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Mar 19, 2024 1:25 pm

NL West capsules: Dodgers aim to continue dominance

Shohei Ohtani

2024 NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST CAPSULES

Arizona Diamondbacks
2023 record: 84-78 (2nd place, NL West)
KEY MOVES
He gone: 3B Evan Longoria, RHP Zach Davies, RHP Mark Melancon, OF Tommy Pham
New faces: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, OF/DH Joc Pederson, 3B Eugenio Suarez, OF Randal Grichuk
Biggest question entering Opening Day: Merely a .500 team in the middle of August, Arizona now gets a chance to show that it didn’t just get hot at the right time in order to advance to the World Series and that it can win with consistency. The D-backs were 22nd in MLB home runs last season, but what they lack in power they make up for in baserunning and being one of the game’s better contact teams. Arizona hitters struck out 1,247 times last season, the fourth lowest in baseball.
2024 Outlook: With a dynamic rookie season under his belt, things only look up for Corbin Carroll to lead the offense with his impressive mix of power and speed. Carroll had a .915 OPS in the first half, an .812 OPS in the second half and further dipped to a .773 OPS in the playoffs in his first full MLB season so stamina is a concern. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are a formidable 1-2 punch atop the rotation and now Arizona has a No. 3 starter it can lean on in Rodriguez, with anything less than the club’s first 90-win season since 2017 a disappointment.

Colorado Rockies
2023 record: 59-103 (5th place, NL West)
KEY MOVES
He gone: RHP Chris Flexen, LHP Brent Suter
New faces: LHP Jalen Beeks, RHP Dakota Hudson, RHP Anthony Molina, RHP Cal Quantrill, C Jacob Stallings
Biggest question entering Opening Day: Kris Bryant’s injury woes have prevented him from playing more than 80 games in either of his two seasons in Colorado, which makes a healthy and productive 2024 vital. Sure, the pitchers need to improve on MLB’s worst ERA and second-worst home runs allowed last season, but the offense needs to be far better than 18th in runs scored and a shocking tie-for-26th in homers while playing half its games at altitude. Manager Bud Black enters his eighth season with the club but hasn’t guided a team to a winning record since 2018.
2024 Outlook: The Rockies don’t appear to stack up in a talented division, with the first goal of not finishing in last place like they did the past two seasons, including 2023’s franchise-worst 103 losses. Better health will help after starters German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela ended up needing Tommy John surgery last season. Hudson and Quantrill will help a rotation that is led by Kyle Freeland, but Daniel Bard remains a question mark in the back end of the bullpen, which had a baseball-worst 5.41 ERA last season.

Los Angeles Dodgers
2023 record: 100-62 (1st place, NL West)
KEY MOVES
He gone: DH J.D. Martinez, OF David Peralta, LHP Julio Urias, RHP Lance Lynn, LHP Caleb Ferguson, LHP Victor Gonzalez, RHP Ryan Pepiot, RHP Yency Almonte, INF Michael Busch
New faces: DH Shohei Ohtani, RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, RHP Tyler Glasnow, LHP James Paxton, OF Teoscar Hernandez
Biggest question entering Opening Day: The Dodgers will need to end their annual trend of running out of pitching by the time the postseason arrives, and while Glasnow and Yamamoto will help in that regard, much of their success will depend on pitchers returning from injury like Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and reliever Blake Treinen. Gavin Lux can hit, but will the middle infielder’s throwing issues continue? Mookie Betts is at shorstop now, with Max Muncy at third, so infield defense will be in the spotlight.
2024 Outlook: Another 100-win season appears on the way, but the true quest is a championship, with the Dodgers winning it all just one since 2013 in a span when they have captured the NL West title 10 times. Los Angeles was second in both home runs and runs scored last season and could be in for more this year, but how will the team line up the bullpen and what will the rotation look like by the second half?

San Diego Padres
2023 record: 82-80 (3rd place, NL West)
KEY MOVES
He gone: OF Juan Soto, LHP Blake Snell, LHP Josh Hader, OF Trent Grisham, RHP Seth Lugo, RHP Michael Wacha, C Austin Nola, INF Matt Carpenter, manager Bob Melvin
New faces: RHP Dylan Cease, RHP Michael King, RHP Randy Vazquez, RHP Johny Brito, C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Woo-Suk Go, LHP Wandy Peralta, LHP Yuki Matsui, manager Mike Shildt
Biggest question entering Opening Day: Projected to unseat the Dodgers at the top of the NL West last season and beyond, the Padres failed to live up to their potential and now must regroup with a retooled roster and a new manager in Shildt. Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish just received more help in the rotation when Cease was acquired late in the spring from the Chicago White Sox. But the departures of Snell and Hader have created big shoes to fill.
2024 Outlook: This version of the Padres looks less talented than the 2023 squad, however the arrival of Cease and King closes that gap and makes last year’s 82 wins a reasonable goal. The top half of the San Diego lineup figures to be productive, but what can the team get after Ha-Seong Kim in the No. 5 spot? Musgrove and Darvish combined for just 12 starts in the second half last season, something that can’t happen this season.

San Francisco Giants
2023 record: 79-83 (4th place, NL West)
KEY MOVES
He gone: INF J.D. Davis, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Ross Stripling, LHP Sean Manaea, LHP Alex Wood, RHP Jakob Junis, SS Brandon Crawford, LHP Scott Alexander, OF Joc Pedersen, manager Gabe Kapler
New faces: Manager Bob Melvin, LHP Blake Snell, OF Jung Hoo Lee, DH Jorge Soler, 3B Matt Chapman, LHP Robbie Ray, RHP Jordan Hicks, SS Nick Ahmed, C Tom Murphy
Biggest question entering Opening Day: Deficient on offense and defense last season, San Francisco moves out of the decorated Crawford era with plenty of improvement to make. Who is the face of the franchise now that represents hard work and productivity? Lee stands poised to put a charge into the team moving forward. The move of the hard-throwing Hicks from reliever to starter in his sixth MLB season brings plenty of intrigue.
2024 Outlook: The Giants’ outlook just got better with reports that reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell agreed to a two-year, $62 million contract with the team. That’s a welcome sight given Ray won’t pitch until the second half and RHP Alex Cobb will miss at least the first month. The additions of Chapman and Lee addressed both hitting and defensive issues. Add Ahmed at shortstop, until Marco Luciano’s time arrives, and run prevention should be improved. Soler will help an offense that was 19th in home runs. A new manager in Melvin makes the Giants a team to watch.

–Field Level Media

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