MLB 2021: NL West Division Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

NL West Division Preview for MLB 2021

Arizona Diamondbacks – Better than the Giants in my opinion but that is not saying much either. At least San Francisco and the Diamondbacks can rest easier know thing that the Rockies should be the ones that land in the cellar in this division. However, Arizona definitely has issues and I have them pegged to only reach mid-70s in wins. The Dbacks have a mediocre lineup and then the rotation is a real concern because Bumgarner not the same pitcher (not even close) he once was. Also, Weaver got crushed last season and Gallen is missing time with a hairline fracture in forearm to begin this season. Solid bullpen but can this team get enough hitting and enough quality starts from its rotation? Big question marks. 

Colorado Rockies – This team is a mess and could lose 100 games and only the Pirates likely to be worse than the Rockies in the National League this season. The Rockies strength, especially with Arenado now a member of the Cardinals, is with their pitching rotation. However, having a great rotation is not such a big plus when you play your home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Respectable bullpen too but this lineup could use more big sticks to outslug teams and they just do not have that. Bit of a rebuild here for 2022 in my opinion. 

Los Angeles Dodgers – The World Series Champions are expected by many to rule the roost again in 2021 but they may not even win their own division. LA will certainly be great again but San Diego could give them a run for their money. Dodgers should get to upper 90s in wins. Is hard to find much fault with this team but here is the one key component: hunger factor. It is a long season in baseball and hard to stay fully motivated and is not often you see World Series champs repeating. So it will be another great season in LA but the Padres are nipping at their heels. 

San Diego Padres – This team could challenge Los Angeles for top spot in the division and should finish in the upper 90s for a win total this season which could put them neck and neck with the Dodgers down the stretch run. This team plays with a lot of energy and emotion and that is great to see. I like their lineup and they have plenty of pop. A key to their season will be how well the new starting rotation meshes. They are relying not only on newcomers Darvish and Snell but also Musgrove. None of those guys were Padres last season. Can they fit in well and get comfortable here? Probably yes but that is something to watch early. The bullpen is also stacked. I mean these guys “won the off-season” but will it translate to success on the field? I do believe so and also believe this team will get stronger as season goes on. 

San Francisco Giants – Long-time followers know I am not a fan of manager Gabe Kapler. The Giants finished a little better than expected last season as the shortened season helped them. San Francisco still had a losing record though and I expect them to lose at least 90 games in what is now projected to be a full 162-game season. This team has some aging veterans so they haven’t fully begun their youth movement and yet they need to. Their lineup surprised last season but it was a short season and I am not so sure they do that again. This is a concern because the pitching just is not there. The Giants bullpen lost a decent arm when Watson ended up with the Phillies. Also, the rotation only has Gausman in terms of guys who produced a respectable ERA last season but his track record in his career shows he has most always struggled to put together back to back solid seasons. That said, behind him is Cueto, DeSclafani, and Webb and all 4 of those guys had ERAs north of 5.00 last season. Tough year expected by the bay!

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