For the first time in I don't know how many years, I haven't bought a baseball preview magazine. I peeked through it the last time I was in the supermarket, and the one I picked up didn't even have the Johan Santana deal. So I figure, why bother? And I also figure, why don't I just write my own. So this week I'll quickly preview each of the divisions, culminating in my playoff picks and my award winners. Today we look at the National League West.
You know what? The National League West might be one of the tougher divisions in baseball. The NL East has three of the best teams in the league, possibly the three best, but the other two are going to be among the worst in baseball. The American League East is similar. But the National League West, the more I think about it, has four very good teams. Last year it was the only division in baseball with four teams above .500, and don't forget that it took a 163rd game to eliminate one of the top three teams from the playoffs. I expect more of the same this year as far as competitiveness.
Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. The San Francisco Giants will be awful. Aaron Rowand was a nice addition, but, um.....yeah. Bengie Molina is their cleanup hitter. Moving on.
The fourth place team, I think, will be the San Diego Padres. And they're pretty good. They have a very good pitching staff, and I think it will be a tight 3-4 finish between San Diego and last year's National League champion, the Colorado Rockies. I think it's a step backward for Colorado, but I still think they'll finish with about 85 wins.
I think the Dodgers get the "most improved" award for the division. They were kind of hurt by injuries last year, and it's looking like they might have been bitten a bit by the injury bug again this year, but they should be good. I expect them to be more like the wild card-winning team of two years ago than the 82-80 team of last year.
But I think the Arizona Diamondbacks bounce back from an unimpressive performance in the NLCS to defend their division crown. The thing about them from last year is that they are so young, and if Randy Johnson contributes anything, that could only help. I think they'd be fine without him: