It’s mid July, and that means one thing. The front runners in each division should being pulling away. This is true for the majority of the divisions in baseball. However, the National League West is different to the other divisions. Now, don’t get me wrong, the NL West is not void of faults, but it boasts the most competitiveness in the Majors at the moment. Moreover, the race to the playoffs will be something to behold in the coming months.
Up and down Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a complicated start to the season.
Currently, the franchise are atop the division with a record of 51-42. After a promising start, the Dbacks have been inconsistent. In a season of mixed emotions, the team have had one stalwart player who has stood out from the rest. You might recognise the name: Paul Goldschmidt.
This season he has a total of 21 home runs and a batting average of .282, despite a dreadful start to the campaign.
In addition, he has been voted as an All-Star for the sixth year in a row. Furthermore, the Diamondbacks have two formidable weapons in the rotation, with Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin. Greinke especially is one of the most consistent pitchers in the league, and so he should be, considering he is the second highest paid player in all of baseball. Overall, the Arizona Diamondbacks are arguably the front-runners for capturing the top spot come October, depending on whether they can avoid elongated slumps.
The Wounded Return
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a surprise comeback. In the early stages of the season the Dodgers had a torrid time, racking up 26 losses by the middle of May. However, last year’s dominant team in the West have been revitalised by recent performances. Their 50-42 record puts them hot on the heels of the Diamondbacks.
In addition, the explosive Max Muncy has been pivotal in their revival. He is their first player this year to 20 home runs and has a BA of .276. Ross Stripling has also had a career year. Stripling has been selected to the 2018 All-Star Game with an impressive ERA of 2.22. The Dodgers are my pick for the division once again this year, as their resurgence looks to be to strong for the rest of the division to contend with.
The Major League Let-Down
The San Francisco Giants added some fire power in the offseason by trading for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. In spite of that, the Giants haven’t performed as well as many had hoped. Despite boasting a positive win/loss record (49-46), they have been majorly inconsistent on the road.
McCutchen has failed to deliver in his performances as of yet with a lowly 9 homers this year. Longoria has only hit one more home run than McCutchen. Brandon Belt, on the other hand, has had a standout year. Compiling 13 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .297 BA. His performances alone have been one of the few reasons to watch the Giants this season, other than the beauty of AT&T Park. Overall, the Giants are unlikely to clinch top spot or even a Wild Card berth, due to the fact that they just aren’t good enough this year.
The Emerging Dark Horse
The Colorado Rockies are the underdogs of the NL West.
Many have already written off the Rockies’ chances of making a comeback in the division due to the poor record the team has when playing at Coors Field. Also, they are clearly a lesser team than the one witnessed last year, who made the playoffs. However, Nolan Arenado is still playing great baseball. With 23 homers on the year and a .312 BA, he has been selected for his fourth All-Star appearance.
In conclusion, if the bullpen can sort the ongoing issues out, and the performances of key players remain at a high level, the Rockies have an outside chance of forcing themselves into contention for a Wild Card berth. The franchise took their first steps in doing so by embarrassing the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, 19-2 this week.
Medal Of Participation
Unfortunately, the San Diego Padres are the collectors of a medal for participation. Struggling with a 40-55 record, the Padres are dead last. Honestly, regarding the San Diego team there is very little news other than the fact they are arguably the least interesting team in MLB. Although, it should be noted that the franchise are in the midst of a rebuild. Thus, they were always favoured to be the poorest team in the West.