Opening Day: Updated NL West Preview, Odds, and Outrageous Take.

Springtime is here and that means … return of MLB baseball!  Here’s a quick updated preview, prediction, odds and outrageous take for the NL West this season, which should be a very top heavy division this year.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers:  Dodgers are odds on favorite to win the NL West yet again.  Vegas Insider had them listed at 5/1 to win the pennant, now it’s 4/1.  The lineup is set to rake again with just the infield alone (Turner, Seager, Forsythe, Gonzalez, Grandal) enough to damage pitcher’s ERA’s all season long.  The bullpen is stable with Jansen on the back end.  The starting pitching is a question mark behind Kershaw, with pitchers with histories of arm problems and bouts of ineffectiveness. To improve upon that, the Dodgers have a top ten farm system with pitchers like Yadier Alvarez and Jose De Leon in the pipeline. Prediction: It was 96 win 66 losses (Division winner), now it’s 97 wins and 65 losses.  Outrageous take: Sonny Gray will help lead the Dodgers to the NL Pennant.
  2. San Francisco Giants:  As long as you have Posey and Bumgarner, this is a team looking to win championships.  The rotation is strong behind Bumgarner with Cueto, Moore, Samardzija.  Either Tyler Beede will come up or Ty Blach will push Matt Cain out of the rotation.  The bullpen, beside Melancon, is flat out terrible (especially now with lefty Will Smith out for the season) and will cost the Giants a trip to the post-season this year.  Pence, Span will anchor right field and center, both looked like they were declining last season. Vegas Insider still has them at 6/1 for the pennant mostly due to the rotation and stable infield. Prediction: was a Wildcard spot, but spotty outfield and ‘pen drops it to 86 wins 76 losses.  Outrageous take:  Madison Babe-garner plays LF on his off-days.
  3. Colorado Rockies:  Vegas Insider had them at 30/1 and now it’s 25-1, I like them a lot better than that especially with their strong farm system and overall lineup.  Cargo, Blackmon, Arenado, Desmond (when he returns), and DJ LeMahieu is enough offense to contend in any division. The big question mark, as it is yearly in Denver, is the starting pitching.  A young group of pitchers led by Jon Gray will need to mature fast to contend with LA and SF. The bullpen is looking for a Holland comeback, which is asking a lot. Prediction: It was 83 wins 79 losses, it’s now 85 wins 77 losses.  Outrageous take: Bud Black NL Manager of the Year.
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks:  When you read the names: Greinke, Corbin, Miller, and Ray, one would think the D’backs rotation is a strong suit, but it wasn’t last season.  The fans in the desert are looking for the rotation to get on track, but the bullpen is very suspect across the board. The lineup isn’t spectacular behind Goldshmidt, Lamb, and Tomas.  Arizona is considered by some to be a sleeper pick, but it won’t be.  Too many holes in the bullpen, lineup, and not a lot of high level prospects in the minors.  Prediction: 69 wins 93 losses (Vegas Insider still has them 60/1 for the NL pennant).  Outrageous take:  Yasmani Tomas in the running for NL MVP.
  5. San Diego Padres:  In one way they’re in better shape than the D’backs because they have young prospects, yet underline the word young.  This team is going to be brutal this season. The known quantity in the lineup is Wil Myers, who’s become a star. Every part of the Padres (rotation, bullpen, lineup, defense) is predicted to be sub-par.  The Christian Bethancourt two-way playing will get some fans excited, but he may just end up sub-par in every position. Vegas Insider had them initially at 60/1, but I expected way worse because the young minor league talent will not help this season (Vegas Insider, at opening day, has now dropped them to 250/1!). Prediction: it was 61 wins 101 losses, but now it’s 59 wins 103 losses.  Outrageous take:  Padre fans, after a string of losses, beg team to move to LA with the Chargers.
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