National League West

Breakdown and Prediction

I realize this may be a division everyone is most excited about. Given the amount of changes made to many rosters within the division, the anticipation is real. For the past eight seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the champs. That is insane to think about a professional baseball team having that much success for that long. However, could there be a rival that is poised to take the crown as best in the west?

The last time this division had another team win the NL West, they went on to win the World Series. In 2012 the San Francisco Giants finished with a record of 94 – 68 and swept the Detroit Tigers to take home the trophy. In 2014, the Dodgers won the division but the Giants won the World Series, again. The Colorado Rockies have yet to win the division since they joined in 1993. Last time the Arizona Diamondbacks won the division was in 2011 and San Diego Padres have not held the title since 2006. Let’s get into each team and what I predict for the 2021 season.

When it comes to the Colorado Rockies there is a name that typically has been associated with it – Nolan Arenado. That is no longer the case. They traded away the face of the franchise to St. Louis this off season. However, Colorado still has talent. Many think Trevor Story is one of the best shortstops in the game. The 28 year old has a career batting average of .277 and .343 on base percentage. He is a 2x Allstar and 2x Silver Slugger winner in his 5 seasons. Veteran outfielder, Charlie Blackmon, brings leadership to a team that will need it. Blackmon, 34 years old, is a .304 career hitter with 4 Allstar appearances, 2 Silver Slugger awards and 2017 Batting Title. Antonio Senzatela was a bright spot in the rotation last season, posting a 5 – 3 record and 3.44 ERA. The Rockies have a long way to go to be able to compete in this deep division. I see them finishing last in 2021.

Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants were a force in this division not that long ago winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Since then they have only made the post season one time. The 33 year old catcher, Buster Posey, is still doing his thing. His accolades come close to Mike Trout status. Mike Yastrzemski is a young stud on the rise. The outfielder hit .297 with a .568 slugging percentage last season. Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria bring many years of major league experience to a ball club that is rebuilding. Johnny Cueto made his major league debut in 2008 and is still bringing it. Lefty Alex Wood was added to the staff to bring some experience to the staff as well. They should find themselves competing in a lot of games but I doubt 2021 is their year.

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks are an interesting team to keep an eye on. The last time they made the post season was 2017. In 2020’s shortened season they finished last with a 25 and 35 record. The team has some intriguing players that could either help bring this team back to the playoffs or be trade pieces at the deadline. One of those players is Madison Bumgarner. The 31 year old lefty has a career 3.20 ERA and many accomplishments to speak of in his 12 seasons. The bullpen is packed with arms to get through those middle innings. Joakim Soria was brought in to compete for the 9th inning closer role. Offensively they may find themselves struggling to get runs across. Ketel Marte is a talented player who can bring a spark. Left Fielder, David Peralta hit .300 last season and will look to keep that momentum going. I have Arizona finishing in the middle of the pack.

Photo Credit: Matt York/AP

San Diego has entered the chat. Ha Ha. No one would have ever thought the Padres would be such a relevant team like they have become over the past few months. You want to talk about making a splash?!? San Diego has done just that and some. In 2020 they finished second and the year before that, last place. The squad is much improved. First, the pitching staff – holy smokes! Rated as maybe the best in the MLB. On December 29th they went out and traded for both Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. These two were both ‘Aces’ on their former staffs. Darvish posted an 8 – 3 record last season with a 2.01 ERA. Snell went 4 – 2 with a 3.24 ERA. Slam-Diego was coined last year for their offense. I see that continuing again this season. Machado, Hosmer, Myers, Profar and last but certainly not least Tatis Jr. will provide plenty of fireworks in 2021. Fernando Tatis Jr. recently signed a 14 year $340 million deal making him one of the highest paid players in the league. Be ready for excitement.

Photo Credit: Padres

Your reigning World Series Champions – Los Angeles Dodgers. They finally did it. After several years of coming so close, 2020 ended with them popping champagne as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. Welp – the 2021 version may be better. Many familiar faces return to the roster from 2020 and add in new comer – Trevor Bauer. The 2020 NL Cy Young award winner joins an already dominate pitching staff. The 30 year old righty has a career 3.90 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Kershaw, Bauer, Buehler, Price, Urias and May make for a six man rotation that seems to have no weak link. In the batter box they could be just as good. Mookie Betts, 28 year old right fielder, leads a group of talented bats. Betts was league MVP in 2018 also has collected 4 Allstar game appearances, 5 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers and a Batting Title. Cody Bellinger, AJ Pollock, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Max Muncy provide an explosive order from top to bottom. This team will be dangerous.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin

This division is going to be fun to watch all season. Possibly two of the best teams in the National League in the same division. Los Angeles and San Diego are going to go blow for blow all year long. At the end, I see a single game separating the two. Give me the Dodgers by a slim margin. Strap up – it is going to be a fun ride.

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