NL WEST

Cecil Whig - - INSIDEBASEBALL -

1. SAN FRAN­CISCO 2. ARI­ZONA 3. L.A. DODGERS 4. SAN DIEGO 5. COLORADO

It’s an even-num­bered year, which means that the Gi­ants are due for another world ti­tle … right? With Buster Posey catch­ing a staff of Madi­son Bum­gar­ner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Sa­mardz­ija, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, it’s a safe bet that San Fran­cisco’s bat­tery alone gives it a chance. First base­man Bran­don Belt should be en­ter­ing his prime, outfielder Hunter Pence (un­like last year) starts the sea­son healthy, and the Gi­ants have a re­cent record of de­vel­op­ing young tal­ent into play­ers bet­ter than any­one imag­ined. Ac­cord­ing to Fan­Graphs’ WAR, Ari­zona had the best com­bi­na­tion of po­si­tion play­ers in Paul Gold­schmidt and A.J. Pol­lock last year and then added pitch­ers Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. If No. 3 starter Patrick Corbin stays healthy and re­turns to 2014 form, the Di­a­mond­backs could chal­lenge.

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