2017 Season Preview – National League West

greinke

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

2016 Record: 69-93 • 4th NL West

O/U on Wins: 78.5 • Over

Moving In: P Taijuan Walker • P Fernando Rodney • SS Ketel Marte • C Jeff Mathis • C Chris Iannetta

Moving Out: SS Jean Segura • C Wellington Castillo • P Daniel Hudson • P Rubby de la Rosa • C Tuffy Gosewich • OF Rickie Weekes

Key Player(s) in 2017: Pitchers Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Both Greinke and Miller were brought into the fold for the 2016 season with one goal in mind: postseason baseball. That did not pan out though. Greinke, who was signed to a 6yr/$205.5mil contract in the 2015 offseason, saw his ERA balloon from an unrealistic 1.66 in 2015 to a 4.37 last year. Although he did win 13 games in his Arizona debut, he also saw both his BB/9 and H/9 increase too. To make matters worse, Greinke was also sidelined with an oblique injury for six weeks. Another thing to watch for this season will be Greinke’s fastball velocity which has apparently been down so far in Spring Training. If Greinke is 100% or close to and hasn’t seen a Jered Weaver-esque drop in velocity, a return to his dominant self should be a very realistic scenario.

Even with Greinke’s struggles, the Diamondbacks have to be pleased with his results in comparison to their other big offseason acquisition, Shelby Miller. Miller was atrocious in his first season in the desert. In 20 starts the right-hander went 3-12/6.15/1.67/70/-0.7 WAR in 101 innings pitched; hitting a low point with a demotion to AAA. Besides the awful stats and poor play, the proverbial salt in the wounds is that the Diamondbacks traded SS Dansby Swanson, OF Ender Inciarte and P Aaron Blair (a top pitching prospect) to Atlanta to acquire Miller. Both Swanson and Inciarte look like building blocks for the new look Braves while Miller looks like he took a step back in his progression. If the Diamondbacks have any thoughts or ambitions of catching the Giants, let alone the Dodgers, they will need significant bounce back campaigns from these two.

Potential Breakout: P Archie Bradley. The former top prospect got called up to the show in May and never looked back. Although he struggled for the first half after his call-up, Bradley turned it around in the second half and had a strong finish. In 26 starts, Bradley went 8-9/5.02/1.56/143 in 141 innings pitched. With the Diamondbacks bringing in Taijuan Walker via trade and former first round pick, Braeden Shipley, waiting in the wings, there is no guarantee that Bradley will start the season in the rotation or even in the majors. Besides the two names mentioned above, Bradley will also need to compete against veterans Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller, who will get all the chances available to stick in the rotation after poor 2016’s; not to mention the likes of top prospect, Anthony Banda too. Bradley definitely has the stuff to pitch at the MLB level but he will need to have better control of said stuff in order to succeed at it. A strong showing in Spring Training could give him a shot at making the rotation out of camp, but he will need to cut down on both his H/9 (9.8) and BB/9 (4.3) in order to do so.

Top Prospect: P Anthony Banda• Age: 23 • MLB ETA: 2017

First Round Draft Miss: P Barret Loux (6th) over Matt Harvey (7th) in 2010

Fantasy Stud: Paul Goldschmidt • 2016 Stats: .297/.899/24/95/4.8 WAR in 579 AB

Money’s Man Crush: Paul Goldschmidt. 6’3, 222 lbs, perennial All Star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove recipient, the ability to launch moonshots, oh ya, and he can swipe bases. Goldy could legitimately be a 30/30 guy as he is more than capable of hitting over 30 ding dangs a season, and he nabbed 32 bags last season. For his career, Goldy now has 99 stolen bases in 779 games and has only been caught 23 times.

2017 Prediction: •3rd NL West

 

nolan-arenado

 

Colorado Rockies

2016 Record: 75-87 • 3rd NL West

O/U on Wins: 79.5 • Under

Moving In: UT Ian Desmond • P Greg Holland • P Mike Dunn • UT Alexi Amarista

Moving Out: P Boone Logan • C Nick Hundley • P Jorge de la Rosa

Key Player(s) in 2017: P Jon Gray. The former 3rd overall pick in 2013 had an above average season in his first full year. The big right-hander made 29 starts and went 10-10/4.61/1.26/185/2.3 WAR in 161 innings, he even garnered some votes for Rookie of theYear; finishing 6th. If Gray could somehow manage to cut down on his amount of BB/9 (3.2), H/9( 8.8), and long balls (18 in 2016), he could make quite the statement this season. Now that’s easier said than done when you play half your games at Coors. With Chad Bettis cancer sadly returning, Gray could become the de facto ace of this upstart Rockies team. The fate of the Rockies post season goals could hinge on the progression of Gray and how he pitches this season.

