It's a close call, but the Arizona Diamondbacks enter the 2007 season as the favorites in the National League West.
What's also worth noting is that this might the worst D'backs team we'll see in the next seven years or so. Yep, that's right. Arizona has assembled one of the most impressive menageries of young talent that's been seen in some time, and as a result the organization is poised to dominate the division -- and perhaps all of the NL -- in the coming seasons....
On the whole, you have an organization that's uniquely positioned to dominate. In the NL West, you have strong collections of young talent in Los Angeles and Colorado, but they don't rise to the level of Arizona's pups. Let's keep in mind that this is an organization that, in their relatively brief nine-year history, has won three division titles and a World Series. Believe it or not, the best may be yet to come.
A bold call, to be sure. But weren't the same things being said about Cleveland and Florida few years back?
And where will the Diamondbacks' clubhouse leadership come from? A quick glance at their roster shows their most experienced players are Randy Johnson (back with the club after two years with the Yankees, and more a leader by example), Eric Byrnes (new to the club in '06) and Tony Clark (not a starter).
In fact, Ned Colletti's preference for veteran players will provide an interesting contrast between the approaches of both clubs in the next few years: Dodgers (talented youngsters mixed with veterans) vs. Diamondbacks (talented youngsters expected to produce sooner rather than later).