For some MLB fans, the NL West is the National League's weakest division—the 2011 San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres recorded the 28th- and 29th-worst team batting averages in all of baseball, respectively.
The Los Angeles Dodgers finished 12th, and the Colorado Rockies placed ninth.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks—the NL West team that actually won the division—recorded a team batting average of .250, putting them in 19th place, just fractions of a point behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Padres additionally finished dead last in all of baseball with just 91 home runs, while the Giants and Dodgers took 22nd and 23rd place, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers were MLB's last-place team in doubles, while Los Angeles and San Diego ran 29th and 30th in extra-base hits.
When it comes to offense—perhaps other than Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp and Arizona's Justin Upton—the NL West doesn't get much respect.
Pitching, however, is a completely different story.
The Giants (second), Padres (third) and Dodgers (fifth) all placed in the top five in MLB ERA, while the Giants and Dodgers took second and fourth place, respectively, in strikeouts.
The Diamondbacks led all of baseball with 58 saves, while the Giants gave up a major league-best 96 home runs, 24 dingers less than their nearest foes, the Philadelphia Phillies (120 HR).
Yes, when it comes to pitching, the NL West is one of the best, if not the best, divisions in baseball.
As the 2012 season approaches, it is time to navigate through the NL West's sea of pitching talent and predict those most likely to vie for an All-Star selection.