N.L West is Stacked

Coming into the season the N.L. West is stacked and looking primed for an epic battle for first place. The Dodgers being favorites with the Giants being last years winners with 107 total wins. The San Diego Padres spiraled themselves out of a .500 win percentage finishing 79-83. Colorado Rockies found themselves a big pick up with Khris Bryant signing a deal worth $182 million for seven years. The Arizona Diamondbacks will need help from their savvy veterans and upcoming prospects. The N.L. West is one of the tougher divisions in the MLB coming off an historic win percentage for the top two teams last year. The Giants and Dodgers each won over 100 games, last time that happened was in 2001; Yankees and Athletics. Now that April is over both the Dodgers and Giants are on pace to win over 100 games agin. However, the Padres are looking to make the playoffs as well and on pace to win 90 games themselves. Colorado and the Diamondbacks will end being the punching bag for these world series contenders as they find themselves in a stacked division.

Dodgers

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angles Dodgers are still a powerhouse team with a lineup that is stacked all the way through. Dodgers picked up Freddie Freeman in free agency this offseason to fortify themselves as an offensive juggernaut. The only conceivable hole in their roster is the starting pitching and it’s not even a big hole. It just looks a little more thin then years pass. No more Max Scherzer, who went to the Mets. Trevor Bauer will most likely never play another major league game due to off field problems. Although he was not found guilty on criminal charges his pubic relations reputation is in the gutters. Personally I think its well deserved and Bauer is BAD person. However, the Dodgers will be off the hook for paying him at least 60 Million the next three years.

Dustin May should be back this year maybe as early as this month. Cody Bellinger is hitting the ball much better this year already. Bellinger has hit four homeruns already but his batting average is .208. Justin turner is starting out slow but he wont do that for an entire season. Mookie Betts had himself a slow start but he is no slouch and will find himself. Trea Turner is hitting at a high level and still has those graceful slides down. Overall the Dodgers will be the favorites this entire year to win the division.

Giants

The San Francisco Giants have to deserve our respect as they won 107 games last year to take first place in the N.L. West. They did it with clutch hitting and really good pitching. Giants did lose a star pitcher in Kevin Gausman but they picked up Alex Cobb. Buster Posey retired and the shoes couldn’t get bigger to fill for Joey Bart. So far this season Giants have caught the injury bug though. Anthony DeSclafani, LaMonte Wade Jr., Tommy La Stella, and Evan Longoria are all currently on the injured list. Those are so big names for the Giants. Not to mention Joc Pederson was on the IL for a groin injury already this year. Groin injuries are notorious for a long and nagging recovery.

However, the Giants next man up mentality is rooted deep in this ball club and it seems whoever fills the void for the Giants becomes a instant stud. Gabe Kepler got the manager of the year reward last year with his effort to get to that 107 win mark. Kepler loves to play the matchup game with the opposing teams and isn’t shy to pinch hit at any point in the game. The entire organization knows how to develop talent and how to make the most of guys skills. Last year was no fluke and I would expect the Giants to be at the top of the division again this year. With that said, no team can out play an injury bug and currently the Giants have it.

Padres

Photo by: Ross D. Franklin/AP

The San Diego Padres had a huge pick up this offseason and it wasn’t a star player. Bob Melvin the Oakland Athletics manager last year decided to come down south and take over the helm in San Diego. Melvin has won the manager of the year award twice, once in 2007 and again in 2012. Melvin is said to be that even keeled guy that never gets to low or to high with his clubs. This was seen on day one of spring training when baseball learned Fernando Tatís Jr. suffered a wrist injury and underwent surgery. This injury for Tatís will have him out until June, at least. The clubhouses morale didn’t take a hit as they have started off hot and look to continue that hot streak.

Padres pitching staff is looking very good as they picked up Sean Manea from the Athletics right before opening day. Mike Clevinger is back from his second tommy john surgery and the long awaited debut of Mackenzie Gore has finally come. Not to mention Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell will be looking to continue their tenures with the Padres. The bullpen might look a little shaky at the beginning of the season but Bob Melvin will find who he trusts most and that should settle down the back end of the pitching staff.

Who Will Win This Division?

The easy bet on who is going to win this division is the Dodgers. That lineup on a nightly basis will have three former M.V.P’s in it. The starting rotation is still nasty even while losing a couple big arms. The Giants will offer some value in the futures market as well as the Padres but I wouldn’t feel safe putting money on them. I see one way the Dodgers lose this division and it’s only if the suffer some major injuries and Dave Roberts tries to over manage his roster. Even if that happens the Padres and Giants will be looking up at the Dodgers. Maybe with Fernando Tatís Jr. coming back will give the Padres a huge spike in morale and they go on a historic run but they will have to prove it.

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