It will be interesting to see if the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies have enough to take this division title away from the defending World Series champions.
San Francisco Giants 91-71
For all the talk that Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will receive in Philadelphia we should not ignore the potent 1-2 punch the Giants have with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Lincecum and Cain were a combined 6-1 in the postseason with a 1.55 ERA in 8 starts. The rotation does not drop off much after those two, and having Brian Wilson closing games will make it tough to score runs on the Giants. Of course the Giants will have trouble scoring runs themselves, but the pitching alone will guide them into the playoffs.
Colorado Rockies 87-75
The Rockies finished last season 1-13 to finish nine games out of first after being within a game in mid-September. Even with the collapse the Rockies did little this off-season to shake things up, and instead decided to stick with a team and manager that got them into the 2009 playoffs. They have the offense and starting pitching to contend for most of the season, but a shaky bullpen could be the Rockies downfall this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers 81-81
The beginning of the Don Mattingly era in Los Angeles will get off to a mediocre start. Even with Manny Ramirez gone, and Clayton Kershaw on the mound the Dodgers will still have trouble winning games. Some big off-season moves to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda and sign Ted Lilly will need to pay-off for the Dodgers to win this title or make the playoffs. It does not help that the messy divorce proceedings of owner Frank McCourt have put some limitations on spending for the club.
San Diego Padres 72-90
Last season the Padres hung around the top of the division for longer than anyone expected. This season the Padres will come back to earth. The trade of slugger Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, and the free agent losses of Jon Garland and Kevin Correia will definitely make 2011 a tough season in San Diego. The offense struggled last season with Gonzalez and does not have anyone on the roster this season that hit over .288 or 13 home runs in 2010.
Arizona Diamondbacks 62-100
In full disclosure Kirk Gibson was my favorite player growing up, so it pains me to place the Diamondbacks in last place. Gibson’s first full season with Arizona is going to be a long one. The big off-season addition for this club was reliever JJ Putz who is probably past his prime, but the Diamonbacks are hoping he can resurrect his career. The rotation is weak and so is the offense. In fact, the bench might have more firepower on it than the roster with Don Baylor, Matt Williams, Alan Trammell and Gibson all on the coaching staff.
NL West MVP: Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco
NL West Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco
NL West ROY: Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco