juan Lagares are all candidates to take outfield spots from Naylor entering the season.  Despite the competition Naylor brings the most potential power and that is a need in San Diego to protect Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer.

Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants

Hunter Pence had a resurgence in 2019 with the Texas Rangers.  Injuries cut his season short, ending what was going to be a great comeback season.  He had a WRC+ of 128 along with a .910 OPS he became a great story about a career renaissance. 

The Giants have a set outfield with Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson and Billy Hamilton.  Pence would be able to get consistent at-bats as the DH and not have to man the large and interesting San Francisco outfield.  

Klub and MadBum

The title to this blog would make for a great CBS sitcom.  I could see the commercials now, an odd couple of sorts changing cities in order to change their lives…maybe for the better?  Madison Bumgarner and Corey Kluber are two potential aces that have switched teams in the offseason. The theme of the 2019 Winter meeting seems to center around pitching.  With Strasburg and Cole signing massive contracts they have overshadowed the mometus moves by both the Diamondbacks and Rangers in order to bolster their staffs. The question I have is who really made the better move??

Bumgarner helps in more ways than one.

The Diamondbacks agreed to a five-year $85 million contract over the weekend.  Bumgarner will join a rotation that features Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver, Mike Leake, Zac Gallen, Alex Young and Robbie Ray.  With Madbum that makes for seven names for five spots. MLB trade rumors is suggesting that the pickup of Bumgarner means that Robbie Ray will be on his way out in Arizona.  If that happens, did the Diamondbacks really improve themselves? Surprisingly to most Bumgarner just turned 30 years old in August, a five year deal will not have him pitching into the twilight of his career. Bumgarner’s 3.2 WAR immediately puts him at the top of the starting pitchers for the D-Backs.  

Rotation WAR

Robbie Ray 2.0

Luke Weaver 1.8

Merrill Kelly 1.5

Zac Gallen .8

Alex Young .4

The Diamondbacks now have a proven starter at the top of their rotation. They addition of Bumgarner makes the trade market for Robbie Ray a lot better.   The impending free agent has the upside to miss bats that most contending teams are going to want to acquire. Arizona has pitching depth in the minor league system so moving Ray with the addition of Bumgarner will allow Arizona to get the depth the need at first base or the outfield.  The signing of Bumgarner has opened up the possibilities for Arizona, they improved their #1 starter and opened up the market for to continue improving their roster.  

Rangers get an Ace

The Texas Rangers have made their counter move in the stacked AL West adding former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber for basically some guys on a spreadsheet.  This deal seemed like a recreation of the Moneyball scene where Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt just threw out a few names to pick up a reliever.  

The Cleveland Indians picked up Delino Deshields Jr. and Emmanuel Clase. Clase is the player that brings the most interest in this trade. Clase is a 21 years old and possesses potential dominant stuff including a 100 MPH cutter.  Clase projects as a future relief option for the Indians. He still has only reached the High A level but immediately jumps into the top 30 prospect list for Cleveland. 

Now let’s talk about what the Rangers got in Corey Kluber.  The Rangers had starting pitching issues all season in 2019 and they were set on reworking their rotation.  Kluber has become the marquee name along with Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson. Those three will join Mike Minor and Lance Lynn making a rotation that can immediately make an impact in the loaded AL West. Kluber is coming off a lost season, dealing with multiple stints on the injured list but the upside he brings is well worth what is ultimate cost was.  While the Indians found him expendable the Rangers have a chance to push themselves into the playoff hunt with a healthy new ace of the staff. We tend to forget that 2018 Kluber won 20 games and added a 5.5WAR.  

Who did better?

Arizona and Texas both have tough divisions to deal with.  The NL West is still the Dodgers and the AL West is still the Astros until further notice.  Both teams were able to add impact starters for little cost. I am going to call Diamondbacks the winner of these two trades  Bumgarner allows the flexibilty to fill in any and all needs they may have. Kluber is a huge move for the Rangers but they still have a lot of work to do to contend for even a wild card spot in the American League.  If the D-Backs decide to hold on to Ray or move Ray they should have the rotational pieces that will make them a force to contend with in the National League.

NL West Preview and Prediction

LA Dodgers

Key Additions- AJ Pollock, Russell Martin, Joe Kelly

Key Subtractions- Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Yasmani Grandal and Matt Kemp

Lineup

The Dodgers finally moved on from Yasiel Puig after a lengthy run of talking about it. His replacement former Diamondback AJ Pollock has a history of injuries but If healthy can be just as productive as the departed while not bringing the drama.  The Dodgers were also able to bring back catcher Russell Martin to replace the departed Yasmani Grandal.  The veteran Martin will help a pitching staff that will be without ace Clayton Kershaw to start the season. The flexibility for manager Dave Roberts will be a huge asset Max Muncy, Enrique Hernandez, David Freese, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger all can play multiple positions which will allow for a lot of good matchups.  The lineup will miss Grandal’s power but a healthy Corey Seager could fill in the missing power.

