Unfortunately for Padres fans, the National League Western division has become one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. After the Giants traded for former MVP Andrew McCutchen earlier this week, one could make the argument that the NL West is the single best division in baseball.
Let’s start off with the National League defending champions, Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles went 104-58 in 2017, posting the best record in baseball. The Dodgers ranked 2nd in the MLB with a 3.38 team ERA (MLB.com), and 1st in the MLB with a $196,591,904 salary. With MVP candidates like Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers are the clear favorites to win the West.
The Arizona Diamondbacks had a very impressive 2017 season. Arizona finished with a 93-69 record and won the #1 seed for the NL Wild Card. The D-Backs finished with a 3.66 team ERA in 2017 (3rd in MLB). MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt led the team with 36 home runs and 120 RBI’s. Meanwhile, LHP Robbie Ray took the NL West by storm by posting a 2.89 ERA and recording 218 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see if Arizona can maintain their success without star free agent J.D. Martinez.
Colorado is another NL West team that had a surprising 2017 season. The Rockies finished the season by capturing the second NL Wild Card seed, but ended up losing to Arizona in a one-game playoff.
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As a team, Colorado hit .273 in 2017 (2nd in MLB). With offseason bullpen acquisitions of Bryan Shaw, Wade Davis, and Jake McGee, the Rockies will have a much more balanced attack in 2018. Expect another monster year from 2017 MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon.
Despite finishing the 2017 season with a 64-98 record, the Giants are a serious force to be reckoned with in the NL West. San Francisco added serious offense to their lineup by adding all-stars Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. With a healthy Madison Bumgarner, the Giants have become a major playoff contender yet again. Let’s not forget, San Fransisco has won the World Series a remarkable 3 times in the past 7 seasons.
Lastly, we have the San Diego Padres. The Padres ranked dead last in the MLB with a team .234 batting average in 2017. Thankfully, San Diego made some moves in the offseason by adding former All-Star 3B Chase Headley, and former Phillies SS Freddy Galvis. The Padres also added depth to their bullpen by adding Japanese submariner Kazuhisa Makita. If the Padres can sign free agent Eric Hosmer, they could become a threat to the other powerful teams of the NL West. As of right now, 2018 will be a difficult year for the Padres to contend in such an elite division.