Baseball is back on July 23! Obviously with the 60-game format, things will be very different this year. Some teams will benefit from a shorter season and some will definitely suffer because of it. This week, I’ll be going through my predictions for all the MLB divisions. Here are my predictions for how the NL West will finish.
5) San Francisco Giants (Last Year: 77-85, 3rd NL West)
The Giants are in the middle of a rebuild after the core that won them three championships in the 2010s has slowly left. Buster Posey has opted out of the season, further depleting a team that wasn’t very scary to start with. FanGraphs just put out a ranking of starting rotations and the Giants finished 28th of 30 teams. The average age of their rotation is over 32 years old. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija are far from the pitchers they used to be. Kevin Gausman has never really been that good of a rotational piece and he gives up a ton of home runs. San Francisco simply doesn’t have the lineup to make up for the shortcomings of their rotation. Look for the Giants to finish at the end of the division while giving up a ton of unanswered runs. Although the team won’t be good, I can see Mike Yastrzemski (yes, the grandson of Carl) to continue to develop and have a solid season.
4) Colorado Rockies (Last Year: 71-91, 4th NL West)
The Colorado Rockies are a directionless franchise. Without being willing to commit to a full-on rebuild, they’ve been a middling team in the NL West over the last couple of seasons – sometimes competitive, sometimes not. Their offense is going to be solid, which is usually the case in Coors Field. Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon have the ability to keep them in games. But again, their pitching is nothing to get excited about. Don’t expect much here.
3) Arizona Diamondbacks (Last Year: 85-77, 2nd NL West)
I think the Madison Bumgarner acquisition is overhyped, but the D-backs will be better for it nonetheless. Unfortunately, I don’t think this team has the offensive weapons, bullpen arms, or lights-out starters to really do much of anything over such a short span. It feels like the 2020 Diamondbacks will be one team hurt by a season that won’t give them time to heat up as the year goes on. Through sixty games last year, they were a .500 team. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more of the same this year.
2) San Diego Padres (Last Year: 70-92, 5th NL West)
San Diego has a group I can see benefitting from the shorter season. They have a good group of arms led by Chris Paddack. Their bullpen is one of the best in the league, which will be huge over the shorter campaign. On the offensive side, Manny Machado will look to have a bounce-back season after an unimpressive year in 2019. This year, Fernando Tatis Jr. will continue to get better and the Padres can mess around and make things interesting in the NL West. However, I don’t think they’re quite at the level where they can be considered a legitimate playoff contender. Wild stuff is going to happen over sixty games, but I would check back on the Padres in two years.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers (Last Year: 106-56, 1st NL West, Lost NLDS)
It cannot be overstated how good this team is. After winning 106 games last season, they added 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to the lineup. Betts is already lighting it up in summer camp. Although David Price opted out, their starting rotation and bullpen are among the best in the league. The top four in their lineup are absolutely terrifying: Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger. Given their depth at all positions and excellent offensive ability, put the embarrassment of riches in Los Angeles down to be in World Series contention.