Everything you need to know about the NL West

L to R (Getty Images): Ronald Martinez/Matt Thomas/Justin Edmonds

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Although it's top-heavy, there is arguably no division expected to be more entertaining than the NL West. As the Dodgers attempt to forge a dynasty in search of their ninth straight division title, the Padres will look to play spoiler - and perhaps more so - as the franchise seeks their first championship. Here's how the entire division unfolds:

Arizona Diamondbacks

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2020 record: 25-35 (5th in NL West)
Payroll: $109.1M
O/U win total: 78
World Series odds: +8500
3-year trend: 2018 (3rd); 2019 (2nd); 2020 (5th)
Highest projected WAR: Ketel Marte (3.3)
X-factor: Caleb Smith
Key injuries: Kole Calhoun, Tyler Clippard, Zac Gallen
Prospect to watch: Geraldo Perdomo (MLB.com: No. 79)
Winter report card: C-

Projected Lineup

ORDER PLAYER POS. PROJ. WAR
1 David Peralta (L) LF 1.0
2 Ketel Marte (S) CF 3.3
3 Eduardo Escobar (S) 3B 1.1
4 Christian Walker 1B 0.8
5 Josh Rojas (L) 2B 0.4
6 Carson Kelly C 1.7
7 Pavin Smith (L) RF 0.1
8 Nick Ahmed SS 1.3

Bench

PLAYER POS PROJ. WAR
Stephen Vogt (L) C 0.1
Asdrubal Cabrera (S) IF 0.2
Tim Locastro OF 0.1
Wyatt Mathisen IF 0.0
Josh VanMeter (L) 2B/OF 0.1

The Diamondbacks are a bit of a wild card. A lot of their results will depend on how players bounce back after a rough 2020 and which prospects the club promotes. If Marte and Escobar can rebound from terrible campaigns last year (accruing 0.4 and minus-0.5 WAR, respectively), then they might actually stay in the playoff picture. Losing Calhoun, who was by far the best position player last year, hurts. But adding Smith - who hit 23 homers over 243 games between Single-A and Double-A - to the outfield could mitigate that. If anyone else in the outfield falters, could the D-Backs call on Perdomo or Kristian Robinson from their loaded farm system by the end of the year?

Projected Rotation

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Madison Bumgarner (L) 176 5.10
Merrill Kelly 156 4.68
Caleb Smith (L) 132 4.95
Taylor Widener 52 4.11
Luke Weaver 133 4.49

Bullpen

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Joakim Soria 62 4.00
Stefan Crichton 63 4.19
Kevin Ginkel 60 4.03
Chris Devenski 56 4.46
Yoan Lopez 50 4.61
J.B. Bukauskas 36 4.20
Alex Young (L) 51 4.28
Taylor Clarke 86 4.70

On the pitching side, the Diamondbacks have an up-and-coming staff led by veteran left-hander Bumgarner. For a team that already needed a lot to go right to stay in contention, losing Gallen for at least the beginning of the season is maybe the worst news any club got this spring. On the plus side, Arizona features decent depth, with Widener or Jon Duplantier potentially stepping into the rotation as well. If the offense can keep them in games early in the year, the pitching could be good enough until Gallen returns. Bringing in Soria and Devenski helps the late-inning issues the team had last year.

Colorado Rockies

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2020 record: 26-34 (4th)
Payroll: $135.6M
O/U win total: 62
World Series odds: +15000
3-year trend: 2018 (2nd); 2019 (4th); 2020 (4th)
Highest projected WAR: Trevor Story (3.8)
X-factor: Jon Gray
Key injuries: Kyle Freeland, Brendan Rodgers, Scott Oberg
Prospect to watch: Ryan Rolison
Winter report card: F

Projected Lineup

ORDER PLAYER POS. PROJ. WAR
1 Raimel Tapia (L) LF -0.7
2 Ryan McMahon (L) 2B 0.5
3 Trevor Story SS 3.8
4 Charlie Blackmon (L) RF 1.0
5 C.J. Cron 1B 0.4
6 Sam Hilliard (L) CF -0.6
7 Josh Fuentes 3B -1.2
8 Elias Diaz C 0.0

Bench

PLAYER POS PROJ. WAR
Yonathan Daza OF 0.0
Garrett Hampson 2B -0.4
Dom Nunez (L) C 0.3
Chris Owings 2B/SS -0.3

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that this lineup, to put it lightly, has issues. Cumulatively, the projected starters and bench players are slated to accrue a grand total of 2.8 WAR. For context, there are four individual position players on the Dodgers who project to be worth more than that. In fact, without Story, Colorado's position players would combine to be worth negative WAR, and the Rockies' shortstop could get traded midseason as he imminently heads toward free agency.

