NL West 2022 division preview shows how Dodgers rivals stack up

Michael Higgins
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 23: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Justin Turner #10 as he heads to the dugout after hitting a 2 RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the tenth inning at Coors Field on September 23, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 23: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Justin Turner #10 as he heads to the dugout after hitting a 2 RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the tenth inning at Coors Field on September 23, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Dodgers
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants makes a play against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Dodgers’ NL West Division Preview: San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants have certainly been a surprise in the last two seasons, as they have been significantly better than anyone anticipated.

Last season, they made an extremely competitive series go to five games against the Dodgers in the NLDS.

With that being said, they did lose a few key pieces. Core players such as Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, and Donovan Solano all left for different ball clubs, while they also lost Buster Posey to retirement. They seemed to have immediately replaced Gausman’s production with Carlos Rodón, who can be expected to be the Giants’ ace moving forward.

While they did bring in Joc Pederson, it is asking a lot of him to fill the shoes of Kris Bryant and/or Donovan Solano. Joey Bart is also in line to be the starting catcher, as he has been a top prospect in baseball for years now. 2022 will be Bart’s 25-year-old season and he seems to be ready to contribute for the team this year. It does seem like they haven’t improved this offseason, which is why I have them finishing in third place in the division with a record of 84-78.

Dodgers’ NL West Division Preview: San Diego Padres

A significant injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. certainly complicates things for the San Diego Padres, but I am choosing to look at this team with a glass half-full.

Tatis is looking at a late June return if everything goes as planned, which would be about halfway through the season. Luckily for San Diego, they have a top-10 prospect in CJ Abrams, who may be able to help fill the shoes of Tatis until he returns. While that is all too much to ask of a prospect who has yet to make any significant contribution to the MLB roster, it is certainly a help. The Padres also lost key pieces in Matt Strahm, Mark Melancon, Daniel Hudson, and Tommy Pham to free agency. However, that is where the losses end, as they traded for power-hitting first baseman Luke Voit and signed pitchers Nick Martinez and Luis Garcia in the offseason.

Another point to be made is that the Padres will be getting Mike Clevinger back and, hopefully, fully healthy. Clevinger is a dominant pitcher who can provide a great lift to that struggling rotation.

In 2021, the Padres started off hot and became ice cold for the second half of the season. For 2022, I expect the exact opposite, as I think the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. in June or July will provide a spark for them to clinch a playoff spot, finishing with a record of 87-75.

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