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Article Teaser: Despite being widely ripped as the worst division in baseball in 2005, one facet of the division last year on which everyone agreed was the competitiveness, as nearly every team had a chance to win the division late in the season. Once again, no one is out of it in this division in 2006, as every team sits within three games of the others as of this writing.

Keep reading below...

Divisional Outlook - NL West

Copyright (c) 2006-2017

Despite being widely ripped as the worst division in baseball in 2005, one facet of the division last year on which everyone agreed was the competitiveness, as nearly every team had a chance to win the division late in the season. Once again, no one is out of it in this division in 2006, as every team sits within three games of the others as of this writing.


Colorado Rockies

Currently

Although the Rockies have leveled off just a tad lately, they still sit at the top of the division thanks to several players getting hot at different times. Lately, Matt Holliday has been tearing it up, and his season average sits at .307. Others who have contributed offensively include Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins Cory Sullivan, all young players like Holliday who are forming a formidable nucleus for the team. Perhaps the biggest reason for the Rockies' success so far is their bullpen. The team is 16-1 when leading after seven innings.

Outlook

If the team's young players continue to perform, star Todd Helton regains his usual form and the pitching staff continues its late-inning dominance, the Rockies have a great chance to play deep into October.


Arizona Diamondbacks

Currently

The Diamondbacks have a mix of experienced veterans like Craig Counsell and Shawn Green combining with young potential stars like Chad Tracy and Conor Jackson producing offensively. As a team, the Diamondbacks rank 1st in the NL in team batting average and in the top 5 in runs, hits and OBP. On the mound, the Diamondbacks are also producing results. The staff ranks in the top 5 in the NL in ERA, K/BB and K/9 innings.

Outlook

As is the case with every team in this division, the Diamondbacks should be in the thick of things in this division with their mix of quality hitting and stingy defense and pitching.


San Diego Padres

Currently

No team is hotter than the Padres have been lately, and the defending division champions appear to be rounding into the form that took them to the postseason in 2005. Despite ranking near the bottom in nearly every team-oriented offensive statistical category in the NL, the Padres are featuring several exciting young players every day including Josh Barfield and Khalil Greene. As those players continue to improve, the pitching staff has been holding the fort, ranking near the top of the NL in team ERA, K/BB, BAA and OPS.

Outlook

If the hitting improves, and old standbys like Trevor Hoffman and Woody Williams continue their early season success, the Padres will at the very least be in the fight in October.


Los Angeles Dodgers

Currently

The Dodgers, when breaking down statistics, are a difficult team to figure. There really aren't any individuals having a huge year at this point, even though J.D. Drew appears to finally be living up to his promise. As a team, the Dodgers rank second in the NL in runs, RBIs and OBP. The pitching staff is just the opposite. As a team, the Dodgers are not near the top in any NL statistical category, but individuals such as Brett Tomko and Takashi Saito boast of ERAs right around 3.0.

Outlook

Predicting the Dodgers is as difficult as their statistics are to figure. The team, given the division, is certainly in the race, and if a few more individual hitters get hot and stay hot, the team can make a move towards the title.


San Francisco Giants

Currently

Despite all the attention these days being paid to Barry Bonds and his pursuit of the home run record, there are other Giants enjoying solid seasons. The team is right there with everyone else in the division, and the veteran influence on the team is telling. Moises Alou was off to a torrid start until recently being placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained ankle, and Steve Finley is also out of the gates with a flourish. Pitching has been a problem though, as the Giants are currently last in the NL in team ERA.

Outlook

It doesn't look like anyone in this division will be out of it this season, and if the Giants can get improved pitching and a little less spotlight as the Barry Bonds chase subsides, this team could challenge, especially with a healthy Alou.


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