Projected Rotation

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
German Marquez 192 4.54
Antonio Senzatela (L) 171 5.72
Jon Gray 159 5.31
Austin Gomber (L) 134 5.33
Chi Chi Gonzalez 40 5.84

Bullpen

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Daniel Bard 63 4.48
Mychal Givens 65 4.72
Tyler Kinley 56 5.26
Robert Stephenson 62 5.06
Yency Almonte 58 5.40
Carlos Estevez 48 4.92
Ben Bowden (L) 42 4.97
Jairo Diaz 37 5.09
Jordan Sheffield 28 5.82

The team's ineptitude at generating runs is pretty much matched by their inability to prevent runs. Marquez is a legitimate ace when he's on, and Gray has shown flashes of brilliance - particularly in advanced metrics. Beyond that, though, the Rockies are going to have a lot of trouble containing opposing lineups.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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2020 record: 43-17 (1st)
Payroll: $259.3M
O/U win total: 103.5
World Series odds: +350
3-year trend: 2018 (1st); 2019 (1st); 2020 (1st)
Highest projected WAR: Mookie Betts (5.9)
X-factor: Gavin Lux
Key injuries: Caleb Ferguson, Brusdar Graterol, Tommy Kahnle, Joe Kelly
Prospect to watch: Josiah Gray (MLB.com: No. 58)
Winter report card: A

Projected Lineup

ORDER PLAYER POS. PROJ. WAR
1 Mookie Betts RF 5.9
2 Corey Seager (L) SS 5.3
3 Justin Turner 3B 2.9
4 Cody Bellinger (L) CF 5.6
5 Will Smith C 1.5
6 Max Muncy (L) 1B 2.1
7 AJ Pollock LF 0.9
8 Chris Taylor 2B 1.3

Bench

PLAYER POS PROJ. WAR
Austin Barnes C 1.2
Matt Beaty (L) IF/OF 0.1
Gavin Lux (L) 2B 1.4
Edwin Rios (L) IF/OF 0.0

The champs didn't really add any new faces to the lineup and lost some depth this winter after parting ways with Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson. In their places, the Dodgers undoubtedly hope Pollock and Rios can platoon left field, while Lux blooms into the player that scouts believed he was. It should also be noted that super-utility man Taylor has looked exceptional in spring after a rough 2020, hitting four homers and posting a 1.344 OPS over 13 games.

Projected Rotation

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Clayton Kershaw (L) 175 3.47
Trevor Bauer 195 3.69
Walker Buehler 172 3.53
Julio Urias (L) 139 4.22
Dustin May 107 3.65

Bullpen

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Kenley Jansen 63 4.12
Blake Treinen 67 3.51
Victor Gonzalez (L) 62 3.62
Corey Knebel 59 3.92
David Price (L) 133 3.86
Jimmy Nelson 57 3.84
Scott Alexander (L) 24 3.50
Tony Gonsolin 103 3.98

Here is where the rich truly got hilariously wealthy. Sure, they lost Alex Wood, Jake McGee, and Pedro Baez to free agency, but adding Bauer, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, turns an already indomitable staff into the league's deepest rotation. If any of the starters - three of whom are Cy Young winners - falter or get injured, May and Gonsolin are waiting in the wings to step in effortlessly. Also, Gray - the club's top pitching prospect - could be called on if things get really dire.

San Diego Padres

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2020 record: 37-23 (2nd)
Payroll: $198.5M
O/U win total: 95
World Series odds: +700
3-year trend: 2018 (5th); 2019 (5th); 2020 (2nd)
Highest projected WAR: Fernando Tatis Jr. (5.9)
X-factor: Chris Paddack
Key injuries: Austin Adams, Jose Castillo, Mike Clevinger, Javy Guerra, Dinelson Lamet, Austin Nola, Matt Strahm, Trey Wingenter
Prospect to watch: MacKenzie Gore (MLB.com: No. 6)
Winter report card: A+

Projected Lineup

ORDER PLAYER POS. PROJ. WAR
1 Trent Grisham (L) CF 3.5
2 Fernando Tatis Jr. SS 5.9
3 Manny Machado 3B 4.6
4 Eric Hosmer (L) 1B 0.5
5 Tommy Pham LF 2.4
6 Wil Myers RF 1.0
7 Jake Cronenworth (L) 2B 1.3
8 Victor Caratini (S) C 0.9

