Sunday, March 28, 2010

MLB Preview-NL West

With Opening Day just 7 days away I kick off my preview of Major League Baseball today. I will have a brief analysis of each team and predict where they will finish in the division standings. Today's post I look at the National League West...

  1. San Francisco Giants: The Giants have a tremendous pitching staff lead by the reigning two time Cy Young award winner, Tim Lincecum. But in 2009, their offense was their achilles, ranking towards the bottom in most offensive categories. But the Giants have filled some holes in their lineup by adding utility man Mark DeRosa and first baseman Aubrey Huff to provide more of a offensive spark. And with youngsters Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez in the lineup, this lineup should have a heavy increase in their offensive numbers and coupled with the pitching staff will lead them to a Western division title.
  2. Colorado Rockies: Colorado strikes me as a very good team. They had a great 09 that lead them to a wild card berth. They were a very balanced team riding some young guns to October. You would think they are the odds on favorite to win this division...but I don't. I think their young guns will face some adversity they have not faced before now that they have a year under their belt. This team should hit effectively but I have issues with the starting 5 and the bullpen. Their 2 and 3 starters, Aaron Cook and Jorge DeLaRosa are streaky pitchers that cannot give a consistent season. And the pitching holds me back from giving them a playoff spot.
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers were the division winner in 2009. And after a very disappointing offseason I cannot pick them higher than third in 2010. Right now their projected first four starters in the rotation are Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla. The first two can be solid, but the other two are very key for this team. Kuroda needs to stay on the field and Padilla needs to be as effective as he was in the final two months of 2009. And the Dodgers need a healthy bullpen to survive, as Joe Torre does not hesitate to use them. The lineup can pack a punch, but the 3 and 4 starters have to succeed for the Dodgers to succeed and I can't see that happening.
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks: Here's another team that can pack a punch in their lineup. The Diamondbacks are lead by youngsters Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds and if their lineup can perform, they can keep up on the offensive side. Pitching wise the D-Backs look solid, but they can't keep starters Brandon Webb and Dan Haren on the field at the same time. Webb is questionable to start the year healthy already which only leaves them with Haren and newcomer Edwin Jackson as proven starters. With the last two starting spots up in the air and a bullpen full of unproven pitchers I can't give the Diamondbacks much credibility this year...but they should be great in the years to come.
  5. San Diego Padres: With three contenders and a young up and coming team already in this division, there has to be a bad team. And that's where San Diego comes in. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell are their only two proven players and they are both seemingly on the trade block heading into 2010. After these guys the Padres don't have much to offer offensively or defensively. They are still a few years off from being a contender again so hopefully the have productive drafts, or else this team will be along ways off from playing in October again.
So there it is, my first division breakdown for 2010. Tomorrow I tackle the National League East.

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