In all of the hubbub that surrounds the Major League trade deadline, it often gets lost that teams are still playing very important and meaningful games. That is exactly the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants who are first and second in the division for the third time in the last four seasons. The last time someone other than the Giants or Dodgers took the division crown was back in 2011. In fact, 2011 was the last time an NL West team that wasn't the Dodgers or Giants even had a winning record. Since then, the two division powers have combined for a .547 win percentage while the rest of the division has combined for a .454 win percentage.
According to FanGraphs, there's a 98.6% chance that either the Dodgers or Giants will take the division for the fourth straight season and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. The Dodgers have seemingly endless money and one of baseball's best farm systems -- thanks in part to their deep pockets allowing them to be ultra-aggressive in going after international free agents. The Giants also have the ability to carry a high payroll -- theirs is currently the fifth highest in baseball -- and they continue to find diamonds in the rough from their farm system. Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, and Chris Heston have all been key contributors to this year's team despite never being highly touted prospects.
On the other side of the coin, both the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres appear to be pressing the rebuild button while the Arizona Diamondbacks continue to hover slightly below .500 with no clear plan of what they want to do moving forward. None of this bodes well for one of those three teams being able to legitimately challenge the Dodgers or Giants for divisional supremacy within the next few seasons. It's impossible to predict the future, but it sure looks like we're set up for a long run of watching the Dodgers and/or Giants dominate the division. For now, let's take a look around the division since the All-Star break.
Arizona Diamondbacks (49-51, 7 GB)
The weeks that were: Arizona came out of the All-Star break cold as ice as they lost five of their first six and six of their first eight games. Since then, they've gone on a five-game winning streak over the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners to climb back within reach of .500.
Disabled list: RHP Chase Anderson (15-day, triceps), RHP Archie Bradley (15-day, shoulder), RHP Randall Delgado (15-day, ankle), C Tuffy Gosewisch (60-day, knee), IF Philip Gosselin (60-day, thumb), C Gerald Laird (60-day, back)
Player of the week: Paul Goldschmidt
BREAKING: Paul Goldschmidt is good. I feel a bit like a broken record talking about him in this space every week, but what else am I suppose to do? In his 59 PA since the All-Star break, he has continued to mash to the tune of .405/.525/.571, a 190 wRC+. Goldsshmidt is second in the NL in wRC+, fWAR, and rWAR and should garner some serious MVP consideration if the Diamondbacks are able to scratch their way above .500 somehow.
Colorado Rockies (43-56, 12½ GB)
The weeks that were: On the field, the Rockies have gone 4-7 since the All-Star break. Nobody really cares about that though, the big news for them is that Troy Tulowitzki is no longer a member of the team.
Upcoming schedule: The Rockies continue to trudge through the remainder of their season next week with four on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals and three at home with the Mariners.
Disabled list: LHP Tyler Anderson (60-day, elbow), RHP Christian Bergman (15-day, shoulder), RHP Chad Bettis (15-day, elbow), RHP Brooks Brown (15-day, shoulder), RHP Tyler Chatwood (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP David Hale (15-day, groin), RHP Jordan Lyles (60-day, toe), 1B Justin Morneau (60-day, concussion), RHP Adam Ottavino (60-day, Tommy John surgery)
Player of the week: Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo is bolstering his trade value at the perfect time for the Rockies. Since the break, he has hit a blistering .400/.467/1.025 with eight home runs and 17 RBI in 45 PA. His 290 wRC+ is second only to Joey Votto's 312 across that same time span and has gotten his wRC+ for the season up to 117, almost perfectly in line with his career number of 120. The big question now is just how much longer he'll be wearing a Rockies uniform.
Los Angeles Dodgers (57-45, 0 GB)
The weeks that were: Los Angeles has been solid, if unspectacular, since the All-Star break. Their 7-6 record has kept them in the division lead, but just barely. It should be fun watching them and the Giants go down to the wire.
Upcoming schedule: Next week the Dodgers will look to cling to their ever-so-slim division lead when they host the Los Angeles Angels for three before heading out on the road for three against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Disabled list: C A.J. Ellis (15-day, knee), RHP Carlos Frias (15-day, back), RHP Chris Hatcher (15-day, oblique), RHP Brancon McCarthy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Paco Rodriguez (60-day, elbow), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (60-day, shoulder)
Player of the week: Clayton Kershaw
You remember the last NL West report, don't you? Well, Kershaw hasn't been so under-the-radar since then. In his two starts since the break, Kershaw has thrown 17 scoreless innings. He's allowed just six hits, struck out 25, and hasn't walked a single batter. Those numbers give him a 2.51 ERA, 2.12 FIP, and 1.90 xFIP. Those last two numbers are both the best in the big leagues and Kershaw should once again find himself squarely in the middle of the Cy Young conversation.
San Diego Padres (48-53, 8½ GB)
The weeks that were: Despite a strong 7-4 record since the break, the Padres still find themselves looking to sell after an explosive offseason that was meant to help them contend for the division.
Disabled list: C Tim Federowicz (60-day, knee), RHP Josh Johnson (60-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, elbow), RHP Brandon Morrow (60-day, shoulder), OF Wil Myers (15-day, wrist), 3B Cory Spangenberg (15-day, knee)
Player of the week: Matt Kemp
Similar to Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp is heating up and raising his trade value at the perfect time. After a slow start, Kemp has hit .306/.419/.669 with four doubles and three home runs in 43 PA since the break, good for a 204 wRC+. The strong stretch for Kemp finally has finally gotten him above average as a hitter this season with his wRC+ going up to 102 for the year.
San Francisco Giants (56-45, ½ GB)
The weeks that were: San Francisco has stormed into the second half absolutely scorching hot. They've gone 10-2 and made it a legitimate battle between them and the Dodgers for the division crown.
Disabled list: RHP Tim Lincecum (15-day, forearm), IF Marco Scutaro (60-day, back), C Andrew Susac (15-day, thumb)
Player of the week: Hunter Pence
When a team wins 10 out of 12 games, there are typically a lot of players performing well. This rings true for the Giants as well, but Pence has been the best of the bunch with a .348/.423/.609 slash line across 52 PA. Dealing with the first significant injury of his career, Pence has been limited to just 35 games so far this season, but when he's been in the lineup the production has been there. His 146 wRC+ on the season would be the best mark of his career.