Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: NL West

Here's our final entry in our MLB divisional previews. Today's post covers the NL West, while the entire preview can be found here.

WEST DIVISION

1. Los Angeles Dodgers



Key Acquisitions: 2B Logan ForsytheRP Sergio Romo


Key Losses: RP Joe BlantonRP JP Howell2B/OF Howie KendrickOF Josh Reddick

Outlook: With seemingly endless resources and one of the smartest front offices in the game, the Dodgers seem poised to remain atop the Western division for years to come. After flirting with a Brian Dozier acquisition all off-season, they eventually got tired of waiting on the Twins and simply moved on to Logan Forsythe. He's not quite on the same level as Dozier, but he's been a very good player over the last two seasons and should give them another above average starter. Sergio Romo remains effective and should help the team handle the losses of JP Howell and Joe Blanton.

Key Acquisitions: RP Mark Melancon3B Jae-Gyun Hwang

Key Losses: RP Sergio RomoRP Santiago CasillaOF Angel Pagan

Outlook: The Giants just keep on winning, always finding ways to replace moving parts. Melancon and Hwang should both provide upgrades for the team, and both have considerable potential to be very good at their respective positions. Losing Sergio Romo to their biggest rival is tough to handle, but thankfully Melancon is the better reliever at this point so they'll get over it. Despite the Dodgers endless resources, the Giants should at least contend for the division title.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks



Key Acquisitions: SS Ketel MarteSP Taijuan WalkerRP Fernando Rodney

Key Losses: C Welington Castillo2B/SS Jean Segura

Outlook: Trading infielder Jean Segura following his best season to this point was a very forward-thinking and smart move. His 2016 season had priced him out of the Diamondbacks budget, and there's no guarantee that his 2016 breakout was a sign of things to come. It's just as likely to be an outlier in my opinion. Now, Ketel Marte is likely nothing more than a utility player on a good team, and Taijuan Walker still needs to put all of his talent together, but long-term it could work out very well for Arizona. This season, however, they seem much more likely to battle for the cellar with San Diego and Colorado rather than somehow contending and competing with Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Key Acquisitions: None

Key Losses: C Derek Norris

Outlook: For Twins fans that may be angry or frustrated by the Twins lack of moves this off-season, it's important to remember that current Padres GM AJ Preller took the aggressive approach when he took over prior to the 2015 season. He made several poor moves, but most notably he traded Trea Turner and Joe Ross for Steven Souza and Travis Ott. That's the kind of trade even the AI in a video game wouldn't make. The Padres are still reeling from all of Preller's mistakes, and this season is not going to be the year they turn things around. The team was very conservative this offseason, which was probably the right decision. Thankfully, there's a lot to do in San Diego outside of sports, because the football team is gone and the baseball team is going to stink again.

5. Colorado Rockies



Key Acquisitions: IF/OF Ian DesmondRP Mike DunnRP Greg Holland

Key Losses: None

Outlook: The Rockies are expecting to contend this season after spending a fairly large amount of money this offseason. The team chose to keep it's expensive core in tact rather then entering a clear rebuild, so they decided to add Ian Desmond to a crowded outfield situation. Desmond is expected to play all around the diamond when healthy, although the Rockies expect first base to his main position. Desmond's value comes from his defensive position; as a center fielder or shortstop he's a well above average hitter. As a first baseman, he's overpaid. It's easier to find league average first baseman, obviously. Despite the Rockies belief that they'll contend, I expect them to be the division's worst team. They may not want to rebuild yet, but come July, they won't have much of a choice.