Potential Breakout: P Jeff Hoffman. Acquired in deal for Troy Tulowitzki. Made MLB debut in 2016 and went winless in 6 starts. Managed a 4.88/1.72/22 in 31 innings. Will need to cut down on H/9 (10.6) and BB/9 (4.9) if he wants to stick in the Rockies rotation but with their need for pitching, he will get every opportunity too. The question will be how much of a leash will he have in regards to poor outings; not to mention a possible innings limit. The Rockies can ill afford Hoffman to struggle while trying to remain in contention for a playoff spot, but you don’t want to shatter his confidence by demoting him too soon. That being said, a breakout from Hoffman could help the Rockies achieve their goal of competing for a postseason spot.

Top Prospect: SS/2B Brendan Rogers • Age: 20 • MLB ETA: 2018

First Round Draft Miss: P Greg Reynolds (2nd) over 3B Evan Longoria in 2006

Fantasy Stud: 3B Nolan Arenado • 2016 Stats: .294/.932/41/133/6.5 WAR in 618 AB

Money’s Man Crush: 3B Nolan Arenado. (Arguably) the best 3B in baseball both at the dish and in the field. In the field, Arenado has played 4 seasons and won 4 straight Gold Gloves. Meanwhile at the plate he has had back to back 40+ HR/130+ RBI  and is a .285 hitter in 2152 career AB.

2017 Prediction: 4th NL West

 

kershaw

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

2016 Record: 91-71 • 1st NL West

O/U on Wins: 91.5 • Over

Moving In: 2B Logan Forsythe

Moving Out: OF Josh Reddick • 2B Howie Kendrick • C Carlos Ruiz • P Joe Blanton • P Brett Anderson • P JP Howell • P Jesse Chavez • P Chase de Jong • P Jose de Leon

Key Player(s) in 2017: OF Yasiel Puig. Which version of Puig will show up for the Dodgers in 2016? Will it be the one who broke out in 2013 at a clip of .319/925/19/42 and finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting? Or will it be the one who limped through 2016 to a .263/.740/11/45 line and was demoted to AAA at one point? It’s no secret that the Dodgers actively shopped Puig over the offseason but found nothing worth moving him for. Puig is still young enough (26 at seasons end) and talented enough to easily turn around. Rumour has it that Puig isn’t the most mature of players and that could be (one of) the reasons for his poor play. If he is committed to baseball as he said he is upon his recall from AAA then there should be no questions about who will be the Dodgers everyday RF. His talent alone should keep him from sitting on the bench but his attitude and maturity might have other ideas.

Potential Breakout: P Julio Urias. The Dodgers top pitching prospect debuted in 2016 and appeared in 18 games, making 15 starts. In those starts Urias went 5-2/3.39/1.46/84 in 77 innings pitched. The 20 year old lefty easily has the stuff and confidence to start the year in the Dodgers rotation but a surplus of veteran starting pitchers could force him to start the season in the minors. If and when he does make it into the Dodgers starting rotation, Urias will most likely be subjected to some form of an innings limit. Even with some form of innings cap imposed, Urias’ impact could give the Dodgers the push they need to make an appearance in the World Series.

Top Prospect: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger • Age: 21 • MLB ETA: 2017

First Round Draft Miss: P Chris Reed (16) over P Sonny Gray (18) in 2011.

Fantasy Stud: P Clayton Kershaw • 2016 Stats: 12/1.69/.72/172/5.9 WAR in 149 IP

Money’s Man Crush: Clayton Kershaw based on stuff alone – that curveball. *sprays Febreeze.*

2017 Prediction: 1st NL West

 

wil-myers

 

San Diego Padres

2016 Record: 68-94 • 5th NL West

O/U on Wins: 64.5 • Over

Moving In: P Jered Weaver • P Jhoulys Chacin • P Clayton Richard • P Trevor Cahill •P Zach Lee

Moving Out: P Tyson Ross • C Derek Norris • OF Jon Jay • UT Alexi Amarista

Key Player(s) in 2017: P Luis Perdomo and OF Travis Jankowski. Both players enjoyed breakout seasons in 2016 and will need to prove that it wasn’t an anomaly or fluke. The play of Jankowski, a former supplemental first round pick (44th) in 2012, was one of the few bright spots in San Diego last season. Used predominantly as a lead off hitter for the Padres, Jankowski performed admirably, hitting .245/.646/2/12, swiping 30 bags and scoring 53 runs. He should get first crack at both the starting LF job and the lead-off position in 2017, and if he can replicate or improve his numbers from the season before, he’ll give the Padres lineup a homegrown table setter for their future.

