For the past few days we’ve been previewing the 2013 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.
The National League West will be portrayed by many as two alpha teams (the Giants and Dodgers), a beta team (the Diamondbacks) and a couple of pretenders (the Padres and the Rockies). This is, we feel, an unfair characterization.
The Giants are an alpha team as all defending World Series champions should be. Their pitching is great, their offensive leaders are young and in their prime and they are managed by one of the steadier hands in the game in Bruce Bochy. The Dodgers, due to all of their payroll expansion and star power, may very well be too, but there is a lot of uncertainty with that team in terms of injuries and in terms of how all of those disparate parts can come together. After all, much of that star power didn’t gel in Boston, so it’s not a given it will gel in L.A.
The Diamondbacks are a talented bunch, but they too are suffering from injuries and it remains to be seen if their focus on hard-nosed, gritty character guys like Martin Prado and the like will work as well as having insanely talented young sluggers in the fold like Justin Upton.
The Padres are being undersold, we believe. They lack star power but they have youth on their side and many players who can be expected to improve. Maybe not a playoff team, but not an also-ran either. We believe they may surprise.
The Rockies, well, OK. They’re the Rockies and probably don’t have the pitching to compete. It’s the same old story in Colorado now as it has always been.
Below are our team-by-team previews for the NL West as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division. Enjoy.