The National League West has belonged to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants over the past few seasons, but an offseason spending spree has brought the Arizona Diamondbacks into the conversation for a division title.
Which team will end up on top? Will the Giants continue their run of winning titles in even-numbered years? Can Zack Greinke bring the Diamondbacks back into the postseason?
1 San Francisco Giants
It’s common knowledge in baseball circles that the Giants have won the World Series in the last three even-numbered years, but it’s more than just that trend that leads us to pick the Giants to rise to the top of the NL West.
The team is banking on two big-name acquisitions to team up with Madison Bumgarner for a solid rotation, with Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija both joining the mix in the Bay Area. Those moves lower the pressure on Jake Peavy and Matt Cain considerably, and they should thrive with a less-intense role in the rotation.
As for the team’s offense, they have good balance in their lineup thanks to guys like Matt Duffy, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence, and they also could get a fresh injection of life from Denard Span, as the center fielder could end up batting lead-off for Bruce Bochy’s team.
All of that being said, the West is a wide-open division this year, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks both providing some tough opposition.
2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Andrew Friedman is slowly remaking the Dodgers into his image, and he got that process kickstarted by dumping Don Mattingly and bringing in Dave Roberts to manage the club.
A wealth of young talent should help the Dodgers remain a truly competitive team, with players like Corey Seager and Joc Pederson ready to make an impact. Veterans like Adrian Gonzalez will help to keep things on an even keel, and franky any team with Clayton Kershaw should at least be competitive.
3 Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had arguably the most fascinating offseason of any team in baseball, seemingly coming out of nowhere to sign Zack Greinke to a massive free agent contract and then turning around and dealing a king’s ransom to the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller to further boost their rotation.
The team also acquired Jean Segura to help anchor down the middle of their infield, and that move already looks like it’s paying dividends as he tears through Cactus League action.
Add in a perennial MVP candidate in Paul Goldschmidt, a lightning-quick center fielder in A.J. Pollock, and a willingness by the front office to make bold moves, and this team will definitely be one to watch this season.
4 San Diego Padres
The Padres replaced Craig Kimbrel with Fernando Rodney, and they brought in Jon Jay and Alexei Ramirez to help fill in holes in their lineup.
Those moves may not have the splash appeal of the moves the team made before the 2015 season, but that’s the point. Lower-key acquisitions carry significantly less risk, and while this team is hardly likely to be a serious contender this year, players like Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner could help to keep them around the race despite playing in a tough division.
5 Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are seemingly in no-man’s land at the moment, with some talented youngsters consistently making highlight reels, but also featuring a pitching rotation that hardly moves the excitement meter.
Even with that in mind, there will be reasons to watch the Rockies this season. Nolan Arenado is one of the most exciting young players in the game today, and Charlie Blackmon could create some fireworks at Coors Field this season.