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2014 MLB National League West Division Preview

2014 MLB National League West Division Preview

After a strong offseason, the Dodgers are favored (+550) to win their first World Series title since 1988. But other National League teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants have also made strong moves between seasons and figure to be the Dodgers’ stiffest competition in the National League West.

In the meantime, the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies look to stay healthy and become one of the perennial surprises in the major leagues this season. So who will come out on top? We break down the stats and odds on all five NL West teams below.

NL West Division Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers (+550)

2013 Season Record: 92-70

[sc:MLB240banner ]A payroll that exceeds $224 million means it’s winning time in L.A. this season, or it better be. The Dodgers’ deep starting rotation is unquestionably the team’s biggest asset. They signed 2013 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (1.83 ERA in 2013) to the biggest deal in MLB history this offseason, a seven-year, $215 million dollar extension. They also have Zach Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Maholm, and Josh Beckett working behind Kershaw – pitchers  who could easily be top of the rotation arms in other teams.

The talent level on the batting lineup is not far behind with Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzales.  And if Matt Kemp is 100% healthy, the Dodgers are set to surpass the paltry 649 runs they produced last season. Buckle up, baseball fans. The Dodgers are for real.

Arizona Diamondbacks (+4,000)

2013 Season Record: 81-81

The acquisition of Mark Trumbo (.234 BA /32 HRs/100 RBIs in 2013) has improved Arizona’s chances of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011. The team had 645 runs last season, the third fewest in franchise history, and having a hitter like Trumbo partner with Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup should boost run production in 2014. Another major addition is Bronson Arroyo (3.79 ERA, 14-12 in 2013), who’s projected to be in the middle of the starting rotation.

San Francisco Giants (+1,800)

2013 Season Record: 76-86

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, MLB, San Francisco Giants

The Giants have won two World Series titles since 2010 largely because of their great pitching staff. However, the pitching that made them a force to reckon with has since regressed. San Francisco’s ERA went from the NL-best 3.36 ERA in 2010 down to 4.00 in 2013, third worst in the league.

Just the same, the Giants’ fortunes remain hinged on their starting rotation. The team declined Barry Zito’s 2014 option, and Zito has been replaced by former Atlanta Brave Tim Hudson (3.97 ERA in 2013) who will join a still-formidable cast of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in the starting rotation.

San Diego Padres (+6,000)

2013 Season Record: 76-86

Winning the division is a dream that won’t come true for the Padres, at least in 2014. Still, a couple of additions by General Manager Josh Byrnes in the pitching staff could see his team sneakily compete for a wild card spot.

First, Byrnes signed Josh Johnson (3.40 ERA, 58-45 in career) to a one-year, $8 million contract. If Johnson could rediscover the form that made him one of the best hurlers in the National League, the trio he’d be forming with Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner could turn some heads in the NL West. Byrnes also tinkered with the bullpen and added serviceable relievers in Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street for insurance in the late innings.

Colorado Rockies (+8,000)

2013 Season Record: 74-88

Troy Tulowitzki . Colorado Rockies, MLB

Life without Todd Helton begins this season for the Rockies, who will be trying to avoid another last-place finish in the NL West. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are outstanding ballplayers but neither played more than 126 games last season. If Rockies can remain healthy, a batting order with Tulowitzki and Gonzales plus Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario could produce a nice load of runs. Last season, the Rockies were second in the NL in runs with 706, despite an assortment of injuries to their stars.

Major League Baseball’s first regular season game is just three weeks away. Get ready for the big leagues with our look at How to Bet on MLB Win Totals, as well as our feature on Who Will Win the World Series, and bet on baseball with Top Bet, America’s best online sportsbook.

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Written by Rex

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