Their biggest competition within the division will likely come from the Giants and perhaps the Diamondbacks, while the Padres and Rockies will battle for the basement.
Mark Trumbo should feast on pitching at Chase Field and is a great hitter to put in the middle of the offensive lineup. The pitching rotation has talent with Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley. The bullpen is solid with Addison Reed at closer and JJ Putz setting him up. This is a team that only needs six innings from their starters since the bullpen is so strong.
Arizona lost Patrick Corbin and they are hoping that Brandon McCarthy recovers from an awful season last year. The lineup features several inconsistent hitters with health issues. The bench is thin and the Diamondbacks lack depth, so injuries might become a factor.
Season wins prediction: Under 81.5
As usual, Colorado has a lineup that is built for Coor's Field with Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki leading the way. Justin Morneau may be able to find his stroke in the rarified air as well. The pitching rotation is solid with Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin coming off strong seasons. The bullpen was led by Rex Brothers who had 32 scoreless outings in a row last year.
There are still some questions in this bullpen and they need a few more relief pitchers. Injuries are always a concern, plus this lineup often struggles to score runs on the road and away from the thin air and altitude.
Season wins prediction: Over 76.5
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw leads the best rotation in the division with Hyun Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett. Haren and Beckett are aging, but they will not have as much pressure on them now at the back of the rotation. The lineup features a lot of depth from Yasiel Puig to Matt Kemp. The bullpen has some power arms in Brian Wilson and Paco Rodriguez.
However, Greinke presents an uncertainty, both emotionally and physically, especially since he is coming off a broken collarbone. How will the Dodgers handle the outfield issues with Puig, Carl Crawford, Kemp and Andre Ethier all vying for spots? Will Puig have a sophomore slump? Haren and Beckett need to bounce back from past struggles.
Season wins prediction: Over 92.5
San Diego Padres
The fences are changing in Petco Park and it should help this offensive lineup that features talented youngsters such as Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso. Relief pitcher Huston Street is in the final year of his contract which should lead to a motivated effort. Joaquin Benoit backs him up in a solid bullpen.
The starting rotation is up in the air with Andrew Cashner and Josh Johnson leading the way. Johnson needs to show his awful year in Toronto was a fluke. Ian Kennedy is the number three starter, but he had a poor 4.24 ERA with San Diego last season. This offensive lineup lacks consistent punch.
Season wins prediction: Under 79
San Francisco Giants
The rotation gets better with the addition of veteran pitcher Tim Hudson. He will be a solid influence on Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. Sergio Romo is a good closer who never threw more then 28 pitches in an outing last year. Buster Posey is a solid cleanup hitter in the offensive lineup.
However, San Francisco's left fielders hit just five home runs last year. Ryan Vogelsong needs to improve after an awful start last season which led to a poor 5.73 ERA overall. The bench is thin, so injuries could become a factor.
Season wins prediction: Over 86.5