The NL West is full of contenders this year. The San Francisco Giants will try to navigate themselves back into the postseason, while the San Diego Padres hope to edge out the Los Angeles Dodgers and capture their first division title since 2006.
Let’s take a look at how the division shapes out in our division predictions for the NL West this season.
NL West preview: 5. Colorado Rockies
It’s never a great sign when your owner says he thinks his team “can play .500 ball.” The Rockies are in store for another last-place season, with no real objective or common plan set for winning in the future.
C.J. Cron and Kris Bryant are the heavy producers that highlight this lineup, with Bryant hoping to bounce back from an injury-riddled season. I had Bryant as an MVP candidate last year, infatuated with the concept of him being a benefactor of the “Coors effect” in his new ballpark. Bryant just wasn’t able to establish himself offensively, consistently dealing with injuries throughout the 2022 season. Jurickson Profar was an awesome addition to the lineup, with the Rockies snagging him on a one-year deal in mid-March. Profar is coming off a strong 110 wRC+ offensive slash, playing a pivotal role in the Padres NLCS run last season. It’s very likely the versatile defender will be a hot commodity at this year’s trade deadline. 36-year-old Charlie Blackmon will return to the outfield, logging his 13th season with the franchise. The lineup will be without Brendan Rodgers, who suffered a torn labrum early in spring training. With Rodgers likely done for the season, the Rockies signed veteran infielder Mike Moustakas, claiming the power-hitting infielder after he was bought out by the Reds. It looks as if 21-year-old rookie Ezequiel Tovar will start at shortstop. The 25th-ranked prospect batted .319 in Double- and Triple-A last season, looking to establish himself as an impact player for the franchise over the next few years.
Germán Márquez will get the ball on Opening Day, coming off a brutal 4.95 ERA across 181.2 innings pitched. Lefty Kyle Freeland will join Marquez at the top of the rotation, posting a respectable two earned runs over six innings of work in the WBC. Antonio Senzatela will hope to return to the rotation in May, coming off ACL surgery. This leaves Austin Gomber and Jose Ureña at the bottom of the rotation, both of whom are coming off five-plus ERA seasons.
Closer Daniel Bard was incredible last season, posting a 1.79 ERA, tallying 34 saves which ranked sixth amongst all MLB closers. Despite Bard’s struggles during the WBC, manager Bud Black believes he is primed for another strong season.
I would be very surprised if Monfort’s “.500 ball” statement even comes to fruition this season. The Rockies are clearly the fifth-best team in one of baseball’s best divisions and, quite honestly, it’s hard to see much light at the end of this Rockies tunnel.