This is the toughest group to evaluate. All of the squads are all around the same level. If the deal for Chapman the Dodgers made went through, it would be no question. However, since they didn’t, it’s still as close as ever.
The Dodgers have some nice pieces. Kenley Jansen is a hard throwing righty who has saved 35+ games in each of the last two years. He also has never had an ERA at or above 3.00, or a FIP at or above 2.50. He is likely going to be a top 5 closer in baseball, and will be very very good. Veteran J.P. Howell will also anchor the back end of games for the Dodgers. He had a career year last year, throwing to a 1.43 ERA and 3.34 FIP. He had been very good for the Dodgers since joining them in 2013. Luis Avilan struggled after joining the Dodgers, going 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA in 23 games. Before joining the Dodgers, Avilan was a solid reliever, but he has regressed the past two years. Pedro Baez, a prety decent pitcher who has good stuff will also be back there. Alex Wood, who has been a starter for most all of his career, may not be this season. With all of the pitchers acquired this off-season by the Dodgers, and his struggles last year, he may end up being a reliever. And with the stuff he has, he would end up being a rather good one.
The D-Backs improved their pen a bit this off-season. They added Tyler Clippard, who has been one of the best right handed relievers in the game during his career. He has a career 2.88 ERA, and a 3.72 FIP. He started some games in his first two years in the beginning of his career, so he would be able to give the D-Backs that if they absolutely need it. Clippard has also been a star closer, though he probably won’t be doing that in Arizona. Brad Zielger will take the closing duties for Arizona. He had an absolutely stellar season in 2015, closing 30 games in 32 opportunities, along with a 1.85 ERA. They might have the weakest bullpen of the three because they don’t necessarily have the depth of the others.
The Giants may have the most depth in the pen, and they are probably the youngest, too. Veteran Santiago Casilla will once again assume the closer role. He closed 38 games with a 2.79 ERA and was a very good closer. And in 2014, while he only closed 19 games, he had a 1.70 ERA. The Giants are coming into the 2016 season with a good young core of relievers. Hunter Strickland, who was known for giving up a bunch of homers in the 2014 post season, had an amazing 2015. He throws very, very hard, and posted a 2.45 ERA with a 2.90 FIP in 55 games. Oh, and he also only allowed 4 homers in 51.1 innings. If Casilla ever struggles in the closer role, Strickland would be the best option to back him up.
Mike Broadway, another hard throwing righty, is heading into his sophomore season. He also throws very hard, and has good stuff, but he struggled a tiny bit last year posting a 5.19 ERA in 21 games. Hopefully he can put it together and become a great 1-2 righty tandem with Strickland. Josh Osich is also going into his sophomore season and will be replacing Jeremy Affeldt as a lefty in the pen. He throws mid 90s with a good cutter and change, and posted a 2.20 ERA in 35 games last year. Of course, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez will be solid options as always.
While all bullpens are relatively close to each other, the Giants just slightly come out on top. They have better depth than any of the other teams, and everyone throws about mid 90s. Romo, Casilla, and Lopez will be as good as always, and the sophomore hope to put up great seasons again.
You may notice that I didn’t mention the Rockies or the Padres. Because, frankly, they aren’t really relevant in the division. The Dodgers, D-Backs, and the Giants will all be competing for the division title. The Giants are the best in two of the three biggest team categories. They have some of the best pitching, rotation or bullpen, in all of baseball. Their lineup is very solid, like I said, it’s the best out of all of the World Series teams. It will produce many runs and the pitching will shut everyone down. It is going to be a really fun year, so get ready, Giants fans.