Letters of Intent
Young Eyes: The Playoff Speculation: NL West Edition
By Zach Swanson
Canadian Baseball Network
As the dust almost all but clears, the question shifts from who goes where to how will the teams turn out in the regular season. I look at the possible playoff teams, surprises and busts in this new six-part series.
The entire National League is set up to be very interesting to watch this year, but the NL West in particular. As much as I would initially lean towards the Los Angeles Dodgers’ killer pitching staff led by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks could all easily surprise and decide to play better than imagined.
The Giants will be looked to as to see if they will rebound after losing Pablo Sandoval, but with the return of Matt Cain helping the solid 1-2-3 starting staff made up of World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Cain and Ryan Vogelsong could spark another run for the Giants, although I don’t believe their depth to be enough.
Furthermore, the D-Backs are another interesting case, as they have added a few key pieces D-Backs Jeremy Hellickson as well as Cuban defectors Yoan Lopez and Yasmany Tomas which will compliment the return of Patrick Corbin and returning reign of possible-MVP Paul Goldschmidt, but they still have holes behind the plate and in the bullpen. Their starting pitching is solid, led by Lopez, Hellickson, Corbin, Bronson Arroyo and Rubby De La Rosa, and they are my sleeper team in the NL.
I don’t believe the Colorado Rockies will show up much because of their pitching (or lack there of). They have an extremely solid lineup, possibly better than the Dodgers and D-Backs, which is led by the likes of Corey Dickerson, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon, and their bullpen isn’t horrendous but their rotation is one of the worst.
Absolute: Dodgers, whether it’s division or wild card.
Surprise: D-Backs, they would by my choice for possible breakout team in the NL. Also, if the Rockies get some starters they could have a real shot.
Bust: Giants, as I don’t see much after Bumgarner, Posey, Cain and Pence.