We simply cannot wait for the new MLB season to start, and we are counting down the days until the very first pitch. 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 2022 Arizona Diamondbacks enjoyed a 22-game improvement over their dismal 52-110 record in 2021 and are counting on developing a slew of young talent this season. The Diamondbacks finished fourth in the NL West and failed to qualify for the postseason for the fifth straight year.
A trio of young outfielders – Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, and Alek Thomas – will play a vital role in the success of this year’s squad. First baseman Christian Walker led the team in both home runs (36) and RBIs (94) last season, while second baseman Ketel Marte batted .240 with a team-high 42 doubles and 12 homers.
The D-Backs added a pair of veteran bats in Evan Longoria and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Longoria tallied 14 long balls in 89 games with the San Francisco Giants, and Gurriel hit .291 with 32 two-baggers last season for the Toronto Blue Jays.
RBI is literally in his name. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/vWNEzosuiu
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 20, 2023
Staff ace Zac Gallen headlines a starting rotation with significant question marks. The right-hander posted a 12-4 card with a 2.54 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 2022. Merrill Kelly notched 13 wins with a 3.37 ERA and struck out a career-high 177 batters.
Former second-rounder Ryne Nelson registered a 1.47 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 18.1 innings over three starts a year ago. Veterans Madison Bumgarner (7-15, 4.88) and Zach Davies (2-5, 4.09) will round out the pitching rotation.
Arizona made significant progress last season after a disastrous 2021 campaign but has serious pitching concerns with Bumgarner and Davies. The development of their youthful outfielders and revamped bullpen will determine if the Diamondbacks can reach .500 this season, but a playoff appearance is not in the cards.
The Colorado Rockies were the fourth-worst team on the senior circuit in 2022, and a lack of young talent has the outlook for this season even gloomier. The Rockies finished in the basement of the NL West and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
First baseman C.J. Cron blasted 29 home runs and collected a career-high 102 RBIs, while third baseman Ryan McMahon tallied 23 doubles and 20 homers. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon and second baseman Brendan Rogers belted 16 and 13 long balls, respectively.
Left fielder Kris Bryant hit .306 with five home runs in 42 games after signing a seven-year contract worth $182 million. Other notable hitters include center fielder Yonathan Daza and designated hitter Sean Bouchard.
Gabriel Hughes gets the start!
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) March 20, 2023
The starting rotation is mediocre at best and will be led by German Marquez, who posted a 9-13 record with a bloated 5.00 ERA last season. Southpaw Kyle Freeland went 9-11 with a 4.53 ERA, while Jose Urena sported a 3-8 card with an ugly 5.14 ERA.
Lefty Austin Gomber compiled a 5-7 mark with a 5.56 ERA, and Connor Seabold, acquired from the Boston Red Sox for cash, will form the back end of a woeful pitching corps. Closer Daniel Bard finished sixth a year ago with 34 saves.
The lack of offseason moves indicates that the Rockies are not prioritizing putting a credible product on the field this season, and it’s a genuine possibility that Colorado will contend for the worst record in baseball.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will not open the 2023 season as the NL West favorites for the first time in almost a decade. The powerhouse Dodgers won an eye-opening 111 games last season but were ousted by the San Diego Padres in the Division Series from the postseason.
Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts smacked 35 homers and 40 doubles last year, and first baseman Freddie Freeman batted .325 with 21 long balls, a team-high 47 doubles, and 100 RBIs in his first season with the Dodgers.
Catcher Will Smith went yard 24 times while driving home 87 runs, and third baseman Max Muncy tallied 21 home runs but posted a Mario Mendoza-like .196 batting mark. Los Angeles added free-agent sluggers J.D. Martinez and David Peralta but lost shortstop Gavin Lux to a season-ending knee injury.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 20, 2023
A pair of left-handed hurlers, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias, will pace a solid but not great starting rotation. Kershaw went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA over 126.1 innings, while Urias registered a 2.16 ERA and led the team in victories (17) and strikeouts (166).
Right-hander Tony Gonsolin posted a 16-1 record with a team-best 2.14 ERA. The Dodgers inked Noah Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94) to a one-year, $13 million deal and welcomed back hard-throwing Dustin May, who was limited to just six games in 2022.
Los Angeles has won the division title in nine of the last ten years and has qualified for the playoffs every year since 2013. But the San Diego Padres are the favorites to win the NL West this season, and the Dodgers will have to settle for a Wild Card spot.
San Diego Padres
The 2023 San Diego Padres appear poised to claim their first NL West title since 2006 with one of the most feared quartets of hitters in MLB history. The Padres finished second in the division last year and topped the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Championship Series.
Third baseman Manny Machado put together an MVP-type season with a .298 batting average, 32 home runs, and 102 RBIs. Outfielder Juan Soto clubbed 27 long balls, and the Padres signed free-agent shortstop, who hit .307 with 15 dingers and 73 RBIs in his final campaign with the Boston Red Sox.
Right fielder Fernando Tatis smashed 42 homers in 2021 and is eligible to return from last year’s suspension in April. Other notable hitters include first baseman Jake Cronenworth and free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz.
This season, it’s time to bring the passion, bring the noise.
Bring The Gold. pic.twitter.com/2a5ETVilBx
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 3, 2023
Right-hander Yu Darvish signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension during the offseason after posting a 16–8 record and 3.10 ERA with 197 strikeouts last season. Joe Musgrove went 10-7 with a 2.93 ERA and fanned 184 batters, while lefty Blake Snell compiled an 8-10 record with a 3.38 ERA and 171 strikeouts.
The Padres added free-agent hurler Michael Wacha, who finished with an 11-2 record and a 3.32 ERA in 2022. Right-handers Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo will battle for the final rotation spot, and four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader headlines a solid bullpen.
San Diego has emerged as a legitimate World Series contender this season after a remarkable 2022 campaign and should be even better this season. The Padres have the talent to be one of the top offensive units in league history and possess an above-average pitching staff.
San Francisco Giants
The 2022 San Francisco Giants won 26 fewer games than the previous season and missed out on top-tier free agents Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa over the winter. The Giants finished third in the division last year and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
Outfielder Joc Pederson was re-signed to a one-year, $19.65 million deal after batting .274 with 23 homers and 270 RBIs. Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski led the team with 31 doubles while adding 17 long balls, and second baseman tallied 14 home runs and swiped a team-best 21 bases.
The Giants inked a pair of free-agent outfielders, Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto. Haniger was limited to 57 games last season but still hit 11 home runs, while Conforto smashed 14 dingers. Other notable hitters include David Villar and LaMonte Wade, Jr.
Got ‘er done pic.twitter.com/o5VdTmdjcc
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2023
Right-hander Logan Webb headlines a solid pitching rotation and went 15-9 with a 2.90 ERA and 163 strikeouts last season. Alex Cobb compiled a 7-8 record with a 3.73 ERA, and southpaw Alex Wood posted an 8-12 card with a 5.10 ERA.
The Giants added free-agent pitchers Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling. Manaea went 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA, while Stripling went 10-4 with a 3.01 ERA. Closer Camilo Doval recorded 27 saves a year ago with a 2.53 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 67.2 innings. San Francisco has a solid team that should improve on last year’s .500 record. However, the Giants will struggle against the Dodgers and Padres’ hard-hitting lineups.
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