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A lot can change in the offseason for teams. Last year, the best team in baseball was the Dodgers. The Padres had a ton of potential and finally made the playoffs – they continue to spend money and get more talent. The NL West might be a two-team race right now, but the other teams at least have the potential to steal the division. Let’s take a look.
I’ll start here with the Rockies, the one team I think won’t have any chance to win the division. Last season, the Rockies were 68-94. They, as they have been, do perform better at home and were over .500 (41-40) at Coors Field. They made a splash last year signing Kris Bryant but he barely played for them. Their problem is they have no pitching. They will not win the division. Do not waste your money.
The other two teams in the division with the potential to steal it are the Giants and the Diamondbacks. Let’s start with the Giants. Two years ago, San Francisco made the playoffs, last year they were just .500 and didn’t really have a chance to make the playoffs. They lost their best starting pitcher, Carlos Rodon, and didn’t really replace him with anyone overly talented. Logan Webb had a nice season last year and could have a nice season this year too. They need to rely on their starting pitching if they have any potential to make a run at the division. Their hitting doesn’t really leave any sort of fear in opponents, but they have the potential to be a contact-hitting team. If they work together, they could make a run. I’m not advocating to put money on them, but I think if things go right for them, they could have a shot at the division.
The Diamondbacks are a team I actually like more than the Giants. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are both very talented pitchers. If they can repeat their performances from last season, the Diamondbacks should finish no lower than third in the division. Madison Bumgarner is a bit past his prime, but he still can turn in good performances. They didn’t make too many big additions to their lineup, but I like the people they have like Ketel Marte, Evan Longoria (another guy past his prime) and then Corbin Carroll. Again, I’m not saying it will happen, but +5000 is a good value on a team that should improve from last year.
Now, the two teams that are going to compete for the division this year: The Dodgers and the Padres. The Dodgers are not a team I’m backing. Clayton Kershaw was great years ago, now you’re not getting 30 starts out of him. Julio Urias is very good, Tony Gonsolin has been great, even Dustin May has been very good. They added Noah Syndergaard as someone to mop up innings, but he isn’t the Syndergaard he once was. He was good in Los Angeles for the Angeles last year, but only in the home starts. The lineup still has plenty of pop and they added J.D. Martinez, but they lost Trea Turner and Justin Turner. I don’t think they should be favored. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good team, but I think they are more likely to win a Wild Card than the division.
The Padres are the team that I think has the best chance to win the division at +120. They finally made the playoffs last year and played fairly well. The pitching staff is solid for the first three pitchers, the other two, Michael Wacha and Nick Martinez, bring a lot of question marks. If Josh Hader can be the old Hader, the Padres bullpen will be in much better condition. The big news here is that Xander Bogaerts came over from the Red Sox. The Paders lineup might be the best in all of baseball with Manny Machado, Bogaerts, Juan Soto, and eventually Fernando Tatis Jr. He’s eligible to return on April 20th, as long as there are no more setbacks. I think this is their year and they should be the favorites. I’ll happily take them at +120.
I expect the division to end Padres, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies. There is a +190 straight forecast for Padres/Dodgers 1st and 2nd finish. You could take that and the Dodgers/Padres at +140 and ensure you get some profit as long as those are the top two.
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