After MLB Opening Week, let’s breakdown the NL West

Jul 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor (3) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor (3) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 14, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 14, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The National League West was full of surprises last year. The San Francisco Giants won 100 games out of nowhere, and the Padres fell short of a postseason berth. Can the Los Angeles Dodgers bring home their second title in three years with the super squad they have assembled this year?

Let’s break it down in our National League West predictions for the 2022 MLB season.

5. Arizona Diamondbacks (1-2 after the first series of the season)

I’ll be honest here. I didn’t expect the Diamondbacks to be good last year, but they certainly surpassed my expectations of atrociousness. They were simply beyond dreadful last season, and I don’t see it getting much better this year.

One bright star for the team is utility player Ketel Marte, who they signed to a contract extension this offseason. He can play almost anywhere, switch hit, and usually stays healthy. Some big questions for their lineup are if catcher Carson Kelly and first baseman Christian Walker can provide valuable offensive production and take control of this lineup. Walker hit 29 homers in 2019 and it’d be great to see him replicate that.

In fact, when you look at this D-backs lineup, it’s filled with promising prospects like Kelly and Walker that really have a chance to prove themselves this year. First baseman Seth Beer was a former top 100 prospect who they got in the Zach Grienke trade. Outfielder/first baseman Pavin Smith was the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft. All of these guys are going to see a lot of time and reps for the D-backs, and let’s not forget about the stellar farm system they have.

On the pitching side, there’s a decent of young talent as well. UNC product Zac Gallen was disappointing last year, but I expect him to improve significantly this year. His stuff is just too good. I think lefty Caleb Smith will bounce back as well. Let’s also not forget the pair of ACC first-round picks, righties Slade Cecconi and Bryce Jarvis who will likely be making their debuts this season.

Arizona’s future is bright. In addition to having all of this young talent, they also own the second overall pick in this year’s draft. For now, it’s growing pains and rebuilding, but I expect this squad to be revitalized in a few years.