What scouts like -- and don't like -- in NL West

May 9th, 2019

It’s still too early in the season to make hard and fast judgments about your favorite team -- remember, last year at this time, the Dodgers were in fourth place, eight games back, and they went on to play in the World Series for the second straight year.

However, it's a good time to see what people who spend their lives getting paid for their baseball opinions have to say about what they’ve seen so far.

With that in mind, MLB.com spoke to three scouts -- two American League and one National League -- to see what they like and don’t like so far about each of the NL West teams.


What they like: “I think the roster is put together pretty well. I’m not a big fan of the catching situation, but outside of that, the way they’ve been able to use [Ketel] Marte and just been able to move pieces around a little bit -- [Eduardo] Escobar has got flexibility. [Christian] Walker is off to a great start. I was a big fan of the addition, because I think it gives them an alpha in the clubhouse that they needed.” -- AL scout

What they don’t: “I think it would be the back end of the rotation and maybe that soft underbelly of the bullpen is the big glaring weakness. Maybe some of that stuff gets kind of taken care of when they get guys back like . I want to see what happens with [Greg] Holland. He’s throwing really well right now, but he petered out in Colorado in ’17 in the second half. We’ll have to see.” -- AL scout


What they like: “I really liked the approach that [Cody] Bellinger and had coming out of the chute. Their swings were short, they were playing with energy. The young core of left-handed bats they have is special. They’ve got back on the field, and that makes a difference. For me, I think they run away with the West this year.” -- NL scout

What they don’t: “I don’t like their middle relief. There’s just something missing there. They have to find a way to bridge it between the starters and [Kenley] Jansen. I think the league has seen enough of Pedro Baez at this point to know what he’s bringing. Even with Jansen, you see the right-handed hitters choking up more, and they’re putting a little bit better swings against that cutter.” -- NL scout


What they like:[Madison] Bumgarner is pitching well and looks like he’s back. He’s just an animal. One thing they have working for them is that they have the money to take on contracts and things like that to keep them afloat while they rebuild. They can also get guys, because people like playing in San Francisco. It’s a good environment to play in.” -- AL scout

What they don’t: “They’re just really old and slow, and it looks to me like they’re going to have to take some time to rebuild the thing. They need to get younger and more athletic all the way around. I don’t think their system is very strong. They have to find a way to build that back up. It could take a while.” -- AL scout


What they like: “They have a nice group of young players with some veterans mixed in. They’re like that little brother that wants to show they’re ready, and so they’re going to fight the heck out of teams this year. You put that lineup with [Manny] Machado, [Eric] Hosmer and [Wil] Myers and you add [Fernando] Tatis [Jr.] to it, they could do some damage. Don’t forget about [Hunter] Renfroe too. They’ve got some interesting guys. If the young power arms come through, look out.” -- NL scout

What they don’t: “Their starting pitching is really inexperienced and could have its struggles. There’s a lot of talent there, but it could take some time before these guys show they can do it at the big league level. You can see the makings of a good rotation in the future. I don’t love their bullpen.” -- NL scout


What they like: “I really think they’re a team as the season unfolds this is a team that’s going to be in contention because of the type of players they have. They arguably have the best left side of the infield in baseball with [Nolan] Arenado and [Trevor] Story. I think they have some good young starting pitching. I like [Kyle] Freeland and [German] Marquez a lot. They have young guys that can really pitch for them.” -- AL scout

What they don’t: “Their middle relief is probably the weakest part of their game. They definitely miss [Adam] Ottavino a lot. Not just his stuff, but what he brings to the clubhouse with the way he kept people accountable. I don’t think they have a replacement for him. [Wade] Davis is OK, but he’s not dominant.” -- AL scout