Don’t expect the National league West to be a cakewalk in 2017. The Dodgers are entering the new season in search of their fifth consecutive NL West crown. It’s not going to be easy and they’re bound to have competition of some kind no matter how weak the NL West is compared to the other divisions in the National league. There are four other clubs that will try their best to dethrone the Dodgers. I hear a lot of worry and fear about the Giants from many readers. Some people consider the Giants on the same level as the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals. I want to put some of those fears to rest and ease your minds.
The Giants aren’t that good. You really shouldn’t be worried about them. Don’t get me wrong or misunderstand what I am saying here. The Giants will be competitive in 2017. They’ll be the Dodgers primary obstacle to the division title. But are they pennant contenders? I’m going to say no.
The Giants have problems of their own. They have injuries too. They do have two starting pitchers at the top of their rotation that are unquestionable aces. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto are frontline starters. After those two the talent level in their rotation falls off considerably. Does the injury riddled and cooked Matt Cain scare you? Does the inconsistent Jeff Samardzija make you shake in your boots? Southpaw Matt Moore is still somewhat effective but is not the same pitcher he was with Tampa Bay.
The San Francisco bullpen was historically bad last year. Yes the signing of closer Mark Melancon will make that crew better, but the rest of the guys are not dominating. They’ve lost Will Smith for an undetermined amount of time. The rest of their relievers are rookies, youngsters and journeyman.
The Giants have problems on the offensive side as well. They have little to no power in their lineup. Last year the Giants hit just 130 home runs. Only the Braves and Marlins hit less. The Giants ranked 20 in OPS, and 25 in slugging percentage. In comparison the Dodgers hit 189 home runs in 2016. They have a bunch of contact hitters, and very little power other than Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.
They have no idea who will play left field. Mac Williamson is probably going to miss the first several weeks of the season with a sore quad. Their other options are Jarrett Parker and Gorkys Hernandez. The Giants don’t have a Cody Bellinger, or Alex Verdugo to call up from the minors. They simply don’t have the organizational depth that the Dodgers do.
I understand that they had an epic collapse in the second half after getting off to a fantastic start. I think that’s because they weren’t that good to begin with. Maybe an easier first half schedule also contributed to that.
Yes The Giants are going to be competitive in 2017, and they’ll probably play the Dodgers tough like they always do. But the Dodgers are better. Their core players are better, and they have a deeper farm system. The Cubs scare me, the Nationals worry me, but the Giants certainly don’t make me lose any sleep. I’m not concerned about the Giants, and neither should you.