1. NL West
While the NL East might be the toughest division. The NL West is certainly the most confusing division. At the top are the Dodgers who are the favorite to make it out of the NL, considering the recent trade to acquire Mookie Betts. This adds to an already stacked lineup and they are sure to be the favorite to win the NL West this year.
Then comes the Diamondbacks and Padres. Each of these teams made very notable off-season moves to bolster their teams respectively.
The Padres are trying to prevent being the bottom feeders of the division once again and made deals with a plethora of mid-tier pitchers such as Zach Davies, Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranz, Jerad Eickhoff, and Kyle Barraclough. Even if only two out of these five pitchers reach their potential, it will greatly help a weak pitching staff that was headlined by rookie standout Chris Paddack and not much top talent after him. Unfortunately for San Diego, they lost a few key pieces from last year. Manuel Margot was shipped off, Hunter Renfroe, Luis Urias and Ian Kinsler all are no longer on this roster.
Overall, the Padres roster has certainly improved, but not enough for me to consider them legitimate contenders in the NL West, and the NL Wild Card race.
On the other hand, the Diamondbacks are a team that has the potential to battle the Dodgers for the NL West crown, and certainly will be in the Wild Card race. Their off-season has made front page news, as they were able to sign Madison Bumgarner and trade for Starling Marte. They also made some under-the-radar signings with Kole Calhoun, Stephen Vogt, Hector Rondon, and Junior Guerra. Some might argue that these signings and trade acquisitions are for assets that are past their prime. However, in a 60-game season these players won’t have the usual wear-and-tear that a 162-game season entails. Expect these veterans to perform at an incredibly high level for the entirety of the season.
Don’t forget that last year, Arizona went 85-77 and just missed out on a wildcard spot. This was right after they dealt away two of their star players in Zach Grienke and Paul Goldschmidt.
Finally, we get to Colorado and San Francisco. Let’s start with what Colorado did, or more so what they did not do. The Rockies essentially had no major off-season acquisitions or trades. Their MLB roster remains pretty much the exact same. The only news that came from the Rockies was the extension of Trevor Story. This was the same team that lost 91 games last year, and without anything changing for them, I expect this team to be in the bottom of the division when the season comes to an end.
Lastly, the San Francisco Giants. Their off-season is most noted for the loss of Madison Bumgarner, to the Diamondbacks, and Kevin Pillar. They also lost Will Smith, Kyle Barraclough, and Stephen Vogt. It seems that everyone left the Giants to play with one of their rivals. They tried to replace these players with old veterans who might have one or two good seasons left. In my opinion, they just signed warm bodies to fill the holes in the roster for this year. I expect them to be big time sellers at the trade deadline.
NL West Predicted Standings
1. LA Dodgers 39-11 (O/U – 38)
2. Arizona Diamondbacks 33-17 (O/U – 31)
3. San Diego Padres 29-31 (O/U – 30.5)
4. San Francisco Giants 25-35 (O/U – 25)
5. Colorado Rockies 24-36 (O/U – 27.5)
The NL West is sure to be an interesting division, and one that I look forward to seeing how it turns out. With that being said, I believe the lines on both the Diamondbacks and the Rockies are not where they should be. The Diamondbacks had one the better off-seasons in the MLB, and I expect them to exploit a fairly weak schedule. The Rockies did absolutely nothing to improve a weak team, and with everyone in their division improving (not including the Giants), they should take yet another step back.