The NL West has been home to three of the past five World Series champions -- only that it was the same team, the San Francisco Giants. We breakdown the West teams by their order of 2014 finish and with their 2015 win totals on MLB odds.
Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68)
2015 win total: 92.5, with 'over' a -125 favorite at sportsbooks
All Don Mattingly has done is led the Dodgers to back-to-back NL West championships, yet perhaps no manager is on the hot seat more than he is entering 2015. That's because the Dodgers have face-planted in the playoffs the past two seasons, each time losing to the Cardinals when ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw was knocked around. The Dodgers had a front-office overhaul in the wake of last season's four-game NLDS loss to the Cardinals. Rays GM Andrew Friedman is now the team president and runs the show. He was very busy this winter, trading for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal. He also signed free-agent starters Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. The entire middle of the Dodgers will be different on the diamond with the new catcher, second baseman, shortstop and center fielder, which will be top prospect Joc Pederson. He takes the place of Matt Kemp, who was dealt to San Diego for a package that included Grandal. It essentially was a salary dump because L.A. had too many outfielders. Also gone are shortstop Hanley Ramirez, All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon and pitcher Dan Haren. Keep in mind that the Dodgers could add payroll at any time during the season if need be as they are swimming in money.
MLB Projection: The Dodgers still have probably the best 1-2-3 pitching punch in the majors in Kershaw, who is simply otherworldly (during regular season), Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. The offense might not be quite as good as last year's, but the defense better with all the moves. Go 'over' the wins and the Dodgers easily grab a third straight West title.
San Francisco Giants (88-74)
2015 win total: 84.5, with both -115
San Francisco beat Pittsburgh in the Wild-Card Game last season, then wasn't supposed to beat Washington in the NLDS but did in four games. The Giants weren't supposed to beat St. Louis in the NLCS but did in five. The World Series was essentially a pick'em against the Royals, but San Francisco won in seven games thanks to Madison Bumgarner, who had a World Series for the history books in being named MVP. Problem is, he can't pitch every other day in 2015. Then again, it's an odd-numbered year so San Francisco is supposed to struggle. Gone are one of the team's best offensive players in third baseman Pablo Sandoval and solid outfielder Michael Morse. Their replacements, respectively, will be new additions Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki. Downgrades both. The Giants were in on Jon Lester and James Shields but didn't land either. They did re-sign pitchers Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong, but fellow starters Tim Hudson and Matt Cain both have injury concerns, so keep this in mind when placing your MLB picks.
MLB Projection: After the Giants' last World Series title, they slipped to 76 victories the next year. Go 'under' the wins.
San Diego Padres (77-85)
2015 win total: 84.5, with 'under' a -125 favorite on MLB odds
San Diego missed the playoffs for a ninth straight season in 2014 and had a losing record for a fourth consecutive. Ownership had enough, clearly, as the checkbook was open this offseason and no team in the majors has improved more on paper than the Padres. GM A.J. Preller went crazy, trading for an entirely new starting outfield of Justin Upton (Braves), Matt Kemp (Dodgers) and Wil Myers (Rays). He also acquired a new catcher in Derek Norris (A's) and third baseman Will Middlebrooks (Red Sox) in deals. For good measure, Preller signed an ace pitcher in free-agent James Shields, who is from the area and took what appears to be a discount. Wow. The rotation should be good, ditto the bullpen. The outfield should rake but will be awful defensively. The infield looks lousy. The Padres haven't been interesting in years. Now they will be at a minimum.
MLB Projection: 'Over' wins as San Diego finishes second to the Dodgers in the division and contends for a wild-card spot.
Colorado Rockies (66-96)
2015 win total: 71.5, with both -115
The Rockies had their fourth straight losing season in 2014 and instead of undergoing a full-on rebuild by trading star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and/or first baseman Justin Morneau (the 2014 NL batting champion), the team largely stood pat. I'm not sure why. Tulo and CarGo are terrific hitters but absolutely can't stay healthy. The Rockies led the majors in runs scored at home last season but were last in the majors on the road. Expect more of the same. This team just doesn't know what it is yet, but it's not a contender with a weak pitching staff. There are two highly-touted prospects in the system for the rotation, but they aren't ready yet.
MLB Projection: Thanks to a great home-field advantage, the Rockies will go 'over' that wins total unless Tulowitzki and/or others are traded, which is possible.
Arizona Diamondbacks (64-98)
2015 win total: 71.5, with both -115
The Snakes started their overhaul during last season when they hired Tony La Russa as the chief baseball officer. He eventually fired the general manager (Kevin Towers) and manger (Kirk Gibson). Former excellent big-league pitcher Dave Stewart, one of La Russa's former players, is the new GM, and Chip Hale takes over in the dugout. Arizona traded away three regulars in catcher Miguel Montero, shortstop Didi Gregorius and pitcher Wade Miley. The big additions from the major-league level were pitchers Jeremy Hellickson (Rays) and Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa (both Red Sox). They should comprise 60 percent of the rotation. But the biggest addition likely was Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas. The 24-year-old with incredible power potential got nearly $70 million. Is he the next Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu? No one knows yet, but the Snakes are throwing him to the wolves right away and moving Tomas to third base.
MLB Projection: Unless Tomas has a rookie year like Puig or Abreu did, which is unlikely, go 'under' the wins.