Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers have won the NL West over the past two seasons, but have pressure to take the next step and win the World Series. Andrew Freidman, general manager, made many moves this offseason and they will potentially start four new players on opening day. Last season, the Dodgers ranked as the 6th best offensive team in the league and should repeat their performance because Puig is an MVP candidate, Joc Pederson is a top prospect, and Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent players over the past decade. The Dodgers have the best 1-2 punch in the league with Greinke and Kershaw. Outside of their aces, the Dodgers may miss the playoffs if Ryu, McCarthy, and Anderson cannot pitch at least 150 innings.
San Diego Padres:
The Padres were the most active team in free agency this offseason, but it is unknown if that will translate into victories. AJ Peller was able to improve his chances by acquiring powerful bats Derek Norris, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers. Although they may boast one of the best outfields in the league, the infield has many flaws and have yet to show an ability to hit at the major league level. As usual, the Padres will have one of the best pitching staffs in the National League due to the depth in their rotation. One through four the Pads have a formidable staff with James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy. In addition, every starter will be assisted by capacious Petco Park.
San Francisco Giants:
The defending champions are doomed to fail this season. Over the past 5 years, every odd year has been an unfulfilling year while the even years have been championships. On offense, the Giants may have loss their best bat when Pablo Sandoval signed with the Red Sox over the summer. On offense, the lineup will be in trouble without Sandoval and should rank in the bottom half of the league in runs scored. The pitching staff will have to answer many questions after Madison Bumgarner and Tim Hudson because Matt Cain needs to prove that he is healthy, Tiny Tim may be finished, and Jake Peavey has injury concerns.
The Diamondbacks are currently in rebuilding mode and hope that their young players will show progress even if they cannot win many games. Along with MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks heavily invested in Tomas and are hoping big things from Mark Trumbo. Like the offense, the pitching staff does not have much talent without a legitimate ace or a number two starter. The Diamondbacks may promote top prospect Archie Bradley, which should inspire fans.
The Rockies’ offense will be as successful as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The duo is one of the best in the league and can carry an entire offense for months. In addition, the emergence of Nick Arenado, Justin Morneau, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon has provided protection for Tulo and Cargo. Like many of the past Rockies’ teams, this team has no pitching. Although the Rockies may call up top prospect Jon Gray, who has the potential to be a top ten pitcher, the Rockies only have middle to the bottom of the order pitchers. Although the offense may be exciting, this team will not win more than 75 games without quality pitching.