Here are my power rankings for the National League West following the week of April 15-21:
Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2, 12-3 overall)
The Dodgers have been one of the more surprising teams in the league this year, with a great mix of hitting and pitching. Matt Kemp is proving that last year was no fluke for him, but the key for the Dodgers will be how Andre Ethier and James Loney perform at the plate to support him. Aside from Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly has been the biggest surprise from the rotation this year, and if he and Chad Billingsley can help to form a 1-2-3 punch, look out for the Dodgers in 2012.
Colorado Rockies (3-3, 7-7 overall)
The Rockies have been carried mostly by their offensive production to this point, and one has to wonder how long it will last. Michael Cuddyer has been everything the team could have dreamed of so far, but the key player for the Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez, hasn't started off that well and will need to pick it up for them to continue to have success.
San Francisco Giants (3-3, 7-7 overall)
Other than a blowout loss to the Rockies on April 11, the San Francisco Giants can't seem to break away from all of the close games they have encountered this season. The injury to Brian Wilson dealt a huge blow to the team early on, but I think they should be okay closing out games with the relievers they have now. The bigger concern is Tim Lincecum, who seems to have fallen off a cliff as far as his performance is concerned. It is good to see Buster Posey back and hitting solidly once again, but the team will need more than just his bat to possibly get by the Dodgers this year.
Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5, 7-8 overall)
The Diamondbacks have had a bad stretch of games of late, catching a hot Atlanta Braves team at the wrong time along with losing two out of three games to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their starting pitching has been great this year, with Joe Saunders finally pitching like his old self, but the bullpen has been a problem and will likely need to be bolstered for the team to have a chance at another playoff run in 2012. Their hitting has gotten off to a slow start overall as well, but I expect them to rebound sooner rather than later and get things back together again.
San Diego Padres (2-5, 4-12 overall)
Chase Headley has been the bright spot on the Padres along with Anthony Bass to this point, but the team just doesn't have enough talent to really compete for anything this year.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong baseball fan who enjoys writing about everything Major League Baseball. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.
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