The up and down world of the NL West never ceases to amaze. It's almost like Vegas...anything goes. San Diego has recently been the type of team that heavily invests in Int'l scouting, training, coaching, and medical. San Francisco likes to keep their budget under control, but focuses on development, scouting, training, and medical. Under new ownership, Arizona has increased salary and gone after free agents, rather than mining for prospects in the draft. And the Dodgers have dropped int'l scouting and is focusing on payroll, and college/hs scouting (but oddly only budget minimum in prospect budget?). With each unique approaches to the game, it's interesting to see who will come out on top in the coming years.
Key Players Returning: Yamil Ramirez (40-40 club and ROY) , Greg Rooney , Julian Bennett , Tony Kingston , Sherry Pierre, Ivan Megias, Walt Hernandez, Benny Guerrero, Polin Olivares, Paul Kim, Carl Wood
Key Players Leaving: Rick Petkovsek (TB), John Shigetoshi (TB), Alberto Tarasco (TB), Rick Hall (LAD), Carlos Redondo (KC), Morris Houston (cubs), Duke Duvall (TB), Miguel Maduro (was)
New Additions: Diego Wilfredo (TB), Greg Dougherty (TEX), Tony Vanguri (Was), Bret Simmons (POR), Damian Brantley (KC)
Prediction: Last year the Padres played to their strengths...pitching in a HUGE park. They only allowed 451 runs (that's 2.78 runs per game!!!!). And the scarey part...they just picked up one the best all time pitchers in the history of the league, Diego Wilfredo. It did come at a price, however. The offense will be a little less potent without Rick Petkovsek and John Shigetoshi. Catcher Damian Brantley should produce quite well and make up for the loss. Is it possible for a team to allow less than 400 runs in a season? We are about to find out.
RS/RA: 730-399 (sure, why not)
Key Players Returning: Dee Perry , Sid Shermann , Wayne Lorraine , Richard Purcell , Dallas Jackson , Stump Ogden , Denny Watson , Javy Johnson , Armando Chavez , Virgil Manning , Rodrigo Salinas
Key Players Leaving: Glen Stanley (mil), Sherman Coleman (TB), Stuart Wilson (BAL), Houston Webb (phi), Isaac Sinclair (bal)
New Additions: Vernon Casanova , Damaso Elcano , Edinson Ciriaco
Prediction: This team RUNS. They had 366 stolen bases last year, but not the best OBP. It kinda helps that almost every on base has potential to turn into a double or triple. The pitching staff is in excellent shape with a 1.29 WHIP as they only allowed 633 runs. The team is in very healthy shape. But they do play in the toughest division in the NL, and probably all of Kinsella.
Key Players Returning: Phil Stargell , Stone Buford , Harvey Adkinson , Danny Waters , Gil Gibson , Warren Hume , Julio Matos ,
Key Players Leaving: Harry Uribe (CIN), Wilt Benes (NYY), Luis Franco (mets), Cesar Trajano (cubs), Marc Buhner (cubs)
New Additions: Ozzie Jordan (PIT), Carl Bergman , Mark Nakano
Prediction: The hard luck D-Backs made their mark in the postseason, falling just short. Their offense is potent, and their pitching did just enough to get them there. The loss of Trajano could really hurt the D-Backs, now that they picked up Ozzie Jordan and Branch Vitiello (those three together would have been lethal) . But their bullpen should be able to keep them close enough to pull off some amazing comebacks.
Key Players Returning: Hiram Abbott , B.C. Vizquel , Joe Hoffman , Wiki Rincon , Al Perez , Felipe Espinosa , Domingo Gonzales
Key Players Leaving: Carlos Valentin (tex), Blaine Lowry (cubs), Alex Barrios (fa), Willie Waters (mets),
New Additions: Carlos Guzman , Reggie Johnson , Alfonso Lecuona , Rick Hall (SD), Bucky Becker (rule5-tex)
Prediction: The Dodgers cut several players and majorly upgraded their offense with Reggie Johnson(WOW!). Rick Hall will add some pop and increase the Dodgers overall WAR along with Johnson. This is a sneaker team...in any other division. The division foes are just too tough to say for sure. All we know is...it will come down to the last week of the season to see who plays in October.