With the MLB season set to kick off on April 1, the NL West is one division all fans will have their eyes on. Home to two of the biggest powerhouses in the league it will sure to be a slugfest, but here is one player to watch from each team.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Trevor Bauer
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the reigning World Series Champions and in the offseason, they made their already stacked team even stronger. They landed a huge splash in free agency when they signed all-star starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer, to a record-breaking three-year $102 million contract.
Bauer is coming off the best season of his career and he was actually named the NL Cy Young recipient. In 2020 he had a 1.73 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP and he struck out 100 batters in the shortened season.
Bauer’s contract raised a lot of questions because he is not very consistent in his career and just two years ago he had an ERA over six for the season. If he plays like his 2019 self he has just played the Dodgers out of a lot of money, but if he plays well the Dodgers will easily have the best rotation in baseball. We will have to stay tuned to see if this deal was worth it for the reigning Cy Young winner.
San Diego Padres: Entire Rotation
The San Diego Padres showed the entire world this offseason that they are all in on competing for a World Series in 2021. In 2020 as a team their offense looked amazing, but it was clear they needed to strengthen their starting rotation.
Strengthening their rotation is exactly what they did as throughout the offseason they acquired Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove. Darvish and Snell are potential Cy Young winners every year and Musgrove is an above-average starter.
If these three guys produce along with Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack, that will be a lethal rotation to match with a lethal lineup. The Padres have the potential to give the Dodgers a run for the division title.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte
It is pretty clear that the Arizona Diamondbacks are nowhere near competing this season, but if you need a reason to watch them, let that be Ketel Marte. Marte is a young entertaining center fielder who has been on a rise to stardom over the last three seasons since joining Arizona.
2019 was his first all-star nod where he batted .329, had an OBP of .389, and SLG .592. He has an electric bat, a great glove and he is only 26 years old, so he still has some room to grow with his potential.
I am excited to see what Marte can become in 2021 and I expect more big numbers from the Diamondbacks star.
San Francisco Giants: Joey Bart
The San Francisco Giants seem to have a knack at being home to some of the best catchers in baseball. Buster Posey has been a mainstay on the Giants for years and at a time some would even say he was the best catcher in baseball.
Then back in 2018, the Giants selected catcher, Joey Bart, with the second pick of the MLB Draft. Bart is now looked at by many as the best catching prospect in baseball and he tore up Single-A and Double-A, but it now seems he is ready to take the step to the majors.
Unfortunately, it seems he will see limited opportunity as long as Posey is still a member of the team. So, I believe if he makes the most of limited opportunities he may end up being one of the biggest trade pieces of the 2021 season. It looks as though Bart needs to move on to hit his full potential and the Giants need to acknowledge that.
Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story
It is quite clear that after trading Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies very well have the worst team in the entire MLB. The one bright spot of their team still is all-star power-hitting shortstop, Trevor Story.
Story is entering his contract year and I think it is practically impossible he returns to the Rockies. So, if he wants to get paid this offseason I expect Story to show out and put up some absurd numbers.
Story owns a career .277 average and he has never hit less than 24 home runs while playing a full season in the majors. With him now having to carry the offense in Colorado he will most likely play with a chip on his shoulder and be absolutely raking. For one final year in Colorado, I think Story will show us why he is one of the best shortstops in baseball.