Our 6th stop on the Spring Training trail takes us back to Glendale to have a better guessing for the MLB picks. AZ for our final peek at the Dodgers and first look for baseball futures of the Rockies.
The Dodgers are once again in the mix for both the division, National League and World Series, but have different manager in Dave Roberts to lead them, even if they do not appear to be as strong as the last couple years, especially when it comes to starting pitching.
Colorado gives off the scent of another NL team that is tanking with the hopes of getting better sometime soon. Problem is the Rockies have been in this perpetual mode for awhile. It more seems the Rockies have no idea about how to improve, rather than getting worst to improve later.
Here are the prospects for both clubs against the MLB odds boards.
Colorado Odds - NL West 5th (+1000) - Win Total O/U 71.5
In the last five years, Colorado has finished below .500 each time winning anywhere from 64 to 74 games. In other words, not even close to sniffing break even. There is a very good chance that will be the case again in 2016.
While Troy Tulowitzki might have been the face of the franchise, he was also strangling it, with a massive contract in which his production was limited annually by injury. Granted, he did not make them sign the long term deal, but it was time for Colorado to move on.
The new poster boy is Nolan Arennado and he seems to be just getting started at 24 as five-tool player. Joining him are other pieces like outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, along with DJ LeMahieu at second base. As long as Carlos Gonzalez swings the bat with authority, he remains an asset.
With the first three division spots likely spoken for, what kind of years young pitchers Chad Bettis, Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles have will decide the Rocks fate.
Because we will see Colorado one more time this spring, we will hold off on final assessment.
Dodgers Odds - NL West 2nd (+150) - NL T-5th (+800) - World Series T-7th (+1500) - Win Total O/U 89.5
From a talent perspective, what Los Angeles can trot every day on the lineup card looks rather strong. They are covered on the corners at the infield positions with Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner. Up the middle, Howie Kendrick has a reliable bat and glove and rookie Corey Seager looks like a star in the making with good range at shortstop and smooth stroke which will turn into power as his career moves forward.
The outfield has ability if not continuity with Andre Either, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Scott Van Slyke. For the Dodgers to move up scoring wise, Puig has to be mentally prepared to play daily and Peterson has to make more contact and be selective. Neither of those points are givens.
The larger concern is starting pitching after Clayton Kershaw, both during the regular season and to overcome postseason busts. Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood are pretty much who most scouts think they are and Kenta Maeda fits in L.A. as a middle of the rotation guy. Is this really enough to beat San Francisco and win the National League?
Unless a deal is made for more starting pitching, hard to pick the Dodgers for MLB picks for anything and betting Under on win total is not a bad choice.
Yasiel Puig showed a stick and leather. Puig nailed his first home of the spring off the Rockies Bettis and followed that up with a super diving catch to rob to Blackmon of a hit.
Andre Either might have been the most surprised guy in the Camelback ballpark to find his name at the top of the lineup card. He had a hit and later said he did not recall ever batting leadoff. With Brett Anderson gone for months with injury, Zach Lee is in contention for No.5 spot in rotation and he gave up three hits and one run over three innings of work. Arenado had two hits and there no third basemen in baseball who is as confident than he is. He knows how great a fielder he is.