5. San Diego Padres: San Diego strikes us as a curious team, but frankly they have to many "who's that?' on the team for our liking. Tim Stauffer (Who?) appears to be their staff ace. Their closer is Huston Street. And their prized acquisition in the offseason was Carlos Quentin, and he is set to begin the season on the DL. This is a young team, with some nice potential. But for 2012, they will be the cellar dwellers in the NL West.
4. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies boast one of the NL's best offenses. But their pitching is a huge turnoff for this team. True, they have some nice young starters due to break camp with the team (Drew Pomeranz, Alex White-Both players acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade), but they lack a true staff ace (Pick between Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin). Also, their bullpen frightens us (Rafael Betancourt is their closer?!?!). So if Colorado can get anything from their pitchers, they could compete. But they won't.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers: Honestly, I'm tired of waiting for the Dodgers to step it up and win. They have good starters (Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly). They have a lineup full of talented hitters (Kemp, Ethier, Loney). Their bullpen does appear to be out of sorts (No set closer as of yet), but it is not all that bad. This team should be better than this, but we can't see them finishing higher than third. So that's where they will end up.
2. San Francisco Giants: The Giants set out to acquire some offense for the top of their order this year. So their answer was trading SP Jonathan Sanchez for OF Melky Cabrera (Fail!). Also throw in the fact, the Giants will be getting C Buster Posey back, and their lineup should be just about the same: No punch at the top, solid in the middle, lifeless at the bottom. They have one of the league's best pitching staffs, but it will not save them from their dismal lineup. The Giants get second in the division, but sit out on October once again.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: If you don't love this team, start loving them now. They can hit (Former Twin Jason Kubel is projected to bat 7th!), they can pitch (Former A's standout Trevor Cahill is slated as the team's 4th starter!), and they can play defense as good as anyone. The D-Backs went out this offseason and added another bat (The before mentioned Kubel) and bolstered their bullpen (They brought in Craig Breslow and Takashi Saito to bridge the gap to JJ Putz in the 9th). This team could sneak up on people as a NL pennant contender. They are that good. Don't sleep on them again in 2012.