Why the Dodgers and Padres Will be the Most Exciting MLB Teams to Watch in the Near Future

Dodgers Catcher Will Smith (left), and Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (right), will look to lead their respective teams to championships over the next five years

Dodgers’ Catcher Will Smith (left), and Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (right), will look to lead their respective teams to championships over the next five years

I hope that baseball fans in California realize what a great time it is to be alive. We have solidified ourselves as the premier destination for talented baseball players and will continue to be at the forefront of baseball for the next several years.


The Intriguing California Baseball Teams

In Studio City, we feature one of the premier high school baseball teams in the country in Harvard Westlake. They have graduated three current MLB starting pitchers and a variety of other talented MLB and college players. 

In Westwood and Santa Barbara, respectively, we feature two outstanding college baseball programs in UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, both of which are currently ranked in the top-25 of all college baseball programs nationally. 

It only makes sense that our professional baseball teams would follow suit. Every one of the state’s five teams can be playoff contenders within the next five years. 

The San Francisco Giants up north have a highly talented group of young players already on their roster. They are currently awaiting the arrivals of prospects such as Marco Luciano, the 16th ranked prospect by MLB pipeline, and Hunter Bishop, the 83rd ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. The Oakland Athletics feature star players Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, who are in line to win MVPs sometime soon, and budding ace pitcher Jesus Luzardo. The Los Angeles Angels have one of the best players to ever live in Mike Trout and feature one of the most exciting baseball players in the game today in two-way star, Shohei Ohtani.

While these teams may be exciting, California baseball’s crème de la crème will be the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres over the next five years. 


The World-Champion Dodgers

The Dodgers, fresh off their first World Series win since 1988, look poised to repeat as champions with the addition of star pitcher Trevor Bauer. Adding Bauer to a rotation featuring future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, future Cy Young award winner Walker Buehler, Former Cy Young award winner David Price, as well as former top prospects Julio Urías and Dustin May, solidifies an already elite rotation.

They not only have the deepest rotation in baseball (rivaled only by that of the Padres), they boast a lineup filled with All-Star caliber hitters. Everyone from Mookie Betts to AJ Pollock can play at an All-Star caliber, and their farm system is no slouch either.

The Dodgers do a tremendous job of developing their players and pride themselves on transforming the careers of guys who often go overlooked by other teams. With the graduation of youth like Will Smith and Gavin Lux from the minors, Dodger fans can eagerly await the arrivals of prospects such as pitcher, Josiah Gray, the 58th ranked prospect by the MLB pipeline and successor to Justin Turner at Third Base, Kody Hoese. 


The Up-and-Coming Padres

However, down South in San Diego, there is a good amount of reason for optimism from a team that hopes to be at the forefront of MLB teams soon. Coming off a season in which they finished with the third-best record in the league, the Padres look poised to make a run at their first NL West division title since 2006. 

The emergence of Fernando Tatis Jr. was a great revelation for the franchise itself and the fans in San Diego. Tatis is one of the most marketable guys in the game. He’s young, hits mammoth home runs, and is one of the league’s best defensive shortstops. Locking him up for the next 14 years at $340 million might be a steal, as he looks to dominate the league over the current Padres’ championship window.

To Tatis’ right in the infield is Manny Machado, one of the best defensive third basemen to play the game. Machado’s glove has never been a question, but his bat has always been suspect. Last year, he put the worries to rest when he slugged 16 home-runs, had 146 weighted runs created plus, and 2.6 Wins Above Replacement. Not that they need any extra help on offense with former All-Stars Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer reigniting their careers in last year’s short season. 

Often, the Padres have struggled to succeed due to a lack of depth on the offensive side. They’ve solved that problem with the emergence of guys like Trent Grisham, Jake Cronenworth, and Tommy Pham. Much of the Dodgers’ success has come because of their depth, and the Padres look to emulate them. 

While pitching has never been the Padre’s strong suit, General Manager AJ Preller went all in this offseason to acquire a bevy of elite arms that can go a long way on their journey to win a championship. 

They acquired three top-of-the-line starting pitchers in Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove. Add that to breakouts Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack, and the Padres now find themselves with one of the best rotations in the game – and that’s not even mentioning McKenzie Gore. Gore is the top pitching prospect in baseball, and scouts say that he could be even more talented than the previous five pitchers mentioned. While Gore will most definitely be kept down due to service time manipulation, he figures to make a significant contribution to the big league club this year and in the next five years.


Dodgers and Padres Over the Next Five Years

The Dodgers and Padres are well-positioned for the next five years. The Padres will have a core of Tatis, Machado, Snell, and Gore for at least the next three years and figure to develop even more talent in their farm system. The Dodgers will feature Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Walker Buehler for at least the next three years and have young talent aplenty to replace any players who might leave in free agency. 

For all the Dodger fans who are concerned about the emergence of the Padres as a real contender, I counter that it’s good for the game of baseball when small-market teams are successful. Too often in the game, small-market teams pity themselves and choose not to spend money on big free agents, or position themselves just barely to sneak in the playoffs and never go all in. The fact that the Padres are successful is good for the game, and it provides the Dodgers with a legitimate elite opponent in the NL West for the first time in a long time. 

Regardless of which team ends up on top at the end of each season, the journey to get there will be highly entertaining. What a time to be a baseball fan in California!


(Photo courtesy of dodgersbeat.com)