With the 2017 season fast approaching and Opening Day right around the corner it is time to see how the teams are shaping up in the Dodger’s division to challenge them for a 5th consecutive title.
5th: San Diego Padres (66-96)
There is nothing to like about this roster once again in 2017 with the aftermath of them “winning the offseason” two years ago still in full effect. The club has gone and really done nothing in this year’s offseason, bringing in no one to help out their offense or defense, with the pitching looking like being the worst in the division for a 3rd consecutive year.
Having to come against the big hitting Dodgers and the Giants 19 times each, they shouldn’t be close to competing with them and should be a long way off. It could be a long year for Padres’ fans.
4th: Colorado Rockies (70-92)
The one thing that the Rockies will never be good at is pitching and this year is no different. Playing in a ballpark that is up in altitude means the ball will travel more and high scoring games are common, something that the club needs to deal with when signing pitchers.
Their “ace” is Jon Gray and with his career ERA at a measly 4.89, this is not the year to be a Rockies fan, maybe they can hope for some high scoring thrillers to keep them entertained because there is no way this club can win more than 73-74 games.
3rd: San Francisco Giants (82-80)
It’s an odd year, their team is falling apart, they’ve lost arguably their best reliever from the past 3 years, Sergio Romo and they haven’t pumped up their offense enough.
Mark Melancon was signed out of the Pirates who didn’t want him anymore and the Giants are hoping he can bring them to success with their bullpen being something of a worry last year but one player alone isn’t enough to help this. Mark is 21-19 with a 2.63 ERA, and saved 47 of 51 opportunities last year, one of the best strike rates in baseball.
The problem will be getting the game to him in the 9th after losing Romo. The Giants will need to rely on Blach, Srtickland and Kontos to get them there, after hopefully a lengthy outing from a starter. This is their only chance to win games.
The hitting is above average again for them with the likes of Posey, Belt and Pence leading the way in 2017 there is little to no bench depth and the speed has vanished from a couple years ago. The Giants may be the worst stealing team in all of baseball and will mainly rely on the long ball. This isn’t the best method back to a World Series and something they didn’t do well last year.
2nd: Arizona Diamonbacks (84-78)
Personally these Diamondbacks will be the biggest and most improved team in the MLB. The pitching is led by Greinke with Corbin and Bradley to back him up and with the new addition to the bullpen in Fernando Rodney, this team has bolstered itself to close out games.
The hitting still has A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt to help them out, Jeremy Hazelbaker should come out and improve out of sight this year too, giving them two starting outfielders every day to work off and build.
Chris Iannetta takes over behind the dish to add experience and valuable knowledge to the team and they should be pushing for over 81 wins this year, playing over .500 ball for the first time in a couple years.
1st: Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)
This is the best chance the Dodgers have had in a while to win the World Series with the team coming together, prospects like Joc Pederson and Julio Urias getting better every day and older guys like Gonzalez and Forsythe leading the team and pushing them every day.
Coming off last year’s disappointment in the NLCS, LA have gone out and got a new pitcher to help out in the ‘pen in Sergio Romo and a replacement at second base for the aging Chase Utley in Logan Forsythe. This move was to improve against lefties and help out the team win more games.
Corey Seager will be back better than ever in his 3rd year in the Majors, after winning Rookie of the Year last year and should be starting every day at shortstop and in his mind, should be hitting over .290 with solid power an RBI numbers.
Of course the Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw as their man to lead the way, and the biggest problem in the post season and down the stretch for most teams is depth, the Dodgers have this with 7 or 8 legitimate starters on their list for 2017,wainting to get their shot at a game and hold down one of the remaining 3 spots behind Kershaw and Maeda.
The question for LA is how far can they go and for me they can get as far as they want to, if they work as a team and use all their tools there could be no stopping this Dodgers’ team.