Another bright spot for the Padres last year was rookie right-hander, Luis Perdomo. He begin the season in the bullpen but moved into the rotation during the season and made 20 starts. In those 20 starts, Perdomo went 9-10/5.71/1.59/105 in 146.2 innings. Although he is a ground ball inducing pitcher (GB% of 59%), Perdomo still struggled to miss hitters bats as he had a H/9 of 11.5. Perdomo won’t necessarily rack up the strikeouts (6.4 K/9) but he will need to find other ways of getting batters out in order to see his ERA and WHIP come down to more respectable levels.

Potential Breakout: OF Hunter Renfroe. The 13th overall pick in 2013 made a BIG first impression as a September call-up in 2016. Though he only appeared in 11 games, Renfroe absolutely tore the cover off the ball in that limited sample size. He went .371/1.189/4/14 and added 3 doubles in a meager 35 AB. Although its completely unrealistic to expect him to match those numbers over a 162 game season (.371/1.189/59/206), what would be realistic would to see him compete with the likes of Dansby Swanson for NL Rookie of the Year. The continuing emergence of Renfroe will give the Padres a trio of OF (Wil Myers, Renfroe and Jankowski) with an extremely high ceiling; and that’s not even factoring in Manny Margot.

Top Prospect: OF Manuel Margot • Age: 22 • MLB ETA: 2017

First Round Draft Miss: OF Donovan Tate (3rd) over P Zack Wheeler (6th) in 2009.

Fantasy Stud: OF Wil Myers  2016 Stats: .259/.797/28/94/3.2 WAR in 599 AB

Money’s Man Crush: The Padres have a few sexy throwbacks that they could use. Unfortunately they have dedcided to abandon their mustard yellow, Gaylrd Perry era jerseys for the upcoming season. Here’s hoping that they replace them with the (almost) equally as sexy, Robbie Alomar era, brown and orange jerseys.Oh, and Wil Myers isn’t too shabby of an option either.

2017 Prediction: 5th NL West

 

giants

 

San Francisco Giants

2016 Record: 87-75 • 2nd NL West

O/U on Wins: 87.5 • Over

Moving In: P Mark Melancon • SS Jimmy Rollins • P David Hernandez

Moving Out: P Chris Heston • P Sergio Romo • P Jake Peavy • P Javier Lopez • OF Angel Pagan

Key Player(s) in 2017: P Mark Melancon. Once a staple of their championship runs, the Giants bullpen was woeful, with no clear cut closer to put out late inning fires. The Giants addressed that issue in the offseason by inking one pf the marquee free agents, P Mark Melancon, to a 4yr/$62 mil contract. Melancon has been one of the better closers in the National League since taking over the Pirates closer role in 2013. Splittingi time between the Pirates and the Nationals in 2016, the three time All Star went 2-2/1.64/.90/47 SV in 71.1 innings; he also finished a career high 67 games. Although there is little doubt that Melancon will prove to be worth the investment, the Giants front office decided to spend their budget by going after Melancon instead of a lesser name which would’ve allowed them to address their need for a LF. Any early stumbles or faltering by Melancon will likely bring out the naysayers and armchair GM’s who will be quick to point out the above.

Potential Breakout: OF Mac Williamson or OF Jarrett Parker. With the Giants allotting the majority of their offseason budget to bringing in Mark Melancon they failed to address a glaring hole in LF. To start the season, the Giants will most likely use a platoon of the right handed hitting, Mac Williamson and the left handed hitting, Jarrett Parker. Although neither is what you would call a “household name,” what they lack in name recognition they make up for in being a bargain for the cash strapped Giants. Williamson, a former 3rd round pick by the Giants in 2013, played in 54 games in 2016 and hit .223/.726/6/15 in 112 AB. Parker, on the other hand, is a former 2nd round pick by the Giants in 2010, and hit .267/.865/11/28 in 176 AB. Look for Parker to get the majority of playing time out of Spring Training as he is both a left handed hitter and has shown the better ability to hit for power, something the power starved Giants (3rd fewest HR in MLB in 2016) are hurting for

Top Prospect: P Tyler Beede • Age: 23 • MLB ETA: 2017

First Round Draft Miss: P Chris Stratton (20th) over P Marcus Stroman (22) in 2012

Fantasy Stud: C Buster Posey • 2016 Stats: .288/.796/14/80/4.7 WAR in 539 AB

Money’s Man Crush: Pitching battery of Maddy Bumgarner and Buster Posey. Both are (arguably) the best players at their respective position and as batterymates, no other team can match these two.

2017 Prediction: 2nd NL West

– $

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s