Bench

PLAYER POS PROJ. WAR
Luis Campusano C 0.4
Ha-seong Kim 2B 0.9
Jorge Mateo 2B/OF -0.2
Jurickson Profar (S) IF/OF 0.9

The Padres boast one of the best rosters in baseball, but they're still noticeably a step behind the reigning champs. Losing Nola at catcher exposed a small but not problematic lack of depth. Over the winter, they traded Francisco Mejia to the Tampa Bay Rays, but adding Caratini helps and gives them an opportunity to flex their incredible farm system by giving Campusano a taste of the bigs until Nola returns. If anyone else hits a snag, Kim - their most notable addition to the offense - should be ready to step in after an impressive year in the KBO. Profar has also turned into a very productive utility man.

Projected Rotation

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Yu Darvish 189 3.34
Blake Snell (L) 151 3.26
Joe Musgrove 169 3.82
Chris Paddack 125 3.82
Adrian Morejon (L) 70 3.49

Bullpen

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Drew Pomeranz (L) 56 3.43
Emilio Pagan 63 3.89
Mark Melancon 62 3.85
Pierce Johnson 57 3.85
Keone Kela 58 3.52
Tim Hill (L) 53 3.52
Dan Altavilla 34 3.86
Craig Stammen 46 4.00
Taylor Williams 14 4.10

Tatis is the face of this franchise for at least a decade and a half, but the rotation has quickly become the crown jewel of this club. The additions of Darvish, Snell, and Musgrove give them a puncher's chance against the Dodgers and undoubtedly make them the favorite to host the wild-card game. Lamet should return in short order and looked unhittable at times last year. With so many elite arms, Paddack could benefit by not having to fill the role of staff ace while still developing. And, worst case, MacKenzie Gore might be close to earning his promotion.

San Francisco Giants

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2020 record: 28-31 (3rd)
Payroll: $157M
O/U win total: 76
World Series odds: +11500
3-year trend: 2018 (4th); 2019 (3rd); 2020 (3rd)
Highest projected WAR: Kevin Gausman (3.3)
X-factor: Buster Posey
Key injuries: Tyler Beede, John Brebbia, Alex Wood
Prospect to watch: Joey Bart (MLB.com: No. 23)
Winter report card: B-

Projected Lineup

ORDER PLAYER POS. PROJ. WAR
1 Tommy La Stella (L) 3B 1.6
2 Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF 1.3
3 Donovan Solano 2B 0.9
4 Alex Dickerson (L) LF 1.1
5 Buster Posey C 2.3
6 Brandon Belt (L) 1B 1.7
7 Brandon Crawford (L) SS 1.1
8 Mauricio Dubon CF 0.7

Bench

PLAYER POS PROJ. WAR
Curt Casali C 0.4
Evan Longoria 3B 1.1
Wilmer Flores IF 0.6
Darin Ruf 1B/OF 0.2
Austin Slater OF 0.4

La Stella is a sneakily great addition to a team that will straddle the line between rebuilding and ascending all year. The biggest question hanging over the club is whether this is Posey's final season with the franchise. The 33-year-old sat out the entire 2020 campaign and had his worst season in 2019, so his $22-million team option feels unlikely to be exercised. Posey is undoubtedly an icon, so he may not follow Crawford and Belt - who are also on expiring deals - out the door. But, at some point, the transition to Bart behind the plate has to begin.

Projected Rotation

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Kevin Gausman 170 3.73
Johnny Cueto 174 4.43
Logan Webb 131 4.21
Anthony DeSclafani 145 4.34
Aaron Sanchez 122 4.46

Bullpen

PITCHER PROJ. IP PROJ. ERA
Jake McGee (L) 63 3.69
Reyes Moronta 58 3.87
Tyler Rogers 63 4.03
Matt Wisler 62 3.95
Jarlin Garcia (L) 55 4.30
Jose Alvarez (L) 44 3.94
Wandy Peralta (L) 28 4.05
Nick Tropeano 54 4.41

Unlike the lineup, the most difficult turnover has already happened with the pitching staff, which is beginning to turn the corner. Gausman will lead the rotation after seemingly putting it all together last year while the club figures out if Webb or new acquisitions DeSclafani and Sanchez are worth holding. Once Cueto is off the books, though, the construction phase of the rebuild begins in earnest for Farhan Zaidi and Co.

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Everything you need to know about the NL West
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