The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have overcome injuries to thrive
All you need to know about the National League West Division is that four of the seven teams in the NL with winning records reside in this division as we look at the quarterly report in the NL West. Last-place Colorado would be in second place in the NL East and third in the NL Central.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have the second- and third-best winning percentage in Major League Baseball while the San Francisco Giants led all of baseball with 107 wins during the 2021 regular season.
This is the only division where every team currently has a winning record at home.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Odds to win the division: -250
Award candidates: Mookie Betts, +1100 National League Most Valuable Player; Walker Buehler, +1100 National League Cy Young; Julio Urias, +4000 National League Cy Young; Ryan Pepiot, +5000 National League Rookie of the Year.
Biggest surprise: Tyler Anderson – Anderson came into the season with a 29-38 record while pitching for four different franchises. He is off to a 5-0 start in his first season with the Dodgers.
Biggest disappointment: Max Muncy – Muncy has never been a threat to hit .300 but a .154 average and eight extra-base hits in 40 games is not what a player of his caliber should be contributing.
The Dodgers’ pitching depth will be tested while longtime ace Clayton Kershaw is sidelined with a back issue. Los Angeles has already been without Andrew Heaney since late April.
This could be the deepest roster in all of baseball. The rotation will continue to be led by Walker Buehler. Anderson and Tony Gonsolin are a combined 9-0 while Julio Urias is coming off a 20-3 season so if there is a team that can handle the loss of a future Hall of Fame starting pitcher, this would be it
After a slow start, outfielder Mookie Betts is heating up with a .345 average, eight doubles and nine homers in May.
“Over the last 30 days, it’s as good as anybody on the planet.”
Mookie Betts continued his extraordinary stretch of baseball last night. He tied an LA record with runs in 12 straight games, while his two homers gave him the NL lead in the category.https://t.co/yXqEi61UXV
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) May 25, 2022
He teams with Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman to lead the offense. If Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and Muncy start producing, watch out.
It is no wonder that the sportsbook is projecting a special season for the Dodgers.
San Diego Padres
Odds to win the division: +300
Award candidates: Manny Machado, +225 National League Most Valuable Player; Mackenzie Gore, +400 National League Rookie of the Year; Joe Musgrove +1200 National League Cy Young; Eric laurer, National League Cy Young +4000; C.J. Abrams, +5000 National League Rookie of the Year; Sean Manaea, +5000 National League Cy Young.
Biggest surprise: Nabil Crismatt – Crismatt had a .374 ERA with more hits allowed than innings pitched in 2021. He is 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his first 12 appearances this season.
Biggest disappointment: Blake Snell – Snell was supposed to be the pitcher who took the Padres to the next level. He is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA so far this season.
The Padres have been doing just fine while MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. works his way back after being injured in the offseason.
Machado is the MVP leader at this point of the season while Eric Hosmer has had a strong start with 24 RBIs in his first 40 games.
San Diego has been active in recent years adding to its pitching staff. The acquisition of Taylor Rogers (16 saves in 17 opportunities) and Musgrove (5-0, 1.90 ERA) has been especially impactful. The patience with former No. 3 overall pick Gore is being rewarded as he is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA.
The Padres are piling up the wins without Tatis and while key pitchers and hitters are underachieving so this is a team that could be frightening when everybody is healthy and producing. That is a reason why so many people who bet online are putting money on this talented squad.
San Francisco Giants
Odds to win the division: +550
Award candidates: Carlos Rodon, +600 National League Cy Young; Luis Gonzalez, +3000 National League Rookie of the Year; Logan Webb, +3500 National League Cy Young; Joey Bart, +5000 National League Rookie of the Year.
Biggest surprise: Curt Casali – A .226 lifetime hitter, Casali is hitting .264 and he may make a run at his first double-digit homer season since 2015.
Biggest disappointment: Bart is a rookie so there’s time for him to figure things out but a .171 average with 42 strikeouts in 76 at-bats is not what was expected from one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He has displayed the power at times that had those making MLB picks projecting him to be the Rookie of the Year.
