2020 MLB Season Preview: N.L. West
With a delayed 2020 MLB Opening Day just moments away, we have taken a look at each division, spotlighting each team and their key offseason moves. We’ve discussed the outlook for 25 clubs heading into the season, including team MVP, Cy Young and Impact Rookie to watch.
Today, we wrap up this blog series with the National League West Division.
Let's first peek at last season's final standings in the division:
2019 Regular Season - NL West
W-L Pct. GB
LA Dodgers 106-56 .654 --
Arizona 85-77 .525 21.0
San Francisco 77-85 .475 29.0
Colorado 71-91 .438 35.0
San Diego 70-92 .432 36.0
SP Madison Bumgarner, RF Kole Calhoun, RP Hector Rondon, C Stephen Vogt,
RP Junior Guerra, OF Starling Marte
2B Wilmer Flores, C Alex Avila, SP Taijuan Walker, CF Jarrod Dyson,
RF Steven Souza, OF Adam Jones
The Diamondbacks had a good 2019, but clearly were not satisfied finishing 21 games behind the Dodgers. They added tough ballplayers this offseason, adding Bumgarner to the rotation, Calhoun and Marte to the outfield, and Vogt as a backup catcher. Bumgarner is only 29 with a great resumé and a lot left in the tank. Marte is only 30 and coming off his best season as a pro, and Calhoun is one of the old school gamer types that every fan base loves to root for. The moves won’t be enough to take over the Dodgers for the top spot in the West, but they could compete for a wild card position in 2020. Should they reach the playoffs, it would be their second post season appearance since 2012, with their most recent appearance coming in 2017 as a Wild Card team.
2020 Team MVP: 2B Ketel Marte
2020 Team Cy Young: SP Madison Bumgarner
2020 Rookie Watch: SP Jon Duplantier
RP Tyler Kinley
RP Jake McGee
The 2019 Rockies had 91 losses, finished 35 games out of first place and did absolutely nothing this offseason to change their trajectory heading into 2020. The fans have to wonder what the goal of the front office may actually be. They extended Nolan Arenado heading into 2019, giving the star third baseman an eight-year deal, then spent time at the trade deadline fielding offers for the star. There’s not a lot to be excited about after Arenado, leading one to understand they might shop him considering the package of players and prospects they could get in return. Charlie Blackmon is a good player and the fans love him, but his home/road splits show polar opposite production. In 2019 he had a slash line (AVG/HR/RBI) of .379/22/51 in 66 home games and .256/10/35 in 74 road games. David Dahl has five-tool potential, but has yet to stay healthy enough to live up to the hype while never playing in more than 100 games in his four-year career. The rotation could be the worst in all of baseball in 2020. John Gray (3.76) is the only starting pitcher who had an ERA under 4.50. German Marquez finished with a 4.76 ERA and the other three projected starters, Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeman and Jeff Hoffman had a 6.71, 6.73 and 6.56 ERA, respectively, across 62 combined starts. As a staff in 2019, the Rockies came together (or fell apart) for a 5.56 ERA, good enough for 29th in the league.
