I’m big on the Giants. Yep, I’m HUGE on the Giants.
They’ve got a full year of Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and they’ve got some potential breakthrough talent (Brandon Belt). Even if Huff drops off a bit this year, they still have the makings of a 95-win team in that division, so somebody has to come knock them off to take the title. That said, look at how long it took them to put it all together last year. If not for a waiver pickup in Ross, they probably don’t even make the playoffs, so this team doesn’t have “potential dynasty” written all over it quite yet.
Besides, the Dodgers, Padres, and Rockies aren’t going to collectively roll over and play dead. Sure, the Padres lost Adrian Gonzalez, but they picked up a lot of pieces over the last few years, and they have a lot of low-cost assets that could be moved…or left to mature. Either way, the Padres aren’t just fodder this year, because they boast a potentially upgraded infield and some young talent in the outfield (along with possibly a rebound year from Ryan Ludwick). They also still have a pretty darn good bullpen to lockdown the end of games. The Dodgers made some moves here and there which weren’t of the “big splash” variety necessarily, but they did smooth over some weak spots, and they won’t be an easy out this season. They may not throw out all aces in their rotation, but they’ve improved enough to leapfrog the Padres in my projections. Snagging Jon Garland away from their division rivals had a lot to do with that, though.
I think the NL West promises to be the same kind of race the NL Central should be, but the quality of the division top-to-bottom is slightly better. The only question is whether or not the Diamondbacks will win more games than the Pirates this season.