Carlos Rodon has slowed down after a sizzling start. He headlines the rotation along with Alex Wood and Alex Cobb. Wood joined the Giants a season ago while Rodon and Cobb are in their first seasons with the Giants. They have a combined 10-8 record and that’s not quite good enough. A team ERA of 4.46 has been a reason why San Francisco has struggled to keep pace with the Dodgers and Padres.
Joc Pederson already has 11 homers while Luis Gonzalez leads the Giants with a .338 average.
There are enough pieces for the Giants to make it back to the postseason but it won’t be easy playing in a division with two of the top teams in baseball.
The Giants are 9-12 with a 6.08 team ERA in the month of May so things might get worse before they get better.
Odds to win the Division: +10000
Award candidate: C.J. Cron, +3000 National League Most Valuable Player.
Biggest surprise: The 32-year-old Cron is with his fourth team in the last five years and yet here he is with 11 home runs, 21 extra-base hits and a .311 batting average.
Biggest disappointment: German Marquez – Marquez was 37-23 in a three-year span but is limping along with a 1-4 record to go with a 6.14 ERA.
Cron, now playing for his fifth Major League team, has been a revelation. While batting fourth in the lineup, he is hitting .336 with nine home runs and 19 extra-base hits. Charlie Blackmon and Brendan Rodgers will need to pick things up to take some of the pressure off of Cron.
Other than reliever Tyler Kinley, pitching has been a problem. The 4.70 ERA by the starting pitchers is one of the worst marks in the majors. The bullpen has similar issues.
Odds to win the division: +15000
Award candidates: Alek Thomas, +700 National League Rookie of the Year; Zac Gallen, +1800 National League Cy Young
Biggest surprise: Gallen – After a 4-10 season, nobody was quite sure what to expect from Gallen. A 3-0 record, 2.28 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning has made Gallen one of the most pleasant surprises in the majors so far.
Biggest disappointment: Mark Melancon – the well-traveled Melancon had ERA under 3.00 in each of his last two seasons. He has allowed 16 runs in 15.1 innings.
Things are starting to look up for Arizona with a 13-10 record in the month of May to move over the .500 mark. With the way things are going, there is a chance that the Diamondbacks might soon move ahead of the Giants in the division standings and that was not something too many people predicted coming into the season.
Arizona leads the majors with 36 home runs in May led by Christian Walker’s seven HRs in the month. Ketel Marte and Daulton Varsho are both piling up the hits in May.
All-NL West team
Here’s a look at the best players in the division a quarter of the way through the season
Starting pitcher: Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres – He didn’t have the highest profile of the pitchers acquired by the Padres in the last couple of years but it is hard to argue with a 5-0 record and 1.90 ERA in eight starts.
Closer: Taylor Rogers, San Diego Padres – An ERA of 0.47 with 16 saves in 17 opportunities, Rogers has been quite the addition to the San Diego pitching staff.
Catcher: Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers – Smith is hitting .255 with 12 extra-base hits. His power numbers are down from a season ago but he is a reliable player at the plate as well as behind it.
First base: C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies – Cron is hitting .331 with nine homers and 29 RBIs when he is playing first base.
Second base: Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers – Some pretty slim pickings at this position. Lux doesn’t offer much in the way of power but he has a .295 average when playing second base.
Shortstop: Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers – Turner is hitting .288 with eight stolen bases and 11 doubles.
Third base: Manny Machado, San Diego Padres – With a .368 average, 34 runs, 21 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs, he is in the midst of a special season.
Left field: Joc Pederson, San Francisco Giants – Pederson hits home runs in bunches and he already has 10 HRs this season.
Center field: Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks – Varsho leads the Diamondbacks with 24 runs, 41 hits ansd 21 RBIs.
Right field: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – Betts got off to a slow start but he is hitting .292 with 10 doubles and 12 homers.
Designated hitter: Connor Joe, Colorado Rockies – Not much to choose from at this position. Joe qualifies by having more at-bats as a DH than at any other position. He has a .284 average this season.