In recent years, the NL West has been dubbed baseball's worst division. In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the division with a mere 82 wins, barely clinching a winning season. The other four NL West teams had losing seasons.
In 2006, not a single team reached the 90-win plateau and three teams endured sub-.500 seasons.
2007 finally brought two 90-win teams thanks to Arizona's solid season and Colorado's magical late-season run. With San Diego's third place 89-win season, many felt the division was heading in the right direction.
Not so fast.
The division regressed once again in 2008 and the Dodgers won the division with a mere 84 wins, only six games over .500. By the end of the year, the Dodgers appeared to be the only real threat to compete in 2009 with the addition of Manny Ramirez.
However, 2009 has given fans and analysts alike hope that the division is going to be among the most competitive in the game in 2010.
That is largely because three teams finished with winning records: The Dodgers with 95, the Rockies surprisingly with 92, and the Giants with 88. The division is now filled with some of the best young talent among the game.
Young stars such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, Pablo Sandoval, and Adrian Gonzalez give NL West fans hopes for a competitive division for years to come.
From a writer's standpoint, this makes the division much more difficult to predict than in years past. The Dodgers two year streak of NL West crowns is in jeopardy as a result of the division's turnaround.
The Rockies have surprisingly emerged as a legitimate contender thanks to their remarkable 2009 turnaround. The Giants have hope of building on last year's success. Arizona has made some intriguing offseason moves and welcomes back some familiar faces from injuries.
And the Padres...well, are still the Padres.
I had a difficult time predicting this division which is, in my opinion, the most competitive in baseball. I have spent weeks researching and pondering over the NL West and still found myself scratching my head afterwards.
So without further ado, I give you my 2010 NL West predictions.