What Are The Biggest Strengths For Each NL West Team In 2023?
MLB’s 2023 offseason has come to an end and the holiday season is in the air. To wrap up our biggest strengths for every team, we have the 2023 NL West’s biggest strengths.
I wrote an in-depth analysis of this division giving predictions and previews. This division is easily one of the most intriguing in the sport. If the strengths of the big dogs in this division come to a head, the World Series winner could certainly emerge from the NL West.
Let’s get through these final strengths, and get this season underway!
Colorado Rockies: Potential Deadline Pieces
The Rockies won a paltry 65 games last season in this cutthroat division. That mark firmly supplanted them in last place, and one can expect more of the same from this year’s Rockies. Their strength is that they can likely continue to build their farm system by trading away pieces at the deadline.
I have no idea how Daniel Bard wasn’t traded at last year’s deadline, but here we are. Bard racked up 34 saves for the club and was an effective pitcher who can help a lot of MLB teams in their pursuits. Brad Hand is another name that could get moved. I feel like Hand is always swirling at the deadline. Maybe we could see Germán Márquez or Kyle Freeland be traded this year, but I would doubt either of them get moved unless something changes.
My favorite candidate for trade in this lineup goes to Jurickson Profar. He signed a cheap one-year deal with Colorado. He could post high-level numbers in a lot of at-bats, and if he does, expect him to be sent to a contender for a nice return. C.J. Cron usually floats around during the deadline as well.
It’s hard to say that a team’s biggest strength is the fact that they have no strengths, but here we are. The Rockies are going to be bad in 2023 yet again. Hopefully, they can get more from their trade partners than they did with the Nolan Arenado trade.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Young Stars
Years of being in the tank for the Arizona Diamondbacks are finally starting to pay off. This lineup and pitching staff are crawling with young talent.
It starts with ace Zac Gallen. Gallen is still 27 and had arguably his best career season in 2022. The right-hander logged 31 starts and pitched to a 2.54 ERA for the Snakes last season. Speaking of pitching youth, Ryne Nelson, 25, should get a more advanced role this season at the team’s five starter as it stands.
The young bats are very exciting for any Arizona fan. Their leadoff man Corbin Caroll will be a Diamondback for a long time, and many expect him to break out in 2023. Ketel Marte is still only 29 years old and is back to his natural role at second base. Alek Thomas will be this team’s Opening Day center fielder and is a special prospect. Gabriel Moreno, acquired in the Toronto trade, will also be the team’s Opening Day catcher in his second big league season.
This roster is slowly but surely coming together. I believe the Diamondbacks could be the Orioles of 2022: a team that surprises everyone and punches above their weight.
San Francisco Giants: Rotation and Front Line Bullpen
Going into this season, the San Francisco Giants don’t have many overwhelming strengths, but they are very solid at a lot of different things. Amongst the best of their strengths are their rotation and the front line of their bullpen.
The Giants’ rotation is really solid from one to five. Logan Webb is their ace and has been one of MLB’s best pitchers since 2021. Webb does a lot of things well, but most notably, he simply doesn’t walk anyone. Going down the line, number two starter Alex Cobb was solid in 2022 and is a good bet to start at least 25 games. Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling were the offseason pickups that make this rotation look solid. Alex Wood will look to bounce back from a rough 2022 as the five starter.
Camilo Doval was arguably the best NL West reliever last year until Josh Hader arrived with the Padres. He has excellent velocity and spin on his fastball and simply misses barrels. Doval ranked in the top six percent in the opponent’s exit velocity last year. Submariner Taylor Rogers struggled in 2022 but has the chance to bounce back and will have plenty of chances as the primary bridge reliever.
The Giants missed out on the big fish this offseason. Do they have enough depth to truly compete in this division?
Los Angeles Dodgers: Their Three Best Players
This wasn’t the typical Dodgers spending spree offseason. Instead, they were much more conservative, targeting some positions of need and not being too quick to re-sign a lot of players. As long as these three superstars are still the 1-2-3 in the batting order, the Dodgers will be just fine.
These all-stars don’t all do the same things well. For example, Betts is a do-it-all player who hits the ball extremely hard and is elite as a fielder. Freeman doesn’t strike out, gets on base at an excellent clip, and his expected batting average and slugging are through the roof, according to Baseball Savant. Smith has cemented himself as one of the best catchers in the sport. He’s a guy that doesn’t chase and has one of the better pop times in the league.
I’m far from ready to hop on the Dodgers hate bandwagon, but their team took a step back from what it was last season. I’d be a fool to say they don’t have a plan, though.
San Diego Padres: Unreal Lineup
This 2023 San Diego Padres lineup is truly unreal. I count a potential four Hall of Fame candidates in this lineup.
They won’t have Fernando Tatis Jr. until April 20th, but once he returns, he’ll slide nicely back into this lineup probably in the leadoff spot. Xander Bogaerts signed a monstrous 11-year contract this offseason with no opt-outs. He’s likely to be penciled in at the leadoff spot. Manny Machado is an MVP candidate every season, and that was no different last year. This team is highlighted by Juan Soto, who controls the strike zone like no other player in the sport. If you want a lesson on how to track pitches, just watch a Soto at bat. He simply does not swing at anything outside of the zone.
Jake Cronenworth wasn’t world-breaking in 2022 but he is still a really good player. Trent Grisham had a strange 2022, but can still hit for a lot of power. Ha-Seong Kim played well for San Diego in the playoffs.
This lineup is really tough to beat. It is easily the strength of this team. If you read my predictions post, you know I like the Padres to win their first division title since 2006. If they do beat the Dodgers, it’ll be on the back of this lineup.
That concludes the 2023 NL West strengths. The Padres have the best lineup in this division and could potentially have the best lineup in the sport.
Finally, we are finished with the 2023 MLB offseason! I am super excited to get this season underway. Baseball fans are anticipating a lot of fireworks this season, but maybe none more so than from this division.
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