Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL West


Our final stop on our Spring Training tour takes us to the NL West.  Lead by six time defending champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the West should shake out to be a two team race between those Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies.  This shows glimpses of last season where the two faced off in Game 163 for the division title.  Behind them, the Padres will push to be relevant, while the Giants and Diamondbacks fight for fifth.  Let's take our final ride through camps to find out what you need to keep an eye out for.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona officially tore it all down once they shipped All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis in the off season.  Patrick Corbin is also gone along with AJ Pollock, leaving little to be desired in the desert.  With glaring holes all over the team, but especially the rotation, Arizona plucked former Tampa Bay Ray minor leaguer Merrill Kelly out of South Korea.  Kelly only made it as far as Triple A while in the Tampa organization before heading overseas 5 years ago.  Now 30 years old, Kelly is no spring chicken, but he did have some decent success while playing in South Korea's best league, posting a 3.80 ERA in the four seasons he played there.  Arizona is hoping to strike gold simply by having Kelly fill a rotational need.  He is worth keeping an eye on this Spring as he is following the same path as now Cardinals ace, Miles Mikolas.

Colorado Rockies

There has been a serious position battle taking place at Rockies Camp so far at second base.  Most saw Rockies prospect Garrett Hampson easily securing the job while pushing Ryan McMahon to a super utility role.   However, McMahon is not giving the Rockies an easy decision to make.  McMahon has been bit of a Spring Training hero it seems the last couple of years, and is doing it again this spring hitting .429 with two home runs and nine total extra base hits.  This battle appears it will go down to the last day of camp, and at the very least appears it will end with a platoon role for both.  This bears very close watching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Health.  Health, health, health.  Everything from top to bottom is health.  Clayton Kershaw has been slowed in camp with shoulder issues.  Walker Buehler has been "eased" into spring and has not yet thrown in a Spring Training game.  Kenley Jansen is coming off his worst year of his career and heart surgery.  Then lastly, they have former Rookie of the Year shortstop Corey Seager returning from Tommy John and hip surgery.  Seeing how all of these players progress throughout camp is vital to the Dodgers success this season.

San Diego Padres

I think we have to go with the obvious answer here, which is Manny Machado.  After Machado waited until deep into camp to finally select his home for the next decade, all eyes will be on him to see how far behind the eight ball he is.  So far, he appears ready to go with a couple of hits and a long ball.  Manny has natural talent and an easy swing that should translate well to any team, but with the mammoth expectations that come with a mammoth contract, it's always wise to monitor guys like this to see if those expectations are getting to them early or not.

San Francisco Giants

What was a quiet off season for the most part, aside from the attempted run at Bryce Harper, has translated to a quiet camp for the Giants.  This team is old, slow, and honestly, not that good anymore.  The biggest thing in Scottsdale this March has to revolve around Buster Posey and his surgically repaired hip.  Posey was limited to 105 games a season ago where he saw his average and power drop drastically all due to that hip injury.  A return to his .300/20 home run days may be too high of an expectation, but .290 and 15 would me a welcomed sight, and a strong spring would go a long way to setting those expectations as attainable.  

Find the past "What To Look For" Divisional articles here:

AL East  AL Central  AL West  NL East  NL Central

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL West
Spring Training: One Thing to Watch From All 30 Teams - NL West
Boston Sports Syndicate
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