2013 National League West Preview
1.San Francisco Giants– The defending world champions, the Giants boast one of the best rotations in all of baseball with Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Zito. Buster Posey most likely won’t repeat his NL MVP season (.336, 24HR, 103RBI), but the supporting cast is so strong around him, he won’t need to. Health permitting, the Giants are poised to be right in the thick of the NL pennant race again in 2013.
2.Los Angeles Dodgers– Kemp, Agone, Hanley, Ethier, Kershaw, and Greinke. The Dodgers aren’t hurting for talent by any means, but coming into 2013, they are hurting. Hanley is slated to miss the first month and a half of the season with a thumb injury,Greinke has had elbow issues all spring, Ethier is historically injury prone, and even Kemp has had trouble staying on the field as of late. Throw in Chad Billingsley’s self-destructive elbow and this team has a chance to be held together by a needle and thread by mid-July, but if they stay healthy, look out.
3.Arizona Diamondbacks– After spending the last few seasons with Justin Upton and Chris Young in their outfield, the Dbacks decided to go in a different direction. They sent Upton to the Braves for Martin Prado and a handful of prospects, and they sent Young to the A’s, opening up the door for exciting young prospect Adam Eaton—who before sustaining an injury that will likely keep him out for the first six weeks of the season—was tearing up the Cactus League to the tune of a .400 batting average. The Dbacks have plenty of bats to make up for his absence, with Aaron Hill (.302, 26HR, 85RBI), Paul Goldschmidt (.286, 20HR, 82RBI), and Jason Kubel (.253, 30HR, 90RBI) all coming off big 2012 campaigns. The rotation does have a lot of questions marks, however. Ian Kennedy took a step back in 2012 after a 20-win 2011, Wade Miley will have to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump after finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, and Patrick Corbin has to take the leap from prospect to major league starter for the Dbacks to be successful in 2013.
4.Colorado Rockies– The Rockies can hit .300 and lead the NL in runs scored and it wouldn’t matter. The pitching staff—especially the starting rotation—is in shambles. When Jeff Francis is the only pitcher to throw more than 100 innings for your staff, it’s time to make some changes. When that happens, we can talk, but until then they’ll have to settle with being one of the bottom teams in the National League in 2013.
5.San Diego Padres– If the Padres were attempting to not be seen when they designed those camouflage alternate jerseys they’re doing a great job because they’ve been essentially invisible the last few years. It doesn’t look like they’ll be relevant anytime soon. Chase Headley is an exciting player that could help a lot of teams, but he’s by no means a franchise player. There just isn’t enough talent in the organization for them to be competitive until they improve via free agency or the draft.