Los Angeles Dodgers
The National League West automatically gets positive marks for the best division for simply having the defending National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the division. The Dodgers sported a record of 104 wins and 58 losses, good enough for the best mark in baseball in 2017.
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The Dodgers had an overall quiet offseason, which should be no surprise for a team that was just in the World Series. They did make a surprise trade by reacquiring outfielder Matt Kemp from Atlanta in exchange for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Brandon McCarthy, pitcher Scott Kazmir and infielder Charlie Culbertson … but this was just a money move that will have very little impact on the performance of the team.
That’s not to say the Dodgers won’t run the division … because they likely will. The Dodgers did lose Brandon Morrow, who was lights-out in his middle relief/set-up man role. As Jacob Rudner writes over at Dodgers Way, it’s not going to the season ender by any stretch. This team led the National League in team ERA, and top five in strikeouts. With a pitching staff lead by superstars, Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers will continue to mow down opposing batters this season, as well.
As far as the offense goes, Cody Bellinger cannot fall into a sophomore slump. After being wildly exposed in the postseason, I’m sure he’s figured out that he needs to adjust and keep progressing offensively in order to provide enough protection to Justin Turner and Corey Seager … the key to their potent offense.