NL West

When the D-backs traded for Curt Schilling near the deadline last season, many people gave them the NL West.  However, there lack of starting pitching depth was exposed and the deeper Giants blew past them on the way to the best record in baseball.  Unfortunately, the magic (or the logic, depending on how you view Dusty Baker's choice of pitchers when facing elimination) ran out on the Giants, and the NL West was sitting at home watching the NLCS on TV for the second straight year.  This season promises to be a much more interesting race as these teams as they face each other nearly 20 times apiece.  Last year, the only division matchups that one team won by more than two games was LA-Colorado (the Dodgers won 9 of the 13 matchups) and Arizona-San Diego (the D-backs won 9 as well).  Every other season series was decided by 2 games or less.

San Francisco Giants

Arizona Diamondbacks

Los Angeles Dodgers

Colorado Rockies

San Diego Padres


Everything went right for the Giants in the second half of last season.  Even if that were to happen again, the losses of Burks and Mueller will keep them close to the pack.  The Diamondbacks are a year closer to retirement on offense and the back of their rotation is a big weakness.  In a short playoff series that wouldn't be a great concern, but over a 162-games season, that is crucial.  The Dodgers still don't have an offense and may have actually gotten worse this offseason.  But their pitching has the talent to be quite formidable and if the rulebook strikezone is called consistently all season, that might be enough to keep them in the hunt until temporary repairs to the offense can be made.  The Rockies made news with the big contracts they handed out this offseason.  The Hampton signing will be a big help to their rotation and could be the test case to show how to pitch in the thin air of Colorado.  However, their other high profile signings look ill-conceived and could cause as many problems as Hampton might solve.  The Padres are in rebuilding mode, waiting for a tremendous influx of young talent that should arrive about the same time as their new ballpark opens in 2003.  Until then, they will merely be sorting out which quality pieces they already have to a championship puzzle.


1) Colorado
2) Los Angeles
3) San Francisco
4) Arizona
5) San Diego