We've checked out the NL Central and AL Central so far, so now it's time to venture out west. The last two division winners -- D-Backs and Giants -- are the clear frontrunners, but you can't count out the Dodgers or the Rockies. The Padres are in transition, but certainly aren't terrible either. Few outcomes would really be surprising here, where the Diamondbacks made a 29-game jump last season, going from worst to first.

2011 Final Standings
1. Arizona Diamondbacks 94-68
2. San Francisco Giants 86-76
3. Los Angeles Dodgers 82-79
4. Colorado Rockies 73-89
5. San Diego Padres 71-91

2012 spring primers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres

National League West's best
Best lineup: Rockies. Moving Marco Scutaro and Michael Cuddyer to the NL in Coors Field will provide boosts, as will additional development from Dexter Fowler and a power upgrade behind the plate.
Best defense: Diamondbacks. They're solid everywhere and having Chris Young and Justin Upton running down balls in the outfield is a huge advantage for the pitching staff. The Giants' defense is good, too.
Best rotation: Giants. Three All-Stars last year and that didn't include the underrated Madison Bumgarner. D-Backs are a close second.
Best bullpen: Giants. Only the Braves (3.03) had a better bullpen ERA than the Giants' 3.04 mark last season in the NL, and that was with Brian Wilson fighting injury and inconsistency.
Best manager: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks. The 2011 NL Manager of the Year took his club from worst to first in his first full season as a manager. That's good enough for me.
Best player: Matt Kemp, Dodgers. Man, this was a tough one with Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton residing in this division, but Kemp led the NL in runs, homers, RBI and total bases last season while also winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in center. He also led the majors in bWAR by a significant margin. And he's only 27.
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. Another really, really tough call. This time it was tough over a pair of Giants: Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Ian Kennedy of Arizona is right there, too. But Kershaw is 24, left handed and was considerably better than all three last season, winning the pitching version of the NL Triple Crown.
Best rookie: Drew Pomeranz, Rockies. This was a close call over teammate Alex White and up-and-coming D-Backs' starter Trevor Bauer, but Pomeranz is the only one of the three that opens the '12 season in the rotation. The 23-year-old left-handed starter had a 1.78 ERA across High-A, Double-A and Triple-A last season, his first as a pro.

NL West All-Star team

1. Marco Scutaro, 2B
2. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Justin Upton, RF
5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Miguel Montero, C
8. James Loney, 1B
9. Clayton Kershaw, P
Closer: Brian Wilson

Chances at winning the division

Diamondbacks - 33%
Giants - 30%
Dodgers - 20%
Rockies - 12%
Padres - 5%

The Blue Jays question

Much can be learned about the strength of the division by simply asking where the Blue Jays would finish. They were 81-81 last year, which was good for fourth in the mighty AL East. Where would they fit in the National League West?

I actually think the Blue Jays could win this thing. It's hard to compare apples to apples here, because the Jays are set up to use a designated hitter and several of these NL West clubs would be lost with having to use one everyday. But overall, looking at the rosters, the Jays would absolutely be in the mix for a division title in the NL West.

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