Everything you need to know about the NL West
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The National League West should be one of baseball's most fascinating divisions this season.

For the last six years, the division has belonged to the two-time defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Health permitting, the Dodgers have the inside track on a seventh straight NL West crown, but the competition is a little better this year.

Sure, the Dodgers' bitter rivals in San Francisco face a rebuild and won't pose a threat in 2019. But the Colorado Rockies - the team that forced L.A. to win the division in Game 163 last year - are nipping at the Dodgers' heels.

Meanwhile, the up-and-coming San Diego Padres added Manny Machado to their young team, and the club is itching to end a prolonged playoff drought (the Padres last made the postseason in 2006). Even the Arizona Diamondbacks won't be a pushover despite trading Paul Goldschmidt.

Here's all you need to know about the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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2018 record: 82-80 (3rd in NL West)
Payroll: $119,949,166
O/U win total: 81
World Series odds: 66-1
3-year trend: 2016 (4th); 2017 (2nd); 2018 (3rd)
Highest projected WAR: Robbie Ray (3.1)
X-factor: Ray
Prospect to watch: Jon Duplantier (MLB.com: No. 73)
Winter report card: C

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos. Proj. WAR
1 Ketel Marte (S) CF 2.8
2 Eduardo Escobar (S) 3B 2.0
3 David Peralta (L) LF 2.5
4 Steven Souza Jr. RF 1.2
5 Jake Lamb (L) 1B 1.6
6 Wilmer Flores 2B 2.0
7 Nick Ahmed SS 1.3
8 Carson Kelly C 0.9

Bench

Player Pos. Proj. WAR
Alex Avila (L) C 0.9
Socrates Brito (L) OF 0.0
Adam Jones (R) OF 0.6
John Ryan Murphy (R) C 0.4
Christian Walker (R) 1B/OF 0.0

Goldschmidt's presence will be missed, and Jake Lamb needs to rediscover his All-Star form and become this group's leader while replacing him.

It's also worth watching how the D-Backs work super utility man Ketel Marte and five-time All-Star Adam Jones into their lineup on a regular basis.

Projected Rotation

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Zack Greinke R 3.99
Robbie Ray L 3.74
Zack Godley R 4.22
Luke Weaver R 4.20
Merrill Kelly R N/A

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Archie Bradley R 3.57
Greg Holland R 4.26
Yoshihisa Hirano R 4.46
Andrew Chafin L 3.55
Yoan Lopez R 3.92
T.J. McFarland L 4.19
Nick Green R 4.20

Zack Greinke should be his usual dominant self atop this rotation, but he'll have to carry a larger load with Patrick Corbin gone, and a combination of youth, inexperience, and question marks surrounds him.

Taijuan Walker, who underwent Tommy John surgery last April, should return to the rotation later in the season. The bullpen, led by first-time closer Archie Bradley and the underrated Yoshihisa Hirano, could be excellent - especially if Greg Holland replicates last year's second-half performance.

Colorado Rockies

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2018 record: 91-72 (2nd in NL West)
Payroll: $140,305,833
O/U win total: 85
World Series odds: 35-1
3-year trend: 2016 (3rd); 2017 (3rd); 2018 (2nd)
Highest projected WAR: Nolan Arenado (4.9)
X-factor: Kyle Freeland
Prospect to watch: Brendan Rodgers (MLB.com: No. 10)
Winter report card: B+

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos. Proj. WAR
1 Charlie Blackmon (L) RF 2.2
2 Nolan Arenado 3B 4.9
3 Daniel Murphy (L) 1B 1.8
4 Trevor Story SS 3.5
5 David Dahl (L) LF 1.1
6 Ian Desmond CF 1.0
7 Ryan McMahon (L) 2B 1.0
8 Chris Iannetta C 1.3

Bench

Player Pos. Proj. WAR
Tony Wolters (L) C 0.8
Garrett Hampson IF/OF 1.0
Mark Reynolds 1B N/A
Raimel Tapia (L) OF 0.0

The Rockies' top four projects to be scary good in the friendly confines of Coors Field, with the team's lineup balanced from both sides of the plate.

That group can help to hide potential issues lower in the order. Garrett Hampson, a highly regarded prospect, could be key as a multi-positional threat.

Projected Rotation

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
German Marquez R 3.88
Kyle Freeland L 4.61
Jon Gray R 4.17
Tyler Anderson L 4.56
Chad Bettis R 4.55

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Wade Davis R 3.98
Seung Hwan Oh R 4.57
Scott Oberg R 3.98
Jake McGee L 4.44
Bryan Shaw R 4.31
Mike Dunn L 5.20
Chris Rusin L 4.16
D.J. Johnson R 4.11

Pitching has always been the Rockies' Achilles' heel, but now the club has starters who aren't scared by altitude.

Last year, Colorado's rotation - a group that included the above quintet and injured right-hander Antonio Senzatela - set a franchise record for strikeouts while also posting the second-lowest starters' ERA in team history.

Improvement will be needed in relief, though, as the Rockies' attempt to build a juggernaut bullpen last year didn't work. Wade Davis remained steady, but Bryan Shaw was one of Colorado's biggest free-agent busts, and he's struggling again this spring.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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2018 record: 92-71 (1st in NL West)
Payroll: $191,006,668
O/U win total: 94
World Series odds: 8-1
3-year trend: 2016 (1st); 2017 (1st); 2018 (1st)
Highest projected WAR: Corey Seager (5.4)
X-factor: Max Muncy
Prospect to watch: Alex Verdugo (MLB.com: No. 35)
Winter report card: C

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos. Proj. WAR
1 A.J. Pollock CF 2.5
2 Corey Seager (L) SS 5.4
3 Justin Turner 3B 4.5
4 Cody Bellinger (L) RF 3.7
5 Max Muncy (L) 1B 1.7
6 Chris Taylor 2B 2.5
7 Joc Pederson (L) LF 2.8
8 Austin Barnes C 2.5

Bench

Player Pos. Proj. WAR
Russell Martin C/3B 1.2
David Freese 3B/1B 0.1
Enrique Hernandez IF/OF 2.1
Alex Verdugo (L) OF 0.6

Dave Roberts' love of platoons and utility players means that nobody - save for Justin Turner and Seager, and maybe A.J. Pollock - should get comfortable at one position. The Dodgers are flush with multi-positional talent and can run out a variety of productive lineups.

