Thursday, April 11, 2013

NL West Preview

1st Place--Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 Record: 86-76
2012 Pythagorean: 86-76
2013 Projected: 93-69
Matt Kemp has an MVP-type season to lead an explosive Dodgers' lineup that gets nice bounceback years from Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. Clayton Kershaw continues drawing comparisons to Sandy Koufax, and Zack Greinke has his best season since winning the Cy Young in 2009. Josh Beckett can't be any worse than he was last year. The roster lacks depth, which means LA is particularly vulnerable to injuries, but I like their chances of winning the division.

2nd Place--San Francisco Giants
2012 Record: 94-68
2012 Pythagorean: 88-74
2013 Projected: 91-71
Buster Posey and Angel Pagan regress, but Pablo Sandoval stays healthy. Full seasons from Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro help. Brandon Belt breaks out. Ryan Vogelsong's numbers take a hit, but Tim Lincecum's improve. The reigning World Series champs will be tough to beat, and it wouldn't surprise me if they beat out Los Angeles for the division crown again.

3rd Place--Arizona Diamondbacks
2012 Record: 81-81
2012 Pythagorean: 86-76
2013 Projected 85-77
It's already evident they made a massive mistake trading Justin Upton, but at least Martin Prado is a valuable player. Ian Kennedy improves on his disappointing 2012 to provide James Shields-esque production, and Paul Goldschmidt takes a big step forward. Aaron Hill proves last season's resurgence was for real. There's 90 win potential here if everything clicks.

4th Place--San Diego Padres
2012 Record: 76-86
2012 Pythagorean: 75-87
2013 Projected: 74-88
Chase Headley isn't going to be anything close to the MVP-caliber player he was in 2012. Cameron Maybin improves.

5th Place--Colorado Rockies
2012 Record: 64-98
2012 Pythagorean: 69-93
2013 Projected: 71-91
There's no pitching here, but the lineup sure can mash. Expect a big rebound year from Troy Tulowitzki and more good things from Dexter Fowler (the NL's Austin Jackson) and Carlos Gonzalez. Too bad Todd Helton's past his prime...

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