2017 MLB National League West Preview
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Favorite: Los Angeles Dodgers (-250)
The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw which assures them of at least around 15 wins provided that the lefty ace is going to be healthy all season long. The club is aiming a fifth consecutive NL West championship and that happening isn’t of course entirely dependent on how well Kershaw’s body will hold up or how great he’ll be on the mound.
The Dodgers have talent up and down the roster. Corey Seager is coming off an NL Rookie of the Year campaign and he should just get better moving forward. Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Rich Hill are all also back to help the Dodgers make another deep postseason run a year after losing to the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. Veteran Carlos Gonzalez is still there to lend power and the addition of Logan Forsythe gives the team further depth. The Dodgers are primed to win the division again.
The fate of the Giants don’t hinge on what year it is. We should know that because their even-year trend of winning the World Series stopped in 2016. So what now for the Giants? The front office acknowledged and addressed perhaps the team’s biggest hole last year by signing closer Mark Melancon over the offseason. Melancon is a tremendous addition to the Giants’ horrid bullpen that thirsted for an elite closer in 2016. With Melancon securing ninth innings, the Giants could translate that to more wins when Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto are on the mound.
Colorado, on the other hand, is going to rely on offense like it has always been for the team. The Rockies are a dinger-happy club that had five players launching at least 20 home runs last season and all those guys remain on the roster, including the pair of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, who had 41 and 29 homers, respectively, last year. But if the Rockies are to make a run for at least the division title, their pitching staff has to stop getting murdered. The Rockies were 27th in the majors last season in ERA and 29th in WHIP.
Long shot: San Diego Padres (+6,600)
Don’t get your hopes up for San Diego. The Padres are coming off a 68-94 2016 campaign and haven’t done enough moves in the offseason to inspire confidence.
The Padres are on a rebuild, as evidenced by the young players on the squad. They shipped Derek Norris to Washington in exchange for pitcher prospect Pedro Avila. They signed pitchers Clayton Richard, Trevor Cahill, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jered Weaver and also added veteran shortstop Erick Aybar, transactions that really don’t point to a World Series path. Safe to say the Padres are going to struggle mightily this season. They are projected by Fangraphs to go 66-96 this 2017.
The Dodgers win the division again with the Giants going second. The Padres bury themselves in last place.
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