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In a year that finally saw the Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series after falling just short two of the three years previous, they weren’t even the biggest story in their own division. The San Diego Padres, despite losing to Los Angeles in the second round of the playoffs, made more noise and made the season theirs, all without hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.
With all that said, the rest of the west has a future but may not be ready for prime time just yet. That doesn’t mean they can’t prove people wrong, though. Again, San Diego surprised everybody last year and one the other three teams could do again this year.
So how will it shake out? Let’s take a look.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2020 Record: 43-17
When Los Angeles landed outfielder Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, they knew what they were building towards. Even after winning one World Series, and losing pieces like utility player Enrique Hernandez, outfielder Joc Pederson and pitcher Jake McGee, they still are sitting extremely pretty and should be considered the favorites for this division. After signing pitcher Trevor Bauer and getting David Price back after opting out of the season, Los Angeles just looks even scarier now.
The only two things that could do Los Angeles in are a World Series hangover or injuries. If Los Angeles topples, then it may be the upset of the year.
Over/Under Wins: 102
San Diego Padres
2020 Record: 37-23
San Diego started their turnaround a couple of years ago by signing third baseman Manny Machado. Ever since, they added pieces like outfielders Tommy Pham and Wil Myers, all the while developing shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to become the star he’s known as now. Now this offseason, they completely redid their starting rotation, adding starting pitchers Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, to go with Mike Clevinger.
San Diego’s biggest issue going into this season will ultimately be how some of the role players develop. While the bigger names are good, players like second baseman Jake Cronenworth and catcher Austin Nola have something to show. Even center fielder Trent Grishham, who looked good last year, may have to show more before stock can really be put into him.
Over/Under Wins: 92
San Francisco Giants
2020 Record: 29-31
San Francisco is a team that’s stuck between rebuild and reload. They have veteran talent that could make the season interesting, however they also have young talent that could use some cultivating. While names like outfielders Mike Yastrzemski, shortstop Brandon Crawford and catcher Buster Posey can still make fans pop, young guns like outfielder Mauricio Dubon and pitcher Logan Webb need some grooming.
This could be a bumpy year for San Francisco, and they should be looking more for strides towards the future, rather than towards October. With how good Los Angeles and San Diego are, they should to continue to build their young guys. They’re not a bad team: they’re okay, but they’re in a rough spot.
Over/Under Wins: 77
2020 Record: 25-35
Manager Torey Lovullo has largely underwhelmed since leaving Boston for Arizona. After making the playoffs in his first season with the team, they’ve missed the playoffs the last three seasons, and some even believe he’ll be the first manager fired this season. All that said though, he’s also been given a hard task: put together a winning line-up with players that could ultimately be shipped out during or after the season.
Arizona has some quality young talent including utility player Ketel Marte, shortstop Nick Ahmed, and catcher Carson Kelly. They’ve also got some interesting veterans including third baseman Eduardo Escobar and outfielders Kole Calhoun and David Peralta. If Lovullo can work with this line up and put them in a better situation going forward, then they may be scarier than anticipated.
Over/Under Wins: 75
2020 Record: 26-34
The Colorado Rockies have a good pitching staff (German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Jon Gray), and two big hitters (shortstop Trevor Story and right fielder Charlie Blackmon). What they don’t have, is basically everything else. Most of their line-up are in their 20’s, and still developing.
They’re in a good time to develop their younger players. However, how they got into this situation is what is concerning. Trading third baseman Nolan Arenado because of unhappiness with the direction may be a red flag, especially with Story and Blackmon. If it gets to the point that players want out because of lack of progress, than this team is doomed. It’s going to be a long, long year for Colorado, but if they don’t see any progress with their younger players, they’ll be in for murkier water.
Over/Under Wins: 63