The last of our six division to preview ahead of the 2023 season, the NL West presents one of the most compelling races in baseball, where two California juggernauts are set to battle it out.
In Los Angeles, we have the perennially-great Dodgers, who have won this division nine times over the past 10 years. The lone exception to their decade-long dominance was in 2021, when the 107-win Giants took the division by just a game.
This year it won’t be the Giants that push the Dodgers to the brink though. It will instead be the team that just beat them in the playoffs, the now-mighty San Diego Padres.
The Padres feel like an overnight sensation.
Yes, they have building the pieces for a while, with Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove all being acquired via trade, Manny Machado signing (twice now) and the ascension of Fernando Tatis Jr. Still, if we look at this team now and compare them to last Opening Day, they have transformed.
Now featuring one of the best pure hitters in the game with Juan Soto and also one of the nastiest pitchers in Josh Hader, the Padres made moves at last year’s deadline that will be felt even greater this season. Throw in the addition of a fourth (!) superstar in Xander Bogaerts and the Padres are one of the most eye-popping teams in baseball.
With the season-long injuries to Walker Buehler and Gavin Lux, as well as the loss of Trea Turner in free agency, the Dodgers look vulnerable for the first time. The Padres will look to take advantage and usurp them as NL West champs.
Meanwhile, the Giants still plan to be in the playoff picture and can’t be counted out as a franchise, and the Diamondbacks might just talent their way into the race with top prospects like Corbin Carroll and Gabriel Moreno set for large roles. The Rockies appear to be the team with the lowest expectations, but Summer’s at Coors Field always find a way to be entertaining.
Check out full written previews for each of the team’s in the NL West below. Also check out The Just Baseball Show’s NL West Preview episode from over the weekend.
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2022 Record (111-51)
Written By: Lyle Goldstein
The Dodgers are still an excellent team, but they’re not quite staring down at their division rivals like they used to.
San Diego Padres – 2022 Record (89-73)
Written By: Javier Reyes
The San Diego Padres are legitimate World Series contenders, filled with a lineup of multiple MVP candidates and a bustling payroll.
San Francisco Giants – 2022 Record (81-81)
Written By: Ethan Budowsky
The San Francisco Giants have improved for 2023, but will it be enough for them to contend in the National League West?
Arizona Diamondbacks – 2022 Record (74-88)
Written By: Harrison Bruns
While they likely won’t be competing for a playoff spot this season, the Diamondbacks are young, exciting, and building for 2024.
Colorado Rockies – 2022 Record (68-94)
Written By: Renee Dechert
They may not be very competitive this season, but the Colorado Rockies will always be an interesting ballclub.