Cactus League Coverage News on the Giants, Rockies, Royals and Diamondbacks

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 8:03 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018 8:03 PM UTC

Our Cactus League coverage presses on all around the Valley of the Sun, taking a look at four more teams in person and offering opinions on what we knew and what we are seeing.

Listed below are projections and MLB odds for each team for divisions, the league they play in, World Series considerations if applicable and season win totals from 5Dimes. Let's get to it.

San Francisco Giants (2nd in NL West, 5th-best NL odds and 12th for World Series) O/U 83

After being among best teams in baseball the last 10 years, San Francisco plummeted like an anvil and went from 87 wins in 2016 to 64 last season. The Giants were 29th or 30th in baseball in slugging, on-base percentage runs, home runs, and OPS. This was a boring team that still had several players from its three World Series earlier this decade, but San Fran needed an infusion. While the Giants added Evan Longoria and Lawrence McCutcheon for some much-needed power, this is a team that needs base-runners also. Beyond Madison Bumgarner, the starting staff has 50-50 feel about it and this is not the kind of bullpen manager Bruce Boche used to have. Falling 23 games is improbable fall and making that up the next year seems the same. Lean Under.

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Arizona D-Backs (3rd in NL West, 7th-best NL odds and 9th for World Series) O/U 85

As bad as the Giants were, Arizona was that good in winning 93 games and making the NL semifinals. But making 24-game improvements usually comes at price and oddsmakers have the D-Backs eight games lower for the season. The Snakes will miss J.D Martinez's 29 bombs in only 62 games and while closer Fernando Rodney cannot pitch forever, replacing is 86.6 save percentage is not guaranteed. Not sure the offense will be quite as strong (12th) in runs scored, as they have three positions in the field without much pop. Arizona recorded their lowest-ever team ERA last year (3.67) and the pieces are in place for at least be around 4.00 or better this season. If the offense can repeat, the OVER is quite possible for MLB picks.

Colorado Rockies (4th in NL West, 9th-best NL odds) O/U 81

Colorado had a sensational start, tired late in the season but at least made the playoffs and won 87 games. Manager Bud Black massaged a very young starting staff a year ago. If Black can get a full season of production out of ace Jon Gray, that might cover up a few holes in other starters. Credit GM Jeff Bridich for being on the ball by remaking the back end of the bullpen with Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee. With the other pensters, this will ease the pressure on starting pitchers. It is a given the Rockies will score and if Ian Desmond rebounds from an injury-plagued season and Trevor Story can reduce strikeouts and make more contact, this team could be a Wild Card team again. Bet Over.

Kansas City Royals (4th in AL Central, 14th-best AL odds) O/U 70

After decades of mediocrity and waiting a long time for the farm system to finally produce, Kansas City went to back-to-back World Series, won one and is back where they started this decade, a really crummy team. Salvador Perez is the most useful name left in the field and Jorge Bonifacio looked like a keeper, until 80-game ban for PED's. For pitchers, it's Danny Duffy and Jakob Junis and a whole bunch of warm bodies with major league experience. Having Mike Moustakas back and OF John Jay is a positive, but how much? Maybe the Royals go Over, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Cactus League Observations - The Royals Jakob Junis could not have delivered a better outing, with four scoreless innings, no hits allowed, striking out seven and walking none against San Diego this week. If John Jay can start three days a week (not more), he will help Kansas City....Sam Dyson is supposed to be Giants closer and he was lit up for four runs and did not work a full inning and now has an ERA over 12. Liked everything I saw about San Fran's No.5 prospect, OF Steven Duggar....Nothing much to note about the Snakes and Rocks game won by Colorado 4-2. A number of everyday players were in action, but the best part was Chad Bettis starting from the Rockies, as he's battled cancer and is back.

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