Friday, February 19, 2010

Baeball Preview Part III

NL West

Order of Finish

          2009

1. Dodgers    95-67
2. Rockies     92-70
3. Giants        88-74
4. Padres       75-87
5. D-Backs    70-92

          2010


1. Rockies
2. Giants
3. Dodgers
4. D-backs
5. Padres

Key player for each team

D-Backs - Brandon Webb - SP - If he isn't back to form or close to it, this team has no chance.

Dodgers - Manny Ramirez - LF - Can he put up gaudy numbers again, 45 HR's; 120 RBI's?
Giants - Pablo Sandoval - 3B - If he isn't knocking in runs then who is?
Padres - Adrian Gonzalez - 1B - He has to be good so they can rebuild with the young talent they get in return.
Rockies - Huston Street - RP - This team has the pieces, but can he shake the 2009 struggles?

Notable FA singings

Adam Laroche - 1B - ARI
Mark DeRosa - LF - SF

Summary

This division will probably be the most exciting in the NL from start to finish. It has the makings of being the best division in all of baseball as far as excitement and parody. Just so you don’t think I’m forgetting a team, ill make my case about the Pads. I’m just going to exclude San Diego from this discussion - they stink. They have Gonzalez and Chris Young and 23 minor leaguers. Let's move on.

Let's take a look at the pitching staffs. The D-Backs have a very good rotation and it could be great if Webb comes back from his injury. Haren, Webb, Jackson, Buckner, Kennedy. Very solid 3 and ok 4 and 5 guys. Remember, this is the NL. A guy like Ian Kennedy could end up being a .500 type pitcher in this league.

The Dodgers have the lineup to secure home-field throughout the NL playoffs. The question is can their youthful rotation handle the long season while departing away with the veteran Randy Wolf. Kershaw, Billingsly, Kuroda, Padilla, and McDonald are either young or unproven. Can this team win 100 games - yes. Can they be the 2009 Cubs - yes.

The Rockies have depth, talent, speed, and yes - they do have a pretty good rotation. Jiminez, Cook, Francis, Hammel and De La Rosa are more than good enough to win 90+ games especially since they have a hitter friendly park and their line-up is lethal. The Rockies can play a variety of ways and that is why I like them so much. They can out hit you, out run you, out defend you and if the match up is right, out pitch you.

Finally, the Giants - talk about a rotation that is built for the post-season...if they can get there. With Lincecum you can make the argument at the bar that he's the best pitcher in the game and nobody would be looking at you funny. Cain, Zito, Sanchez, and Bumgarner (what a great last name). This staff doesn't scare me as much as it does in the regular season versus the post-season. Post-season baseball is magnified and the Giants have very good defenders to match up with their staff. But, I don't know if they have the offense to get to 85-90 wins.

All in all this a very competitive division because everyone has their weaknesses. Which team will hide those weaknesses will probably be the victor. I kind of matched these teams up. The Giants and D-Backs are pretty similar with good staffs and not a whole lot of offense, but pretty good D. The Rockies and Dodgers have it all, but there are questions that need answered.

I'm going to take the Rockies because I like their rotation enough and their offense is just too good. They have power guys, they have guys that they can plug in every 3rd day to give guys rest, top flight speed in Fowler and Jeter-like player in Tulowitzki. I have the Dodgers lower than probably anyone because I think losing Randy Wolf could literally blow up in this teams face. Their pitchers cannot even have a sore shoulder at any point in the season and they aren't used to this many innings. The Giants have a really dangerous team, but the back end of their rotation could really hurt them. When their 1-3 guys are on the mound they can beat anyone. When their 4-5 guys are on the hill the Nats, Astros, and Padres can beat them.

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