Once upon a time the NL West had four teams that could compete year in and year out. Unfortunately, times do change. The West is now ruled by San Diego and sermonauthor. The Padres run one of the tightest organizations in Kinsella, and the others are still trying to play catchup.
Arizona will be giving it their best effort, the Dodgers are still a few years away, and the Giants are sitting in the basement.
The predicted standings for this season are:
San Diego Padres 101-61 (Division Champ)
Arizona Diamondbacks 82-80
Los Angeles Dodgers 67-95
San Francisco Giants 63-99
Los Angeles Dodgers (wvwc_9092, 3rd year)
Last Year: 69-93
Runs Scored/Allowed: 697/757
Players Added: sp – Eugene McMillon (tex), rp – Ismael Montero (sf), if – Trevor Condrey (independent league)
Players Lost: sp – Domingo Gonzales (fa), rp – Matt Wilkerson (fa)
Preview: A pitching staff has to be pretty awful to give up 757 runs in the NL West. The Dodgers pitching just couldn’t rise to the occasion. The offense scored more runs than anyone else out west, yet the club only won 69 games. One burning question that I had during last season is…why did Ivan Gomez only get 350 ab’s?
There is only one change on the offense and that is the loss of Brad Jackson. Age finally caught up to the old man. The pitching changes are basically a wash as a starter + reliever leave and are easily replaced.
Overall: I don’t have much faith that the Dodgers can compete unless Bill Fleming produces and Gomez gets the AB’s that he deserves. The pitching is god-awful, and mired by poor decisions. Giving a no-control pitcher like Edgar Diaz doesn’t give Dodger Nation hope for a playoff birth.
Arizona Diamondbacks (fiioe11, 2nd season)
Last Year: 70-92
Runs Scored/Allowed: 692/720
Players Added: rp – Chase Weber (Oak), sp – Ozzie Jordan (t-Mon), c – Austin Lane (STL), sp/rp – Cooper Osborne (aaa), sp – Erik Houston (NYM), of – Benji Castro (Por)
Players Lost: ss – Pablo Beltran (CWS), cf – Geraldo Hernandez (BOS), sp – Jair Villafuerte (tor), of – Phil Stargell (t-Mon), rp – Dan Kotchman (tb)
Preview: Looks can be deceiving. The Diamondbacks finished 22 games under .500. Yet, they only had a run differential of 28 runs (which should mean a difference of 3 games in the sabermetrics world). What happened??? This team is much more dangerous than they appear, and owner fiioe believes that the snakes can contend this year in the desert.
One curiosity in the off season was the unconditional release of pitcher Jair Villafuerte. While Jair was 6-13 in his 27 starts, he did sport a 3.73 FIP and 1.37 whip. Why would this quality of pitcher be released? Another buring question is why didn’t Santiago Amaro play more last year? (32 runs created in 285 ab, and no dl stint?).
Don’t underestimate defense. Gone are the two excellent gloves off the bench in Beltran and Hernandez.
Overall: As much as this team seems like a contender, some of their moves are questioned. They have made a tremendous amount of moves to get better, and last year should have had a much better win/loss record. Is it the managerial decisions? The coaches? They have something to prove to the critics.
San Francisco Giants (tmantom3285, 2nd year)
Last Year: 73-89
Runs Scored/Allowed: 551/665
Players Added: 2b – Rico Aquino (NYY), of – Alex Gabriel (NYM), sp – Renyel Pinero (ruleV, AZ), sp – Burke Millar (ruleV, Az), sp – Timo Tabaka (ruleV, Az)
Players Lost: ss – Dee Perry (Cubs)
Preview: Under first year owner tmantom, the Giants had their worst season in 11 years. The team that was a favorite to go deep into the playoffs every year, only managed to win 73 games. What changed? First and foremost the division is TOUGH. But, the Giants only managed to score 551 runs. It wasn’t just bad…it was HISTORICALLY bad. Is there a silver lining? The last team to demonstrate such futility was the season 17 Expos (Ssauve’s team only won 35 games that year). The Giants still won 73 games and with a little help at the plate might be able to turn this back around.
They did let one of their offensive weapons walk (Dee Perry), and dropped dead weight (James Randall). Rule V seems to be a boon for the Giants as they selected three (all pitchers, all from Az, all with potential).
Overall: Is this team capable of winning? One hundred losses does not seem out of the question with the current assembly of players, but could it be more? A reminder…if a team loses 112 games and transfers ANY of their player payroll to prospect that owner will be removed. The Giants have $87 budgeted and $56 spent. (Which means $15 will go to prospect in hopes of a big international). In an ironic twist, the Giants play their final 13 games on the road.
San Diego Padres (sermonauthor, 10th season)
Last Year: 96-66
Runs Scored/Allowed: 665/556
Players Added: sp - Allen Roosevelt (Cin), rp – Ahmed Duncan (bos), sp – Yamid Quixote (Fla)
Players Lost: rp – Sherry Pierre (fa), rp – Brent Simpson (fa), of – Danny Waters (Phi)
Preview: There are dynasties and then there are DYNATIES. The Padres had their worst season in quite a while…by only winning 96 games. Prolific owner, sermonauthor, has his team gearing up for their 7th consecutive division title out West.
Overall: Can San Diego return to the World Series? Can they win it? They will certainly be in the mix since no team will challenge them out west. If the offense can step in when the leaves drop, it could happen again.