Sunday, April 20, 2008


Season 1: 89-73; 1st Place; Lost in DPS
Season 2: 103-59; 1st Place; Lost in DCS
This off season saw a big shake-up of what was one of the best offenses in the NL. The loss of catcher (should be a DH) Oswaldo Rodriguez clearly decreases the firepower of this group. While Alan Lidge has a competent bat, he was brought here to bolster the defense. First baseman Pascual Martin is always a threat to win a batting title as well as deliver some good power. New arrival Cliff Harris looks to be the main complement to Martin in what still appears to be a better than average NL offense.
With the improvements to the defense, what was already a scary pitching staff looks to be downright lethal. Last season’s Cy Young winner Felipe Tejada, Al Diaz, and Bernie Delgado are possibly the best trio of starters for any team in the game. Between those three, you can pretty much guarantee 50-60 wins in the books. So when you throw in back-to-back 16 game winner Carlton Arnold and 13 game winner Phillip Latham, it sure seems like the front office should just go ahead and start printing this season’s playoff tickets.
Once the starters leave the game, things do not get any more promising for the opposition. Last season, Daniel Kennedy was the best closer in the game and waiting in the wings is a guy almost as good in Craig Kline. Diamondback opponents are not going to be scoring very many runs this season.
Season 3 Forecast
The lineup changes may cost the D’backs some runs scored this season, but the improved defense is going to make it very tough on the opposition to score any runs themselves. A third divisional championship banner will be hanging at Bank One Ballpark after this season.
Season 3 Prediction: 97-65; 1st Place

Season 1: 86-76; T2nd Place
Season 2: 97-65; 2nd Place; Lost in DPS
The offense was the Achilles heal of the Dodgers last season as they were unable to put up numbers against the better pitchers in the league. Since almost all of the pitchers you face in the playoffs are the better pitchers, it led to a brief postseason. The standouts for this middle of the road gang are first baseman Scott Rivers, leftfielder Leon Abbott, and rightfielder Jason Walls. It will be interesting to see if the new management decides to shake things up a bit to help score some more runs.
The strength of the Dodgers lies here in their deep and talented pitching staff, which led all of baseball in ERA last season. They have a great young rotation of five solid guys all age 27 and under, currently making league minimums. Davey Molina, Richard Coveleski, Buck Barry, Alvin Sasser, and Alejandro Sosa. This group could provide the Dodgers with quite a few quality starts over the next decade.
While the rotation is full of kids, the Dodger bullpen looks like an AARP meeting. Led by the “youngster”, 31 year old new closer Gary Meadows, these aging arms are looking to prove they still have something left in the tank. Meadows performed well as a starter last season and looks like a great candidate to be the new closer. Also providing solid relief innings will be Jeff Nash and free agent pickups Roger Robinson and Brutus Freeman.
Season 3 Forecast
With no changes to their lineup, the Dodgers will again struggle when they play the good teams with the better pitchers. However their deep pitching staff is going to make all of their games close ones and allow them to once again compete for the playoffs, likely the wildcard.
Season 3 Prediction: 93-69; 2nd Place

Season 1: 86-76; T2nd Place
Season 2: 83-79; 3rd Place
After the last season’s second half surge fell short of landing the final wildcard spot, Padre fans were dealt another blow for this next season with the free agent departure of excellent all-around veteran catcher William Jennings. This offense all starts with speed merchant Alfredo Johnson. With 93 stolen bases on his way to scoring 139 runs, he is a tremendous table setter for this offense that plays small ball in pitcher friendly Petco Park. It will be interesting to see if slugging rookie rightfielder Willie Jose can succeed at Petco after tearing it up last season in AAA.
The starters are a very mediocre bunch that lags far behind the other staffs in this division and if it weren’t for Petco Park, we might see some of them with very high ERA’s. Probably the best starter of this bunch is current #5 man Otto Molitor, who is coming off of a 15-win season. The rest of this group would likely be in long relief or in AAA for any other team in the division.
Young closer Morris Houston looks like a solid long-term solution for earning the saves, while David Carroll will provide solid setup work.
Season 3 Forecast
The Padres will continue their southern slide and once again finish in third in the division, but this time much farther out in the wild card chase.
Season 3 Prediction: 79-83; 3rd Place

Season 1: 71-91; 4th Place
Season 2: 75-87; 4th Place
Last season, the Giants had one of the worst offenses in the league and this season it looks like there will be more of the same. The one bright spot for this team is that they are young and continuing to develop, but they just don’t have enough ML ready talent at the plate to put a lot of runs on the scoreboard. This team does possess one of the most talented hitters in the game, but it comes in the form of fragile, low durability, mediocre fielding catcher Jolbert Romero. Beyond that, the Giants have no standouts but should see solid contributions from rookie first baseman Casey O’Donnell and veteran leftfielder Jorge Trevino.
The Giants have a very solid starting staff as their top 3 can compete very favorably against most any team in the league. #1 starter Wilton Stark is coming off an excellent season among the leaders in WHIP and ERA over 268 innings, but suffering from horrid run support on his way to a 13-14 record. #2 starter Paul Hujimoto did even better on his way to an 18 win seasons. The #3 spot is taken up by rookie of the year candidate George Bush who dominated AAA last season with an array of nasty pitches that he likes to call his “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” If the Giants could just score an average amount of runs, they’d be able to garner quite a few wins from this trio.
Season 3 Forecast
This young team just isn’t ready to compete with the big boys yet but should see a small improvement from last season.
Season 3 Prediction: 78-84; 4th Place

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