As we approach the second half of the season, the NL West has significantly taken shape for what should be a less dramatic stretch run than the one we saw in 2021.
A year ago, the division was separated by one game with the Giants winning 107 games and the Dodgers winning 106. Don’t expect the same results to take place this year.
This year, it appears the Dodgers are in full control in the NL West. This team is a World Series favorite in the National League and that is without having made a single move at the deadline. While it seems less likely that LA lands a big name (maybe Juan Soto), you can expect that they will at least make a small move to either solidify their bullpen or their depth offensively.
Expect LA to take this division, and they very well could do it by more than 10 games if San Diego doesn’t figure things out. The missing piece the Dodgers need may actually be in the organization with Dustin May currently on his rehab assignment.
The Padres are in an interesting spot heading into the second half. They are currently looking like a lock for a Wild Card spot, however, if San Diego wants to compete for the division they will have to make up significant ground on a Dodgers team that has flat out owned them.
The call-up of Esteury Ruiz could certainly make a difference for the Padres lackluster offense, however, it shouldn’t be surprising if San Diego makes a splash at the deadline for a hitter that can get on base and perform consistently (Andrew Benintendi, anyone?).
The Padres may also need to address the rotation with MacKenzie Gore showing signs of tiring late in the first half. Expect the roster that San Diego currently features to look slightly different after the deadline. Of course, the health of Fernando Tatis Jr. will play a major role in the direction this team goes. If he comes back and produces the way we know he can, watch out.
The Giants are the hardest team to forecast moving forward. Do they buy? Do they sell? Do they stay the course at the deadline? All of these are possibilities.
They will certainly be in talks for key pieces, however, they also very well could sell if they start out on a bad foot to open the second half. Players like Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson could certainly be appealing pieces available at the deadline if San Francisco decides to pack it up prior to August. They will be a team to monitor daily leading up to the deadline and could very well be in on Juan Soto if they decide to go in a winning direction.
The Diamondbacks surprised many of us at the start of the season playing .500 baseball in the first couple of months. Since the summer, they have really struggled, leading to a seller outlook as the deadline arrives.
We may hear David Peralta and Christian Walker’s name traded at the deadline, however, a young core is certainly developing here and is worth keeping an eye on in the coming years. The big question is whether or not Arizona gives top prospect Corbin Carroll the call to the MLB late in the second half. If so, be ready for the first major prospect to make a name for himself in the desert.
The Rockies are a mess of a franchise. It is impossible to predict what they’ll do at the deadline but you can be sure they will almost certainly make the wrong decision and hold their pieces. They SHOULD be maximizing the value of C.J. Cron and Daniel Bard.
As we’ve learned time and time again with this organization, they don’t sell when they should and they make additions when they shouldn’t. To the surprise of nobody, this team can be a lock to finish in fourth or fifth place in the NL West.
With all that said, the NL West will be a fascinating division to watch ahead of the trade deadline and into the second half. With maybe the best team in NL, two potential Wild Card teams and two should-be sellers who might not sell, there are a wide variety of outcomes that could still unfold.