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UCB Predictions Project: NL West

We’re nearing the end of the UCB Predictions Project…and that must mean it’s time for the NL West – home of the NL Manager of the Year, the 2010 World Series Champions, the NL Cy Young Award winner, and the man who should have won the NL MVP award.

And somehow, they’re still one of the weakest divisions in baseball. Crazy.

Don’t expect a lot of explanation on this one…’cause honestly, I just don’t know this division very well. But when has lack of knowledge ever stopped me before?! So, let’s get into it:

1. Arizona Diamondbacks:  I know a lot of people like the Giants this year – what with Posey back and all – but I just don’t see a reason to pick against last year’s division winner. This team fought their way to 94 wins in 2011 and won the division by 8 games. They have the manager, they have the depth, and they just play winning baseball. Look for the D-Backs and Giants to battle it out…but the snakes will get it done in the end.

2. San Francisco Giants:  The pitching, the pitching, the pitching…and a dash of Posey thrown in for flavor. Smells like a winning combination to me. The only thing that concerns me is this team’s lack of offense. If not for the Diamondbacks, I would call them the favorites…but while the G-men took the postseason off, the D-Backs figured some things out. Now they’re playing catch-up, and that ain’t easy.

3. LA Dodgers:  Kemp and Kershaw are a dangerous combination, but the supporting cast for this team ain’t that shabby either. It seemed as if the front office and ownership situation was really dragging this team down last season. Now that the sale is settled, we could see the front office and new ownership actually become an asset as the suits attempt to convince the Dodger faithful that they’re here to win…and win now. I have to plug ’em in at third simply because the D-Backs and Giants have the edge in “what have you done for me lately” categories…but I wouldn’t be surprised if this hopeful Dodger team pushes their way into the division chase.

4. Colorado Rockies:  What seemed like a potential contending combination in 2011 now simply looks old and insufficient. All of the other teams in the Rockies division are trending in the right direction at the wrong time for Rockies fans. Well…except for the Padres.

5. San Diego Padres:  There are actually a few things to like about the Padres individually…but collectively, this team just seems to be a scrap pile of other team’s leftovers. They may have the ability to play spoiler on occasion, but that’s about it.

*Potential Surprise: Don’t be shocked if the Giants re-establish dominance in the NL West now that Posey is back.

**Dogfight Warning! This division could come down to a scrum in the streets. The D-Backs, Giants, and Dodgers could all emerge as legit contenders for the division title this season. If that’s true, the West could once again be worth watching.

And with that, we arrive at the end of our division-by-division predictions. Join us on Friday when we conclude the UCB Predictions Project with postseason and award picks. Until then…

GO CARDS!!!

BTW – If you haven’t seen the other UCB predictions, check them out HERE.

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