Rockies, Giants, D’Backs Locked in Tight Division Race

Posted on 24. May, 2013 by in MLB

It’s nearly June, and contenders are slowly but surely separating themselves from pretenders as the MLB season presses on. The NL West features one of the tightest races in baseball, with three teams currently tied at the top of the standings with identical 26-21 records. Here is a look at how the division appears to stack up at this point in time.

NL West Power Rankings:

San Francisco Giants – While the Giants have done little to distinguish themselves from their division competitors through the first couples months of the season, you have to give the defending champs the benefit of the doubt. Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro have given S.F. surprising offensive punch, while Madison Bumgarner appears to have taken control as ace of the pitching staff.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Despite the now disastrous-looking trade of Justin Upton, the Diamondbacks have performed exceptionally well this year. In fact, if not for a disastrous blown save record, Arizona would have a much better record. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is on the shortlist of MVP candidates, and Gerardo Parra has become one of the best two-way outfielders in baseball. But the biggest surprise for the D’backs has to be the phenomenal debut of pitcher Patrick Corbin, who is tearing through the league at the moment.

Colorado Rockies – Fans with Rockies tickets have to appreciate the way their team has gotten out of the gates this year. After one of the worst seasons in franchise history just a season ago, Colorado is still right in the thick of the division race. Troy Tulowitzki is healthy and one of the leading contenders for NL MVP, while Carlos Gonzalez, Wilin Rosario and Dexter Fowler have gotten off to hot starts offensively as well. However, it’s the improvement of the pitching staff that has given the Rockies the biggest lift, as Tyler Chatwood, Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin have been much better than expected.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Few teams have experienced worse all-around starts than the Dodgers, who have been both injury-plagued and bad this year. Currently in last place in the division, L.A. has nowhere to go but up. Fortunately, the return of Zack Greinke to the rotation should solidify the pitching staff, while Matt Kemp and the offense may finally be snapping out of its early-season funk. There is too much talent on this roster to keep playing this badly, especially with the best pitcher on the planet (Clayton Kershaw) still on the roster.

San Diego Padres – The Padres have actually performed above expectations so far this year, and are not that far out of the division race. However, the talent on this team seems to be a step below that of the other divisions, and it will be hard for them to stay ahead of the Dodgers. The return of Chase Headley, who started the season on the DL, has given the offense a boost, while the bullpen has done a good job closing the door at the end of the ballgame.

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