Rotation

No Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill means that Julio Urias will be in the rotation to start the season.  The top of the rotation will take a hit but in a whole it is still strong if Hyun-Jin Ryu stays healthy.  Walker Buehler has ascended into a premier role with the organization, he will be looked upon early to be the ace.  If his progression continues he will be the next great star in the organization.

Bullpen

The biggest addition in the bullpen was hard throwing Joe Kelly.  The worry about Kenley Jansen is understandable but he is still one of the best when healthy.  From the left side the Dodgers still have reliable Scott Alexander, but will need Tony Cingrani to return from the DL.

Colorado Rockies

Key Additions- Daniel Murphy

Key Subtractions- DJ LaMahieu

Lineup

David Dahl is finally healthy in 2019.  Put him in a lineup that features Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Murphy. Dahl has the potential to add 30 homers to the lineup while stealing at least 15 bases.  The loss of DJ Lamahieu takes a consistent hitter out of the lineup but Garret Hampson and Ryan McMahon can easily fill in the role.  The Rockies have the most depth of any team in the division.

Rotation

Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are two guys that have not become household names but they probably should be.  Marquez brings the ability to strikeout any batter at any time.  His ability to put batters away without allowing them to put it in play is always important in Coors Field.  The bottom of the rotation consists of Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray give the Rockies a solid four man rotation.  Gray had his terrible moments in 2018 but still has the ability to be a #1.  The final spot in the rotation is owned by Chad Bettis who has looked great during the spring and should be a serviceable #5.

Bullpen

Wade Davis had a lot of saves…but he still was not good.  Scott Oberg and Sen-wan Oh stepped up last season but the Rockies made a mistake by not adding anything depth to the pen. I don’t expect Davis to have another year like 2018 but still the bullpen could be the shakiest part of this Colorado team.

San Diego Padres

Key Additions- Manny Machado, Ian Kinsler, Adam Warren, Aaron Loup

Lineup

The Padres made the move of the offseason for the NL West adding high priced free agent Manny Machado.  They now have the player to build around while their youth movement.  The announcement that super prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. has made the team means that GM AJ Preller has high hopes for this season.  With a lineup that featuring  veterans Will Myers, Eric Hosmer Ian Kinsler around Machado, the Padres lineup has a lot of promise if the youth can make the strides in the right direction. 

Rotation

The rotation will get a lift from another big time prospect Chris Paddack joins Joey Lucchesi and  Eric Lauer to build a strong young core in a rotation that still has some holes to fill.  The Padres rotation will need some work if they are looking to contend anytime soon.

Bullpen

Kirby Yates is a premier level closer that can have a huge impact finishing off games for the Padres.  If they can get lead they have the guy to close it out.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Key Additions- Adam Jones, Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Greg Holland, Wilmer Flores

Key Subtractions- Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, Chris Owings, Dan Descalso, AJ Pollock

Lineup

The Arizona Diamondbacks are set for a full rebuild.  Moving on from Paul Goldschmidt means that they are looking for a new cornerstone for the lineup.  For now they are going to be looking for David Peralta to step up and be the middle of the order bat that can carry the team.  Re-signing versatile Eduardo Escobar allows them to move Jake Lamb over to first base.  If Lamb is able to stay healthy he can potential be a 30 homer player,  but that is a big if.  Adam Jones and Wilmer Flores are two great veteran additions that will provide stability to the lineup during the rebuild. The D-Backs are going to give Carson Kelly a chance that he never got with the Cardinals in hopes that he can live up to the long time hype.

Rotation

The rotation lost Patrick Corbin to free agency but still has the its top two starters in place with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray.  Luke Weaver showed promise in his first season with the Cardinals but has an issue with throwing his fastball for strikes which made him a movable piece.  Weaver was still a top level prospect that is worth the look as the fourth starter. 

Bullpen

The D-Backs surprised the baseball community by naming Greg Holland their closer over the favored Archie Bradley.  Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano will give them what they need in the middle innings. 

San Francisco Giants

Key Additions- Gerardo Parra, Yan Solarte

Key Subtractions- Hunter Pence? I guess.

Lineup

I am not going to spend much time on any on this.  The Giants are going to rely on mainstays Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria. Adding veteran Gerardo Parra will provide some punch in the dugout but not much on the scoreboard.  I have always be a fan of Yan Solarte but he will not see much time unless injuries happen, still not exactly and impact bat that is needed.

Rotation

Madbum is great, Holland and Samardzija are average.  The only excitement here is the development of Derek Rodriguez.  Can he take the next step to become a true #2 starter?

Bullpen

Will Smith quietly had a very solid second half for the Giants.  Multiple reclamation projects like Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson will be relied upon in a major way during the season.

My Prediction

1.Dodgers

2.Rockies

3.Padres

4.Diamondbacks

5.Giants

The Rockies have a chance to take the division in 2019, but they still have some questions in the rotation and bullpen.  The Dodgers will get back Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, but their injuries will allow Julio Urias to develop and be weapon in spot starts or potentially the bullpen.  LA still has a great offense, so many players to fill in the gaps in case of injuries.  Dodgers will win the west but the Rockies will be on their tail all season.