1. Los Angeles Dodgers (Queens of the Stone Age) – It pains me to even make this pick, but I see the Dodgers being able to do several things well — this is a pitching rich division, and adding Andruw Jones to the line-up can only help when power hitters are at a premium. Regular playing time for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney can only make them better, and there is a solid setup-to-closer in Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito to take the ball from Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, and Chad Billingsley (who should finally have that very good season.) An all-around good group, looks like.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks (Jimmy Eat World) – It’s not that I don’t like Arizona’s chances with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren as a 1-2 combination, but I look at their line-up and they need someone to step up and hit for power. So, right now, they’re a little more than one-dimensional, but not enough to make them a team that can go deep if they get the Wild Card (and I say they probably will.)
3. Colorado Rockies (The Apples in Stereo) – Mostly young core, should be offensively powerful and fun to watch, but I can’t shake the sense that pitchers like Jeff Francis will be coming back to earth after being lights out for the last two months to carry them to the World Series. I’m not sure if they’re consistently there yet.
4. San Diego Padres (Hot Snakes) – If you have Jake Peavy as the ace, you’ve always got a shot — but losing Mike Cameron will hurt more than the team thinks (especially when replacing his defense with an old Jim Edmonds) and if Chris Young and Greg Maddux have off seasons, it won’t be very pretty.
5. San Francisco Giants (Metallica) – A sad shadow of itself, this team consists of young players with very little experience and veterans better described as over-the-hill. The only positives are the younger members of the starting pitching staff — namely Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. It’ll be a long season for those fans at Pac Bell Park, who will miss Barry Bonds more than Peter Magowan would like them to.