This is arguably the most entertaining division that isn’t the AL East; there’s talent here, but there’s also a slew of combustible elements liable to explode at any moment. Except, perhaps, for the Padres.
1. San Francisco Giants – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it–and so the Giants stood pat, bringing back all of their key contributors from last season while foregoing any major additions. On the one hand, there’s definitely something to be said for stability; on the other hand, this isn’t the NFL, and keeping together a group of guys that’s comfortable with each other probably doesn’t matter nearly as much as a lot of analysts might try to lead you to believe. Regardless, Buster Posey’s the man, Matt Cain’s a legit ace, and the rest of the roster is stacked with seasoned professionals. I’m not particularly afraid of the regression monster here, especially given the competition.
Beer equivalent – Narragansett. Steady. You know what you’re going to get, and it’s probably good enough.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks (wild card) – GM Kevin Towers finally blew it up…mostly. The team is still loaded with swing-first-look-at-the-plate-second hitters. The rotation is solid if uninspiring. That said, they’re good enough to score some runs while stopping the opposition from doing the same. A quick exit in the wild card sounds about right.
Beer equivalent – Pabst Blue Ribbon. All of your friends will suddenly start drinking it a few months from now and you’ll wonder how you missed the trend.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers – Building a good baseball team means more than just spending money; it means making sure the left side of your defense isn’t a black hole of suck. Third base, shortstop, and left field are legitimate questions for the Dodgers due to injuries, a lack of depth, and what seems like general forgetfulness. The rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw looks deep at first glance…but who really trusts these guys?
Beer equivalent – Whatever will convince Robinson Cano to sign this offseason. Barring that, whatever Josh Beckett prefers with his fried chicken.
4. Colorado Rockies – An all-world shortstop and right fielder are flanked by…um…sure. A baseball team, I guess.
Beer equivalent – That last Harpoon IPA in a sampler box that’s now mostly full of Raspberry.
5. San Diego Padres – At least they should get something good for Huston Street at the deadline.
Beer equivalent – Water.
American League Champion: Tampa Bay Rays
National League Champion: Washington Nationals
World Series Champion: Washington Nationals