Projected Rotation

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Hyun-Jin Ryu L 3.70
Walker Buehler R 3.27
Rich Hill L 3.63
Kenta Maeda R 3.91
Ross Stripling R 3.62

* Clayton Kershaw expected to start season on IL

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Kenley Jansen R 3.38
Joe Kelly R 3.17
Pedro Baez R 3.92
Scott Alexander L 3.06
Dylan Floro R 3.70
J.T. Chargois R 3.55
Yimi Garcia R 4.08
Caleb Ferguson L 3.59

The name missing here is Dodgers icon Clayton Kershaw, whose status for Opening Day is in doubt due to continued shoulder discomfort. Once healthy, the future Hall of Famer will likely bump either Kenta Maeda or Ross Stripling to the bullpen. However, there's increasing doubt about Kershaw's health and ability to return in top form.

Joe Kelly working in a setup role behind Kenley Jansen adds more power to an already stacked bullpen. The Dodgers are still being careful with youngster Julio Urias, but expect to see him contribute this season.

San Diego Padres

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2018 record: 66-96 (5th in NL West)
Payroll: $89,407,500
O/U win total: 79
World Series odds: 125-1
3-year trend: 2016 (5th); 2017 (4th); 2018 (5th)
Highest projected WAR: Machado (5.4)
X-factor: Wil Myers
Prospect to watch: Fernando Tatis Jr. (MLB.com: No. 2)
Winter report card: A-

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos. Proj. WAR
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1.0
2 Manny Machado 3B 5.4
3 Eric Hosmer (L) 1B 1.6
4 Wil Myers LF 1.9
5 Hunter Renfroe RF 0.7
6 Franchy Cordero (L) CF 0.7
7 Luis Urias SS 1.6
8 Austin Hedges C 2.1

Bench

Player Pos. Proj. WAR
Francisco Mejia (S) C 0.7
Greg Garcia (L) IF 0.2
Manuel Margot OF 1.8
Franmil Reyes OF 1.5

Quietly, a lot of raw power has been added to this lineup, with Hunter Renfroe (26 HR, .256 ISO in 441 plate appearances last year) in the middle of the order and Franmil Reyes (16 HR, .218 ISO in 85 PAs) coming off the bench. Oh, and that new guy Machado will be in the two-hole.

Expect the lineup's look to change dramatically once top prospect Tatis Jr. gets the call, and Francisco Mejia begins to see more time behind the plate.

Projected Rotation

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Joey Lucchesi L 3.78
Chris Paddack R 3.48
Matt Strahm L 3.85
Eric Lauer L 4.19
Robbie Erlin L 3.99

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Kirby Yates R 3.25
Craig Stammen R 3.66
Adam Warren R 3.89
Trey Wingenter R 3.53
Robert Stock R 3.71
Aaron Loup L 3.37
Phil Maton R 3.92
Bryan Mitchell R 4.54

It's all about the kids here, as the average age of San Diego's projected Opening Day rotation is 25 years, seven months.

The team's bullpen is still a hodgepodge of names you might've forgotten, though the back-end combo of Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen is lethal.

San Francisco Giants

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2018 record: 73-89 (4th in NL West)
Payroll: $164,592,777
O/U win total: 73
World Series odds: 125-1
3-year trend: 2016 (2nd); 2017 (5th); 2018 (4th)
Highest projected WAR: Buster Posey (5.1)
X-factor: Evan Longoria
Prospect to watch: Joey Bart (MLB.com: No. 22)
Winter report card: F

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos. Proj. WAR
1 Steven Duggar (L) CF 1.0
2 Joe Panik (L) 2B 2.0
3 Buster Posey C 5.1
4 Brandon Belt (L) 1B 2.7
5 Evan Longoria 3B 2.1
6 Brandon Crawford (L) SS 2.7
7 Mac Williamson LF -0.1
8 Gerardo Parra (L) RF -0.1

Bench

Player Pos. Proj. WAR
Drew Ferguson OF 0.1
Cameron Maybin OF 0.2
Rene Rivera C 0.2
Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B/1B -0.1
Yangervis Solarte (S) IF 0.2

Posey and Brandon Belt should perform at the same high level, but Longoria needs to put his miserable first season in San Francisco behind him for this lineup to be productive.

Giants fans should expect to see plenty of platoons, as this projected lineup is two-thirds left-handed.

Projected Rotation

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Madison Bumgarner L 3.93
Jeff Samardzija R 4.26
Derek Holland L 4.04
Dereck Rodriguez R 4.40
Drew Pomeranz L 4.32

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws Proj. ERA
Will Smith L 3.06
Mark Melancon R 3.51
Tony Watson L 3.41
Sam Dyson R 3.61
Reyes Moronta R 3.35
Travis Bergen L 3.73
Chris Stratton R 4.02

Dereck Rodriguez has become a key cog in the Giants' rotation. Last year, he allowed 0.72 homers per nine innings, tops among qualified NL rookie starters. Meanwhile, his 1.5 WAR, per FanGraphs, ranked sixth.

Another solid season from Will Smith in the closer's role could turn him into a highly valued trade-deadline piece this summer.

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Everything you need to know about the NL West
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