2020 Team MVP: 3B Nolan Arenado
2020 Team Cy Young: SP John Gray
2020 Rookie Watch: MI Brendan Rodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers
RF Mookie Betts, SP David Price, RP Brusdar Graterol, RP Jimmy Nelson,
SP Alex Wood, RP Blake Treinen
OF Alex Verdugo, SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP Rich Hill, SP Kenta Maeda, RP Yimi Garcia,
C Russell Martin
The Dodgers led all of MLB in ERA and WHIP in 2019 as a staff, and led the National League in runs scored and home runs on offense. This led to the second-best record and run differential in baseball...and a first round exit at the hands of the World Series champion Nationals, the fourth straight year the Dodgers have lost to that season's World Series champs. The lineup is deeper than 2019 and the rotation is still excellent with Clayton Kershaw and Waker Buehler leading the way. The Dodgers improved their bullpen as well, bringing in Treinen and Graterol. As a fan of any team, you can only ask that your front office put together a competitor each year; a team that plays well and gives the franchise a shot at the title. The Dodgers front office has done just that, with incredible consistency. They’re annual postseason players and also boast a top-three farm system, according to MLB.com. The Dodgers won their seventh straight NL West title last year and are the easy pick to repeat. In fact, they’re the easy pick to represent the N.L. in the 2020 World Series. However, they’re getting dangerously close to the Braves teams of the 90’s and early 2000’s (Atlanta won 14 straight division titles with just one World Series trophy), and the monkey on the collective backs of Dodgers players is starting to look more like a gorilla. For future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw, it probably feels more like King Kong, as he’s taken the brunt of the criticism for his October struggles. Adding Betts to this roster gives the fan base hope that 2020 could be the year the drought ends, and a sustainable success that could stick around for years to come.
2020 Team MVP: RF Mookie Betts, CF Cody Bellinger
2020 Team Cy Young: SP Walker Buehler
2020 Rookie Watch: 2B Gavin Lux
San Diego Padres
RP Drew Pomeranz, OF Tommy Pham, RP Emilio Pagan, P Zach Davies,
2B Jurickson Profar
OF Hunter Renfroe, OF Manuel Margot, 2B Ian Kinsler
The Padres have done well to build a team on the rise. They field some of baseball's top young talent in Fernando Tatis, Francisco Mejia and pitcher Chris Paddack. Adding veterans Pham, Profar and Davies to the roster that includes Manny Machado, Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Garrett Richards should help this team to be competitive sooner rather than later. They entered 2019 with a lot of hype and high expectations, only to finish in the N.L. West cellar. That won’t be the case in 2020. This team is trending up and with plenty of prospects in their farm system which ranks second in baseball, they should continue that upward swing. Pitcher Mackenzie Gore and outfielder Taylor Trammell could both make their way onto the 2020 roster, with pitchers Luis Patino, Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez not far behind them. This team could be battling for Wild Card positioning in 2020 and postseason play for the foreseeable future.
2020 Team MVP: SS Fernando Tatis
2020 Team Cy Young: SP Chris Paddack
2020 Rookie Watch: OF Taylor Trammell
San Francisco Giants
SP Kevin Gausman, 2B Wilmer Flores, RF Hunter Pence, SP Drew Smyly,
IF Zack Cozart, CF Billy Hamilton
SP Madison Bumgarner, RP Will Smith, CF Kevin Pillar, C Stephen Vogt
One of the great front office blunders of recent years has to be the Giants organization giving pitchers Jeff Samardzija (five years/$90 million) and Johnny Cueto (six years/$130 million) big contracts, but failing to keep one of the franchise's and baseball's all-time greats, Bumgarner, in house. He signed with the division-rival Diamondbacks for a measly five years and $85 million, breaking up one of the greatest batteries of all time. I say measly only due to the fact that the Giants didn’t beat that contract, which is smaller than the deals both Samardzija and Cueto signed. The other half of that battery, catcher Buster Posey, has opted out of the 2020 season, further damaging any hopes of a winning season for San Francisco. Top prospect Joey Bart could get a long look in 2020, potentially filling Posey’s shoes behind the plate. This franchise is moving further away from the glory years when they won three titles in five years, but with a solid draft in 2019 replenishing the farm system (ranked tenth by MLB.com) they could be on their way to turning the ship around in The Bay.
2020 Team MVP: SS Brandon Crawford
2020 Team Cy Young: SP Jeff Samardzija
2020 Rookie Watch: C Joey Bart
Let's take a look at our predictions for the 2020 season:
2020 Regular Season Predictions - NL West
LA Dodgers 40-20 --
Arizona 32-28 8.0
San Diego 30-30 10.0
Colorado 26-34 14.0
San Francisco 25-35 15.0