We simply cannot wait for the new MLB season to start, and we are counting down the days until that very first pitch is thrown. If you are like us and love the MLB, then you definitely need to have a read on below, as we take a look at each and every team from the NL West and analyze their chances for success in this brand new season.
The season started off pretty decent for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021, as they were two games above .500 and two games out of the NL West lead a month into the season. Everything went downhill from there though, and an 8-50 stretch followed. Injuries played a part and now the D-Backs are in search of a path to getting their rebuild heading in the right direction. There’s reason to believe they have a plan now, after the hiring of pitching coach Brent Storm, who is widely regarded as the best in the game.
Your #OpeningDay starter. 😡🍑 pic.twitter.com/AXHqSg7uKv
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 3, 2022
That will cause for their staff to be much better this year, particularly Zac Gallen who showed a lot of promise towards the end of the year. Arizona still has Madison Bumgarner who is always a tough guy to hit and brought in Mark Malancon as the new closer, who can be moved for assets at the deadline if he’s pitching well. Improving on their 52 wins last year is definitely something I see and I actually see them having a shot at finishing above the Colorado Rockies in the division. That’s as high as they will go though as this division is just too tough to expect them to compete in any way.
2021 marked the third consecutive losing season for the Colorado Rockies who are trying to find a way to rise up in this very competitive NL West. Despite playing in Coors Field, which is notorious for its high altitude and thin air which causes home runs and offensive numbers to spike, the Rockies lack power in their lineup. The team went out and signed former NL MVP Kris Bryant to a seven-year deal in hopes that he can provide some pop, but they still have a ways to go.
4 days to go (not that we’re counting clearly) 😬
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 4, 2022
The bullpen is not dependable at all and if they can’t perform better as a unit this season then it’ll be another losing year. The pitching rotation is solid, led by German Marquez, and will be heavily relied upon to stop the powerhouse offenses in this division. Colorado remains the only team that has not yet won the NL West, and in their 29 years of existence have only made the playoffs 5 times. They were historically bad on the road, hitting just .217 away from Coors Field which was the lowest mark since the 1972 White Sox. It’s a bad team that did not do much to improve so 2022 they will once again be the doormat of the division and will hope to move some guys for assets for the future.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers have to be one of the best regular season teams ever to not win their division. LA finished with 106 wins but had to go through the Wild Card where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals. They then beat their division rival Giants who won the division over them in five games, before losing to the eventual champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. Coming into this year, expectations are World Series-or-bust and manager Dave Roberts has already told the media that the Dodgers will win it all this year.
I don’t blame him, especially with a lineup that has Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy at the top of it. A huge question mark though, is the status of former Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer who has been suspended indefinitely for an off-field incident. Bauer hasn’t pitched since June of last season and it’s still unknown when he’ll be able to return.
4. #OpeningDay pic.twitter.com/NaF3MrVpCS
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 4, 2022
The bullpen, which was one of the best least year, also is more vulnerable this year after losing Joe Kelly, Corey Knebel and closer Kelly Jansen. The offense was top 5 last year but with the addition of Freddie Freeman and a Cody Bellinger who should perform better than his .165 average in 2021, it’s easy to see a path to them improving into the top 3. This team has all the makings of the National League West champions but there’s no value in betting it at -230.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have to be the most disappointing team from 2021. It was supposed to be their year to finally dethrone the Dodgers, and make the playoffs led by superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. but instead they crumbled down the stretch and finished below .500. San Diego didn’t do much to improve their batting lineup in the winter, just opted for depth rather than going out for stars and depth will be needed after a motorcycle accident will leave Tatis Jr. out to start the year.
A #PadresWin in the penultimate #PadresST game! pic.twitter.com/O2FGrROk9C
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) April 4, 2022
The pitching staff is solid after adding Mike Clevinger to a group that includes Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. If they are able to stay healthy it’s a group that could carry them to some quality wins outside of the division. The loss of closer Mark Malancon to the Diamondbacks leaves a huge hole and there’s still no real answers on who will take over that role now. It’s hard to back this Padres team after the end of last year and the average offseason so I think this team will be back fighting for a Wild Card spot at most but nothing more. I just hope we can see a healthy Fernando Tatis at some point this year.
San Francisco Giants
Expectations weren’t crazy high coming into 2021 but the San Francisco Giants came out hot, winning 13 of their first 20 games, and set the tone for a historic 107 win season and NL West crown. The postseason didn’t go their way however, and they lost to their rival Dodgers in the NLDS in five games. Now the Giants have to deal with the loss of Giants legend Buster Posey who retired, and Kevin Gausman and Kris Bryant who walked out in free agency.
Opening Week is off to a good start ☺️
FINAL: #SFGiants 5, Athletics 3 pic.twitter.com/TrEWpuJSWS
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 4, 2022
Joey Bart is tasked with replacing Posey and there’s no clue on how he’ll do and if he can handle a pitching staff. 2021 was magical but their team was definitely fortunate to win that many games and is due for some regression. Their ability to use a semi-platoon system works wonders for their older roster and keeps everybody fresh. It’s important for them as they depend on a lot of guys in their 30s like Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and Darin Ruf. I think they’ll be squarely in the National League Wild Card hunt but the division is the Dodgers to lose and I don’t think they will.
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