Predictions for the NL West

Thearon W. Henderson

They aren't wrong yet. So you have that going for you.

If you're looking for correct predictions for the entire 2014 season, you'll find those here. If you're looking for stupid predictions from last year, you can find those here. Hello, last-place Red Sox!

Predict the entire league if you want to, but I'm more interested in the NL West predictions this year, especially the ones coming from a Giants site. Because your NL West predictions mean something. They are a window into your soul.  Here are your options:

1. Make cold, logical predictions based on tangible facts. Ignore your rooting interests and examine the available evidence.

2. Act like a drunk 5'3" guy with a Napoleon complex and start asking who wants a piece, huh, who wants a piece, you, huh, what about you, come here, bro.

Choosing the first option is boring. But it's a way to shield yourself from looking stupid and irrational. If you pick another team to win the division, and the Giants win, you still get to be just as happy. You get to chuckle at the predictions later, while saying, "Can you blame me, folks? Can you blame me?

Choosing the second option is a good way to end up in the metaphorical ER, looking stupid and feeling broken. The bluster feels good as it's happening, even though everyone knows you're about to get your everything fractured.

Here's the scoop: The Dodgers are better on paper. There's no arguing that unless you think Marco Scutaro is going to get 550 at-bats this year and hit .350, or that Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong are going to return to the All-Star Game, and there's no real reason to think any of that. If you're picking the Giants, you're not using evidence. You're using gut feelings and wishes.

Which is okay. Encouraged, even.

The Dodgers have four outfielders better than Michael Morse, and they're one of the only teams in the league with a first baseman better than Brandon Belt. Their bullpen is probably better, and the rotation is certainly better. On paper. But it's like my grandpappy never said, "They don't play the game on paper, unless the wind blows a napkin on the field, but you know what I'm talking about, don't be so damned pedantic."

Teams that are better on paper can lose. Sometimes that 5'3" guy starts biting fingers, and eventually everyone jumps out of a window to avoid him. The 1997 Dodgers were supposed to be the best team in the league, much less the division. They had Mondesi and Piazza, Nomo, Valdez, and Park, Rookies of the Year, and money. The Giants had Mark Gardner and William Vanlandingham. J.T. Snow was supposed to be the worst first baseman in baseball, according to the Internet. They had just traded away Matt Williams, who was a danged hero.

If you ran around before 1997 talking about how the Dodgers were going down, people would have thought you were nuts. But you would have been vindicated. And how. You would have made an amazing, stupid, and prescient prediction.

And you would have enjoyed the '97 season just as much as the person who was expecting the Dodgers to be the best team in the division. You don't get extra enjoyment points for getting your predictions right. So here's my NL West prediction for 2014, according to logic:

1. Dodgers
2. Giants
3. Diamondbacks
4. Rockies
5. Padres

All five can win the division with a little luck, either good or bad depending on the situation. But if those are a window into my soul, my soul is an accountant who laughs out loud at Big Bang Theory. My soul is so boring, it's kind of sad.

Here's the prediction my heart offers, then:

1. Giants
2. Diamondbacks (under .500)
3. Rockies
4. Padres
5. Dodgers (101 losses, no one is injured, Yasiel Puig pulls a boa constrictor out of his locker and throws it on A.J. Ellis during a clubhouse fight)

If the first one is right, there is no joy in being right. There is no joy.

If the second one is right, there's no extra joy in baseball that wouldn't be there without the prediction. There would be maximum joy.

I believe the first one. I believe in the second one.

Come, open the curtains and draw the blinds for the window of your soul. Let us see inside. What are your NL West predictions?

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