It’s time to play ball as the 2023 Major League Baseball season returns. Last season was wild, and the Houston Astros can finally raise a World Series trophy that won’t be tarnished by allegations of cheating. The 2023 campaign should bring a faster, more exciting game as changes and new rules are being implemented that all fans, and teams, will have to get used to. There were massive deals and huge roster moves so let’s break it all down and get you caught up. Here is a preview of the NL West.
What Happened in 2022:
There was no dramatic finish in this division as the Dodgers dominated from beginning to end winning 111 games. The San Diego Padres, who lost their star player OF/SS Fernando Tatis Jr. for half the season, came in 2nd, but 22 games out of first. They did acquire superstar OF Juan Soto before the trade deadline and then shocked the Dodgers in the postseason winning the divisional series 3 games to 1 to knock out the heavily favored Dodgers. Behind those two, the Giants turned in an 81-win season while the Diamondbacks put together a respectable 74-win season despite having a bottomed-out roster. The Rockies were the dwellers, winning just 68 games.
Players to Watch:
Dodgers – C Will Smith – He has emerged as a top-three catcher in baseball who is great with his glove and can hit for power. Smith drove in 87 runs in 2022 and will contribute to a new-look Dodgers lineup.
Giants – P Logan Webb – He is one of the best pitchers in the division and a prime candidate to be in the hunt for a Cy Young this season after pitching a 2.90 ERA a year ago.
Padres – SS Xander Bogaerts – The Pads stole away the greatest shortstop in Red Sox history by signing the X-man whose glove can be an issue at times but should contribute a .300 average and 25-30 home runs.
Rockies – 3B/OF Kris Bryant – He got just 160 at-bats in his first season in Denver so Bryant will look for a bounce back season with a team that really isn’t competing for anything but a high draft pick.
Diamondbacks – OF Corbin Carroll – The Diamondbacks have arguably the most exciting prospect in baseball in the Bigs this year in Carroll who hit .260 in 104 at-bats at the end of the season.
Biggest Additions and Subtractions:
The Dodgers watched SS Trea Turner depart and OF Cody Bellinger head to Chicago. However, I think the biggest loss is that of 3B Justin Turner. To replace him, they brought in J.D. Martinez to basically swap players with the Red Sox. San Diego made the biggest move by adding Bogaerts who is going to be a weapon in the middle of their lineup. Of course, we can’t forget the botched Carlos Correa signing for San Francisco which would have given them a legit shortstop for years to come.
I think this is San Diego’s year. If they stay healthy, they have the pieces to make a deep playoff run and I think Los Angeles lost some serious pop in the middle of their lineup and Clayton Kershaw isn’t getting any younger. Division Winner – Padres – 103-59