The 2017 MLB season has reached its midway point. Last night, Aaron Judge, Miguel Sano and others put on a show at the Home Run Derby. Tonight, the games best will square off in the Mid-Summer Classic, better known as the MLB All-Star Game. But we aren’t here to talk about that. We are here to talk about the NL West!
In particular, we will be breaking down where the five teams within the division stand at the All-Star Break. Before the season began, the division was expected to be dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. One of those two teams has done just that, while the other sits in dead last.
As for the rest of the division, two of the remaining three teams have been a nice surprise. Those two teams both sit over 50 wins, and currently hold the two Wild Card spots in the National League. For more details, continue reading below!
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
At the break, the Dodgers hold a 61-29 record, which places them 7.5 games above the field out West. It also gives them the best record in baseball, as they hold a half-game edge over the Houston Astros for that honor. So to say things are looking good for the Dodgers right now certainly would be an understatement.
Cody Bellinger has been a true breakout star to open the season, launching 25 homers. He has been joined by Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig in mashing the ball. Then you look to the rotation, which has been locked down by Alex Wood and Clayton Kershaw. Oh, and there’s a guy named Kenley Jansen holding down the back end of the pen too.
The Dodgers certainly enter the second half of the year primed for a World Series run. This team is for real, and you can certainly expect to see them come October.
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
With their 53-36 record, the Dbacks have a two-game edge for the NL’s first Wild Card slot. So while they are 7.5 behind the Dodgers for the division, they are still looking pretty good for the playoffs as we reach the midway mark of the season.
Paul Goldschmidt has been nothing short of his usual self, with 20 homers, 13 stolen bases, and a .312 batting average. Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury have been swinging it well too, while AJ Pollack just recently returned from injury.
Part of this team’s rise has come thanks to Zack Greinke finding his old form, pitching to a 2.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Robbie Ray has been a nice surprise as well, sporting a 2.97 ERA to go along with his 141 strikeouts. But this team does have some weak spots, both offensively and pitching. So they may need to make a move or two if they want to maintain this Wild Card pace. Luckily for them, they have plenty of breathing room.
3) Colorado Rockies
52-39 means the Rox are 9.5 back in the division but holding off the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the teams in third for the WC, by 7.5 games. So while the Rockies haven’t been able to keep up with the Dodgers, their playoff hopes certainly look good at the break.
On offense, the team is loaded. Nolan Arenado, whom I still see overtaking Bryce Harper for the NL MVP, is raking with a .301 average, 17 homers, 70 RBIs and a .554 slugging percentage. Pair him with another MVP candidate in Charlie Blackmon, as well as Mark Reynolds, and the team’s got one hell of an offense. That is not even mentioning the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez.
Their pitching has been outperforming expectations like crazy. Kyle Freeland seems like he is the perfect pitcher built for Coors Field. Jon Gray has been strong since he has returned from the DL. Jeff Hoffman and Tyler Chatwood have shown flashes of potential. And finally, Greg Holland is closing out games and is hands down one of the biggest steals of the offseason. As long as the pitching does not implode, this team should be popping bottles come October.
4) San Diego Padres
Not much to be said here. Entering the season, the Padres were expected to be holding down the basement in the West. At 38-50, they are pretty much there. They are 22 games behind the Dodgers, and have no real hope of winning this division.
As for the Wild Card, those hopes are pretty slim as well. They currently sit 12.5 games out from catching the Rockies. But when you factor in they need to leapfrog eight teams to earn that spot, it is safe to say it’s time to look to 2018 for the Pads. They have some young talent, but it’s not going to lead to the promised land in 2017.
5) San Francisco Giants
Talk about the biggest disappointment of the 2017 season. The Giants, widely expected to go toe-to-toe with LA, have fallen completely flat. Their offense has been non-existent. Madison Bumgarner got hurt in a freak incident involving his dirt bike. And the rest of the pitching simply hasn’t lived up to expectations.
The result, a 34-56 record. That is good for worst in the division, second worst in the NL, and 29th out of 30 clubs in all of Major League Baseball. Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore have been busts on the year. They rank 28th in runs scored. And they are a distant last in home runs, with only 75 as a team on the entire season over the course of 90 games.
Look for them to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Names like Cueto, Moore, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence may see their names floated about in trade rumors. At the end of the day, this is a lost season for the boys by the Bay.
So there you have it. As we head into the back half of the 2017 MLB season, the NL West is running things. Three of their five teams would currently be represented in the playoffs. Can the Rockies and DBacks hold on? Only time will tell.
What are your thoughts on the NL West as the second half of the baseball season starts up? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!