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Jake Devin Previews the NL West

First: Los Angeles Dodgers

The amount of simply good major-leaguers the Dodgers possess is staggering. There are only eight positions outside of pitcher on the field, and the Dodgers count a solid dozen players that have cogent arguments for regular playing time. Not only that, their starting rotation runs nine-deep. With Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and the unlikely Rich Hill leading the way, the Dodgers have stars too. Their combination of enviable depth and top-end talent is overwhelming, and makes them the favorites to take the AL West crown for the fifth year running.

Second: San Francisco Giants

2017 isn’t an even year, but expect the Giants to compete anyway. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto front a strong rotation that could benefit from a full year of Matt Moore, and the Giants infield core of Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Joe Panik is young and productive. The addition of Mark Melancon should help a bullpen that was much-maligned down the stretch last year. They might not take down the Dodgers, but another October appearance could very well be in the cards.

Third: Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have assembled a nice core of position players, one that is strong enough to generate some sleeper buzz in Colorado this year. The signing of Ian Desmond to play first base was puzzling, but he adds to a group that includes superstar Nolan Arenado, batting champ DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, and the still solid Carlos Gonzalez. And in Jonathan Gray, Colorado might finally have a frontline hard-throwing starter that sticks. There might not be enough pitching here for the Rockies to truly contend, but they should be fun to keep an eye in 2017.

Fourth: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are still reeling a bit from the mismanagement by former executives Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa. This squad would likely have a very different feel to it if AJ Pollock, Zack Greinke, and Paul Goldschmidt were joined by Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte. Instead, Arizona has a pitiful farm system on their hands, and a major league team that does have talent, but not enough to scare anyone. The Diamondbacks look to be a team in transition.

Fifth: San Diego Padres

GM A.J. Preller has earned himself a slimy reputation, after seeing a trade with the Marlins partially reversed when it was revealed the Padres weren’t forthright about medical details. Smarmy as he may be, he has rebuilt the Padres farm system impressively over the past year, but that it needed to be rebuilt was Preller’s own fault, after he razed the farm in a brazen attempt to compete in 2015. Nevertheless, the Padres are bad right now, but might be better in the future, with a cadre of prospects that ranks among the league’s best. We’ll see if Preller survives long enough in his role to see the fruits of his rebuilding efforts borne out.

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Jake Devin fell in love with the game of baseball as a child, watching the Yankees of the late nineties and early aughts dominate the league. The Yankees don't dominate anymore, but Jake's passion for the game is as strong as ever, with exciting new ways to view and analyze the game popping up seemingly all the time. Jake recently graduated from Binghamton University where he completed a degree in mathematics and economics, as well as a four-year track and field career.

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