We've seen it with all of the projections -- both numbers- and stats-based ones and analysts-using-their-eyes ones: the Dodgers are the clear favorite to win the National League West this season.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal took to the keyboard last night to try and make a case for the other teams in the division to surpass the Dodgers, but he just couldn't do it. Strangely, I've found myself in the same position while analyzing the prospects of the coming season. They're just loaded; they have tremendous depth, multiple star-caliber players, role players who have repeatedly proven themselves at the big-league level, and pitching -- so much pitching.
And, of course, they have the resources to ensure that the proper insurance will be brought aboard in the case of an emergency involving any of their key cogs. Some of the other teams in the division have some combination of those things, but nobody has all of it -- and nobody has any of it quite like the Dodgers.
But there is a lot to like within the division. The Padres have good depth, the Giants -- historically, at least -- have good pitching, the Diamondbacks have a little bit of both and the Rockies are, as quoted to Rosenthal by a rival GM, going to be a dreaded opponent:
"Scary if they stay healthy." -unnamed NL West reliever
"Nobody likes to play them." -unnamed rival NL West GM.
Of course, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have a lot to do with that, but Rosenthal also notes' the Rockies potentially dangerous pitching staff, including Brett Anderson, Jon Gray, Eddie Butler and a healthy Jhoulys Chacin.
But they're not there yet. It's very possible the Rox are still the fifth-best team in the division. But then again, not a whole lot of people would be surprised if they established themselves as the second-best by season's end. They won't be first. And that's the point of this whole thing: the Dodgers have a stranglehold on the top of the division, and it doesn't appear they'll be letting go anytime soon.