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MLB’s 2020 Shortened Season, Shorter Preview: The NL West

In a shortened MLB season, who has the best odds at taking the NL West? The Giants? The Dodgers? The Padres? The Diamondbacks? How about the Rockies?

Dodger Stadium by Sam Howzit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

MLB’s 2020 Shortened Season, Shorter Preview: The NL West

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

The 60 game MLB Season is upon us, and what better way to begin a shortened season than with some truncated analysis and team previews. So we’ve taken the best bits from our “30 in 30” Preview series and put them all in one, easily accessible place.

So let’s dive into the National League West!

San Diego PadresJustin Colombo

The Padres are unlike any other basement dwelling team, in that their future is just around the corner. By acquiring Tommy Pham for Hunter Renfroe and a “Slap-d**k prospect”, the Padres now have an insanely potent offense. And it’s one that’s only going to age like a fine wine.

The Padres were the second youngest team in the majors, with an average player age of 26. This team is built on youth and with the majority of their farm system still honing their talents. The Padres are priming themselves not just for a championship run, but a championship reign.

Cheri Bell of FanSided’s Padres site, Friars On Base, perfectly summed up this upcoming season for San Diego.

“If the Padres coax consistent production from Hosmer, the two other outfielders not named Tommy Pham, whoever is manning second base, and even mediocre production from the catching position they could easily win over 85 games in 2020.

It is not overstating matters to say that much of the success of 2020 rests on the production and leadership from Tatis Jr and Machado.”

– Cheri Bell, Friars On Base

That’s the blueprint, and frankly it’s one the Padres could easily accomplish.

For years, the team that plays in PetCo Park has been an absolute disaster. But it’s possible, that 2020 is the year of the Dads.

You have been warned. The Dads are coming.

Colorado Rockies – Joe Danbusky

The Rockies finished the 2018 season with a 91-72 record (having to play that 163rd game to settle final playoff implications). Their 2019 record was essentially the opposite, going 71-91. In 2018, they finished second in their division and 4th in the NL. The 2019 season landed them 4th in their division and outside of the playoff picture. SO…

Heading into 2020, which Rockies team will show up? The one that went to two consecutive Wild Card playoff appearances, or the one that stumbled through injuries and inconsistency to a 4th place division finish and an early off-season? Personally I think they’ll get back to their winning ways and that last season was more of a blip than a trend. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see – as Chris Berman famously says: “That’s why they play the games!”

San Francisco Giants – Justin Colombo

Normally these pieces tend to focus on the previous year’s successes and failures and the things to look forward to in the upcoming season.

However, while researching the San Francisco Giants, it became clear that the 2020 season is going to be one of drastic change (outside the obvious, of course…). After dominating for the better part of the last decade, the Giants may well end up somewhere they haven’t been for more than 15 years: the basement of the NL West.

I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better, but that’s okay.

The Giants have an excellent farm system, it’s just that the kids aren’t getting to Oracle Park any time soon. Of their Top 10 prospects, four are in the majority of 100 lists. Once San Diego and the White Sox’s prospects start moving their way towards the bigs, San Francisco’s farm will be the shining city on the hill of the MLB. It’s going to be a while before we see the future come to fruition.

But that’s okay. The Giants won 30% of the World Series this past decade. They are going to be okay. This is a generational shift. It happens to every team, and now it’s happening in San Francisco.

Bruce Bochy retired and now Gabe Kapler takes the reins. MadBum left for Arizona, opening up room for Shaun Anderson or Rodriguez. Hunter Pence was pushed out and then became an All-Star once again in Texas and now Mike Yastrzemski is the new face of the outfield. Things just have to change. That’s how the world works. So embrace the change, accept the ugly, it’s a whole new world out there, Giants fans!

It’s just going to be worse before it gets better, but they’ve proved everyone wrong before.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Joe Danbusky

By all accounts, the first half of last season went as expected. They finished with a 46-45 record, pretty much on pace with expectation. The slightly surprising thing about it was that they found themselves in second place in the division. The Dodgers had a phenomenal start and were running away with the division almost instantly, winning 60 games before the All-Star break. The rest of the division was closely bunched, all within 4 games of each other. While everyone expected the Rockies and Dodgers to be the top of the division, it was the Diamondbacks who were the surprise.

The team continued to plug along through the second half of the season. The aforementioned 60-game streak stretched from June 18th through August 30th. By the time September rolled around, the division was essentially out of reach. The Dodgers had an 18 game lead on the D-Backs. All of the focus turned to a Wild Card spot. Things were promising with them winning 11 of 12 to start the final month of the season. However, a 6 game losing streak sealed their fate and they missed out on the postseason. They finished with a record of 85-77 and a lot of optimism heading into 2020.

Will all of their moves finally fill the void created by the departures of the big names? Time will tell. The Dodgers are a force to be reckoned with and I think the Padres youth movement will have them in the mix as well. If things break right, I think the D-Backs could snag a second-place finish in the division, but I think SD may finish just ahead of them. Still – there’s a lot to be excited about for this club.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Justin Colombo

Breathe easy, Dodger fans. You will get to see Mookie Betts in Dodger Blue this season. Phew! That was close, huh?

The Dodgers are the team to beat in the National League. There, I said it. How bold of a take! I mean, just look at this lineup:

Good luck keeping the ball in the infield with these guys. Seriously, the weakest link in this lineup is AJ Pollock. Think about that for a second.

My sweet lord, the Dodgers are going to be good, and you know how I know? They just optioned the #4 prospect in baseball. That’s how good this team is. They don’t even need Gavin Lux right now. That’s insane. The Dodgers are insane.

Compiled by Joe Danbusky, Justin Colombo and Kevin Michael Morin.

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