2022 National League West Power Rankings
We end our power rankings with the division that had the closest pennant race in 2021- the National League West. Going into 2022, three teams in the NL West have the capability to compete for a World Series, with the other two hoping to play spoiler and develop prospects. However, this division is anything but predictable. Last season, the West was supposed to be a fight between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, with the Giants limping to third place. This season, fans should expect plenty of teams to be competitive, but there is a clear favorite to win the NL West.
Last Place- Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are one of the worst teams in MLB. Their farm system is far from elite. So where does that leave Colorado going into 2022? The offense has some decent pieces. The signing of Kris Bryant for seven years, and $182 million left pundits across the league baffled. Yet, he should see an improvement from last year’s performance hitting in Coors Field for half of the season. C.J. Cron is one of the more underrated first baseman in the league. But neither of those hitters are going to be able to outweigh the overall mediocrity of this lineup. The real problems for the Rockies stem from the pitching. German Marquez is actually a very decent pitcher, who has the unfortunate luck of pitching in Coors for half of his starts. Everyone else behind Marquez is to put it mildly, subpar. In the bullpen, there are zero dependable arms. The best reliever they boast is Alex Colome, who put up a 4.15 ERA last season. Ultimately, the Rockies are going to be hard to watch this season. But fans should have a fun time watching Kris Bryant moonshots.
Fourth Place- Arizona Diamondbacks
Much like the Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks are not going to be even slightly competitive in 2022. The offense only has one consistently productive bat- Ketel Marte. And he could be dealt at any point this year to a contender that is willing to give Arizona prospects. Beyond Marte, the lineup is one of the most anemic in all of baseball. The rotation is one of the worst in the sport. Madison Bumgarner is years past his prime, Zac Gallen is decent when he’s able to stay healthy, but that’s a crapshoot, and Luke Weaver has become a complete bust of a prospect. The bullpen is also a complete disaster. Mark Melancon is a decent closer, but that’s assuming he gets any chances to get a save this season. Ian Kennedy can be a lockdown reliever, but his command issues persist. Beyond those two, there is not a single reliever who can be relied upon consistently by the coaching staff. Arizona has a slightly better roster than the Rockies, so they shouldn’t finish in last place. That doesn’t mean fans should get excited.
Third Place- San Francisco Giants
There was magic in the air during the 2021 season for the San Francisco Giants. Veterans like Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey all had vintage years. Pitchers who were once written off like Logan Webb, Alex Wood, and Anthony DeSclafani outperformed their projected metrics significantly. This group of unlikely stars led the Giants to an MLB-best record of 107-55. Going into 2022, however, there are some question marks with this team. Is catching prospect Joey Bart ready to fill the giant shoes that Buster Posey left behind when he retired in the offseason? Can their core veterans repeat their success at the plate? All of these risks leave San Francisco’s lineup in a shaky spot. The rotation is the best part of the roster. Logan Webb is looking to build off a fantastic regular season and postseason, and the metrics prove that he can do it. Free agent signing Carlos Rodon will provide a much-needed quality lefty arm, and DeSclafani and Wood are more than capable of repeating their 2021 performances. The bullpen is solid. Taylor Rogers, Jake McGee, and Jarlin Garcia are all dependable arms. The lack of a true shutdown closer may cost San Francisco crucial games down the stretch of the season. Overall, the Giants are right to have their sights set on another division title. But a Cinderella story may not be in the cards for them this year.
Second Place- San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres had high hopes going into 2021. They had just traded for two aces in Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, and a budding star pitcher in Joe Musgrove. Fernando Tatis was looking like the NL MVP favorite. And the roster as a whole was one of the most complete in the sport. However, 2021 was an utterly disappointing season for San Diego. Darvish and Snell looked like shells of their former selves, with Musgrove being the best of the three. Tatis battled injuries, and the offense underperformed. But 2022 is a new year. Despite last year’s failures, Padres fans have every reason to be excited going into the new season. Despite the fact that Tatis will be missing for the first three months due to wrist surgery, the offense is still potent. A lineup that features Manny Machado, Luke Voit, Jake Cronenworth, and Trent Grisham is nothing to scoff at. The rotation should see improvement. Former Guardians ace Mike Clevinger is projected to start the season after missing 2021 due to Tommy John surgery. Darvish and Snell should see positive regression back to their career norms. And Musgrove has solidified himself as an elite starter. The bullpen has plenty of dependable arms. Pierce Johnson, Craig Stammen, and Tim Hill are all names that come to mind. However, like the Giants, San Diego lacks a true lockdown closer. The Padres have all the tools to compete for a Wild Card spot this season. But second place is the most they’re going to reach.
First Place- Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s fitting that these power rankings end with the team that is going to be the best in MLB. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best roster in the sport, and it isn’t close. As if a lineup that features Trea Turner, Max Muncy, and Mookie Betts wasn’t loaded enough already, the Dodgers signed All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman to a six year, $162 million deal. Good luck to the pitchers who have to face that. The rotation features two solidified aces in Walker Buehler and Julio Urias. Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw returned to Los Angeles in the offseason. The back end is slightly questionable, but the offense should more than make up for any slip ups the rotation has. The loss of Kenley Jansen in free agency will hurt the bullpen, but there is still a
wealth of quality arms in their relief corps. Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, and Daniel Hudson are more than capable of filling the shoes that Jansen left. The Dodgers are the World Series favorites going into the 2022 season. The NL West is just the appetizer for this team.