If, and when, the Boys of Summer return is unknown but eventually there will be ballgames, and below is our preview of the National League West.
Los Angeles Dodgers
(World Series Odds: +375)
If we check out the MLB odds over at BetOnline we see that the LA Dodgers are favored to win the 2020 World Series. Big Blue will try to atone for their stunning ALDS loss to the wild card Washington Nationals, the team that eventually became world champs. Certainly, all the pieces are in place including the recent arrival of the 2018 AL MVP, Mookie Betts. The Dodgers also got another arm in their rotation in the form of David Price when he and Betts were shipped from Boston in the trade that sent Alex Verdugo and a bag of balls to the Red Sox. LA won’t have any difficulty winning the NL West but they did suffer a few losses from last season’s roster when Hyun-jin Ryu took the money and ran north to Toronto while fellow hurler Kenta Maeda was shipped to Minnesota. Nevertheless, LA’s 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler is fearsome while their lineup is now even more formidable with Betts in the heart of it.
(World Series Odds: +6600)
The D-backs are the only team in the division that even remotely has a chance to dethrone the reigning kings from LA. Arizona was aggressive in the offseason as evidenced by the signings of outfielder Kole Calhoun, coming off a career-best 33 home runs, and former Giants’ starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Junior Guerra, Starling Marté, Héctor Rondón, and Stephen Vogt were also acquired in free agency which gives the Snakes enough venom to make them dangerous against any opponent this season, including the Dodgers. At odds of +6600, you might want to include Arizona in your MLB picks to win it all this season because they are a dark horse that could make noise in the postseason.
San Diego Padres
(World Series Odds: +5000)
The Padres traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Rays for outfielder Tommy Pham as well as an exchange of prospects. Pham will provide a leadership voice in the locker room, a threat on the basepaths, and will be a better hitter than
Renfroe in the lineup, only without as much power. Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado will provide the thunder in the thick of the order while 23-year-old Trent Grisham could be an intriguing player to watch this season after being acquired from the Brewers, along with pitcher Zach Davies, in a trade for Eric Lauer and infielder Luis Urias. San Diego’s pitching should be solid with Chris Paddack as the designated ace followed by Dinelson Lamet, Garrett Richards, Zach Davies, and southpaw Joey Lucchesi at the end of the rotation. However, I don’t see this team being nearly as formidable as the Diamondbacks yet their odds are lower. That’s a mystery to me but Padres’ fans should see a marked improvement from their cellar-dwelling performance in 2019.
San Francisco Giants
(World Series Odds: +15,000)
After watching Madison Bumgarner, Kevin Pillar and Stephen Vogt all depart via free agency it’s not surprising to note that the Giants are in a rebuilding phase and any illusions of them competing for anything other than the basement of the NL West is misplaced. San Francisco has little pop and no sizzle in their lineup which should make for an offense that’s, well, rather offensive. In terms of pitching the Giants will keep their fingers crossed that the anticipated ace of their staff, Johnny Cueto, will make a successful return after sitting out the vast majority of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. If Cueto fails to stay healthy it will be up to Jeff Samardzija to hold down the fort but after him, there is little depth in the rotation.
(World Series Odds: +15,000)
Rockies management must have been so smitten with their 71 wins from 2019 that they wanted to do it all over again. Only one free agent was signed, righty Jose Mujica who is returning after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but after that, there’s just not much to say. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon will mash this season as they did last and are the only reason to buy a ticket (if a ticket will even be allowed to be bought) to watch the Rockies lose. The pitching is weak and there is little depth. If pitching wins championships then the Rockies haven’t gotten the memo.