Today, I will talk about a division that is usually a two team race for the National League West crown, which consist of the Giants and Dodgers, but this year one team in that division will could come up top and that team could be the Arizona Diamondbacks. First off, it is a even year and that usually means for baseball that the Giants will win the World Series. I think that trend will end, but you never know, that is why they play the game. The Giants are a balanced team with good pitching and a veteran bullpen that should lead the team to the top. Next, the Dodgers will take a step back in the standings with the loss of Zack Greinke and the improvement of other teams within their division. They replaced Greinke with Kazmir and that is not going to help. Also, Kazmir is having trouble with his fastball velocity like he did when he was with the Angels. Now, The Diamondbacks made some big bold moves by signing Greinke, Clippard and making trades for Shelby Miller and Jean Segura, which they are hoping that pan out. The Padres took a step back in their aggressive hunt for players in Preller’s second year of being the general manager, which in the first year they went on a spending and trading spree. Lastly, the Rockies are looking like the bottom dwellers, but they need to continue to develop players, which will lead them in a good direction for a successful future.
In addition, the Diamondbacks are leaning heavily on Zack Greinke and he would be everyone’s pick to lookout for, but for me it is the comeback of Patrick Corbin, who did pitch in 2015. Remember, he missed all of the 2014 from Tommy John surgery and some of 2015 recovering from that surgery. He pitched well in the 16 starts he was awarded from Chip Hale. In those 16 starts, he recorded a win-lose record of 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 85 innings of work. Now, his strikeouts (78) were up, which is interesting due to the fact he was trying to find his 2013 form. The 26-year-old southpaw will be a critical piece to the Diamondbacks’ 2016 season and will be joining Greinke and Miller at the top of the rotation.
Secondly, the Giants added some new faces like Denard Span, Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto. These three pieces will have a big impact to the Giants’ 2016 campaign. All three are possible candidates to be the major factor in making a run to the World Series. The guy that will set the Giants apart from everyone else in the division will be the resurgence of Matt Cain. Cain has produced at a poor level that happened in the 2013 season and ended up hurt from most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. This all appeared after he received that lucrative deal (five-years, $127.5 mil) that he signed after the 2012 season. They will need him to pitch at a decent rate near the end of the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Giants’ rival, the Dodgers, will look to compete and come near the top again, but not replacing Greinke hurts. They will need Kenta Maeda to pitch a lot more innings than expected. They lost Brett Anderson to back surgery (3-5 months), Brandon McCarthy recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he won’t be back till the around the All-Star break or trade deadline, Bolsinger will miss the first week or two with an oblique problem, and Ryu will be ready at the start of the month of May (recovering). The Dodgers are banged up and Opening Day is right around the corner. Maeda will have to step in a tough situation, but that is why they are paying him the big bucks. He will join Kershaw, Kazmir, and Wood as the only four healthy starters listed to be in the rotation.
Furthermore, the Padres traded closer Craig Kimbrel and will enter the season with Fernando Rodney as their closer. Rodney had a tough 2015 season as he expects to bounce back with the Padres. Rodney finished the 2015 season with a disappointing 4.74 ERA in 68 games (62.2 innings) and only recording 16 saves. He usually has a good bounce back year after a lost season like that one. The Padres will rely on him heavily to close out ball games as expected. Other notable players could include new outfielder Jon Jay or southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
Finally, the Rockies have a young team in a pitching perspective with Gray, Lyles, Bettis, and Chatwood. Now, the one player that will give them the best chance to win will be Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a special baseball player with all the tools to be successful, which he has been, but one thing always hampers him is the fact to stay healthy for the whole season or most of the season. Now, last year he did by playing in 153 games (career high), which is the most since the 2010 season (145 games). He produced at a high level last season by producing a batting average of .271 with a career high in 40 home runs that had a part in collecting 97 RBIs. Lastly, he has to stay healthy and have to produce the same production in 2015, but needs more help from his teammates to achieve their goal of winning this division.