Los Angeles Dodgers should win the National League West

A bad 2012 is behind the Dodgers with a potentially great 2013 ahead of them. Photo: Hanley Ramirez scores avoiding Buster Posey's tag AP/George Nikitin

LOS ANGELES, March 30, 2013 — The Los Angeles Dodgers had a horrible 2012 that was plagued with injuries, teased with new acquisitions and ruined by underachieving. They finished second in the National League West with an 86-76 record.

Hanley Ramirez will miss the first eight weeks of the season after being injured in the World Baseball Classic. A few other Dodgers are still nursing some injuries as well, most notably Carl Crawford and Zack Greinke. Crawford is a question mark to start the season healthy and Zack Greinke will miss his first start with a sore elbow.

Once everyone is healthy, the Dodgers are expected to dominate. They have an offense loaded with former all-stars looking to get their stride back. Matt Kemp is coming off an injury-riddled season and is back down to the weight he was at when he should have won the MVP in 2011.

Clayton Kershaw making a comment or just thirsty? AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Clayton Kershaw leads a very deep rotation that includes newcomers Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is playing his first professional season outside of South Korea.

The Bullpen looks solid and deep as well with Brandon League returning to be the closer. They may also go with a closer by committee, as there are a few guys that are proven to have good ninth inning arms in the past.

The new ownership group rescued the Dodgers from the Frank McCourt doldrums. They have more than doubled their payroll from the start of 2012 and started a much needed replenishing of the farm system. The expectations are high and if the Dodgers underachieve again like last year, look for Arizona and San Francisco to fill the void.

Projected payroll: $213,014,286

Notable Players Out: 1B/OF Juan Rivera, LF Shane Victorino, C Matt Treanor, OF Bobby Abreu, LHP Randy Choate, RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Jamey Wright

Notable Players In:  RHP Zack Greinke, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP J.P. Howell

Prospect Watch: OF Yasiel Puig and RHP Zach Lee

Highlight Hitter: CF Matt Kemp (ZiPS 2013 Projections: .291/.365/.531 30 HR/101 R/101 RBI/20 SB)

Highlight Pitcher: LHP Clayton Kershaw (ZiPS 2013 Projections: 17-7, 2.56 ERA, 9.46 K/9, 221.7 IP)

Projected Lineup: C A.J. Ellis, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 2B Mark Ellis, 3B Nick Punto, SS Luis Cruz, LF Carl Crawford, CF Matt Kemp, RF Andre Ethier

Projected Rotation: LHP Clayton Kershaw, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, RHP Chad Billingsley, RHP Josh Beckett, RHP Zack Greinke

Projected Closer: RHP Brandon League

Manager: Don Mattingly

Projected 2013 Finish in NL West: 1. Los Angeles Dodgers  2. San Francisco Giants 3. Arizona Diamondbacks 4. San Diego Padres 5. Colorado Rockies

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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Kevin Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR.


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