September 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Shane Victorino (8) and right fielder Andre Ethier (16) celebrate with teammates following an 8-4 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Expect a tight divisional race this season with the divisional crown coming down to the wire. Their should be a lot of parity in the division and a whole lot of memorable moments. I believe the National League West will be the tightest division in baseball. That said, here is my 2013 National League West predictions.
Los Angeles Dodgers – It pains me greatly to write this. I would rather stick a million needles in my eye than to say the Los Angeles Dodgers are my National League West Champions. Unfortunately, I can’t find a million needles anywhere. God I hate the Dodgers!
Being the journalist that I am, I must put all my biases and prejudices aside. That said, I have the DDDDDOd (gage)gers as my 2013 NL Western Division Champions (puke!)
I just have to give credit where credit is do. The Dodgers went on a shopping spree this off-season to improve their team. They signed Zack Greinke for six-years at $ 147 million, and Korean phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu signed on the dotted line for a six-year $36 million deal.
The Dodgers’ lineup is loaded with Superstars. Adrian Gonzalez is the best pure hitter on that team. Matt Kemp is an MVP caliber player; Andre Ethier is pretty darn good and catcher A.J. Ellis is just starting to come into in his own.
The starting rotation is just as potent. Leading the way for the Dodgers is 2011 NL CY Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. Greinke could be an ace with any other club, but in Los Angeles, he is the No. 2 guy. A lot of hype surrounds Ryu and Aaron Harang (if not traded by Opening Day) is a decent starter.
The relief corp is suspect and could cost them a few games. However, I don’t see the relief pitching being much of an issue because the lineup and starting pitching will carry this team to the division crown.
Prediction: The Dodgers will win the division with a record of 97-65.
San Diego Padres – Ok, perhaps my biases did come into play here. I really believe in this year’s Padres team. They are going to surprise many people – if they can stay healthy, of course. The team finished strong last year and I expect the momentum to carry over in 2013.
The starting pitching could use some help; however, I believe they will do just enough to land the Padres a second place finish in the NL West and secure a NL Wild Card spot. The Padres are not my divisional champs, but they sure are my World Series champions.
This team is young; now that a lot of these young players have a year under their belt they should be much improved. Oh yeah! I can’t forget about Jedd Gyorko. If Gyorko makes the Opening Day roster, he will be a huge asset to the line up.
Prediction: The Padres will finish in second place in the NL West with a 92-70 record.
San Francisco Giants – This prediction is made on my hunch alone. I have no other reasons as to why the Giants will finish in third place. The Giants have a good starting rotation and a clutch offense.
I guess I am tired of seeing the Giants win all the time. Although I am a Bruce Bochy fan and wish him more success. The Giants will finish third in the National League West, but they wont go down without a fight.
Prediction: The Giants are the third place team in the National League West with an 88-74 record.
Arizona Diamondbacks – No Justin Upton, no winning record. That’s the way I see it. Upton had a down year last year, but his talent is too good to write him off, which of course is what the Diamondbacks did. Upton was the D-Backs’ best player and they got rid of him.
I like the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy. While the starting pitching and bullpen looks good, the team from the Grand Canyon State will have a tough time scoring runs, which will ultimately lead to a fourth place finish.
Prediction: The Arizona Diamondbacks are the fourth place finishers in the NL West with a 79-89 record
Colorado Rockies – The Rockies really have nothing going for them. They have a manager in Walt Weiss, who has no managerial experience. Their farm system is not all that good and their starting rotation is a mess. The Rockies will be in the cellar once more. They have some nice players in Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, but it’s going to require a lot of unknowns to have career years if the Rockies want to compete for the divisional crown.
Prediction: Rockies will be in last place in the National League West with a 71-91 record.