By the time this article is published, the National League (NL) West will have featured some of the most highly-contested baseball action this season. With it only being May, the 2022 MLB season is still fairly young, but out west, the bats are alive and featuring some fantastic action on the basepaths. As of this writing, the Los Angeles Dodgers (20-9) are the current leaders of the pack followed by the Padres (20-12), Giants (19-12), Diamondbacks (17-15) and Rockies (16-15). With the squads tightly bunched together at this juncture, the battle for the divisional crown will be a hard-fought one this year.
For this article, SBS will go over what each team brings to the table and who will ultimately take home the NL West title later this season.
|Choices to win the 2022 NL West Title|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-260|
|San Diego Padres||+425|
|San Francisco Giants||+475|
Coming off a 106-win season in 2021, the Dodgers again have one of the most stacked rosters in baseball. Led by the trio of Mookie Betts (26 runs), Trea Turner (20 RBI’s) and Freddie Freeman (.323 batting average), Los Angeles certainly has the talent to make another divisional crown run. Also thanks to a solid pitching rotation of Walker Buehler (a Cy Young favorite), Clayton Kershaw (a multiple-time Cy Young winner), Julio Urías and Tyler Anderson, the Dodgers are the main favorites until some other team can consistently overtake them.
Currently behind Los Angeles in the standings are the San Diego Padres. Fresh off their first postseason appearance since 2006, San Diego was geared up for big things in 2021 after a fantastic 2020. However, due to injuries and inconsistent management, San Diego fell apart and missed the postseason last year. Nonetheless, the Padres have jumped out to a hot start in 2022 and will be battling the Dodgers and Giants throughout the year. Things should really heat up though when superstar slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. returns to the lineup later this summer.
The reigning NL West champions, the Giants are in the thick of it with San Diego and Los Angeles right now. Currently two games behind the Dodgers for first place in the division, the Giants have been buoyed by the fantastic pitching of early Cy Young favorite, Carlos Rodón (three wins and a 1.17 ERA). Also thanks to some solid early season performances from Giants mainstays like Brandon Crawford (14 hits) and Brandon Belt (.387 OBP), San Francisco is near the top of the division. If they can get some more top-end batting support then they should be in prime position to challenge L.A. once again.
The only division in baseball at this time that features five teams with winning records, the Rockies currently sit in last place in the NL West. Though their record of 16-15 is nothing to laugh at, the Rockies have their work cut out for them if they want to make a divisional title run. If some things break the right way, Colorado could make a charge at the NL West title with sluggers Kris Bryant, C.J. Cron and Garrett Hampson leading the way. The Rockies have also seen a great early season start from pitcher Chad Kuhl who has a 3-0 record along with a 1.90 ERA.
Our last team spotlight, the Diamondbacks surprisingly have the fourth-best record in the division, with a solid winning record of 17-15. Thanks to the pitching duo, a resilient Madison Bumgarner and Zach Davies, the D-Backs have found themselves not far from the top of the NL West. Arizona has a couple of strong homegrown favorites in former Reno Aces Christian Walker and Seth Beer raking up hits for Arizona. Though it is unlikely they win the division, perhaps this is best long-term play in terms of return on investment from an initial wager.
Prediction: In what should another down to the wire race, the NL West champion will most likely be decided in the final week of the season. With that in mind, look for the surprising Padres to win their first NL West crown since 2006.
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