Thursday, September 19, 2013

NL West

The west was won by a mysterious drifter that left as fast as he came. Can the Padres come back? Did everyone finally get enough to catch up?

Arizona Diamondbacks (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This team is much more dangerous than they appear, and owner fiioe believes that the snakes can contend this year in the desert. 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.

OUT: Shelby Newhouser, Tony Sasaki, Kid Peters, Austin Lane, Sergei Kramer
IN: Aaron Hernandez, Albert Castillo

PREVIEW: After blasting my predictions out of the water, and building a solid team in Arizona…fiioe disappeared. He left as mysteriously as he came, and the world is better for it.
New Owner Beanpole brings very little HBD experience, but has been successful already. He’s inherited a good situation, with the exception of the Ozzie Jordan situation (elbows blowing out everywhere!). Les Walker is aging and will be less effective than he was last year (4.84 fip/1.35 whip/5.5 ip per game). The loss of Shelby Newhouser will sting, and the understandable optioning of Tony Sasaki will hurt short term, but probably help in the long term.
The first really big question mark is the release of Kid Peters. Obviously it was for financial reasons. But Peters was a huge part of the Diamondbacks offense (that was above average for an nl team), and while Lane and Kramer had issues, they were not poor players (a combined 3.8 war isn’t always easy to replace).
I think the one year anomaly of the Padres being knocked out of the top spot was a one year proposition. The Diamondbacks have fallen back to mediocre. They are still good, just not good enough.



LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Prolific owner, sermonauthor, has his team gearing up for their 7th consecutive division title out West. 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.

OUT: Yamid Quixote, Jesus Cerda, Ernest Meacham
IN: Brent Simpson, Cookie WOO!, Mitchell Keller, Carl Wood, Miguel Colome

PREVIEW: Something went horribly wrong in San Diego. Wish it were a one-time thing, but it looks like every year someone is going to step up and punch them in the nose every year from here on out.
The pitching staff isn’t getting any younger. And it looks like they have gone to a six man rotation (and that is a GREAT six). The bullpen is good (but not as great). The loss of Yamid Quixote and Ahmed Duncan  didn’t hurt (only 48 innings total).
The offense will deal with the loss of Jesus Cerda (2.2 War, 82 runs). Damian Brantley got old all of a sudden, and his 5.7 war will drop (107 rc, could go down to 80…that’s 3 wins). Furio Becker isn’t doing the defense or pitching any favors with his 20 negative plays (he’s a DH, why isn’t he in the AL?). You can put Hick Weston right there with him. He was only worth 0.9 war, and 66 rc so he actually HURT the team more than helped. Melvin Douglas could be a bright spot, if he can make contact once in awhile.
One burning question is…why is Tony Kingston, the worse offensive player, getting 603 pa??? Shouldn’t he be batting 8th? The offense and defense for this team is jumbled and pitching won’t save it. You heard it here first…the Padres fall this year and fail to make the playoffs for the first time since season 15.


Los Angeles
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
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LAST YEARS 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. 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 berth.

OUT: Alex Nolan, Marc Buhner, Josias Mercedes, Raul Barrios, Ivan Gomez, Bill Fleming, Edgar Sosa
IN: Carlos Gomez, Luis Rodriguez, Trevor Lewis, Harry Gross, Sam Russ

PREVIEW: The Dodgers had a season to forget. The stadium looks awfully empty when no one shows up. This city only supports winners.
The first good move is letting Alex Nolan go. He wasn’t much of a starter, and although he had a 1.20 whip, his FIP was 5.02 (who gives up 34 homers in a pitchers stadium???). Sometimes things don’t work. You move on. Oswaldo Estrada, and Ivan Seneca provide a great 1-2 punch at the head of the rotation. Gustavo “fring” Ciriaco is a terrific closer (if you don’t mind him only pitching a few times a week). The people let go were the right people, and I’m impressed those decisions were made.
The offense was HORRID last year. They only scored 585…second worst only to the rival Giants. Trevor Condroy wasn’t bad (2.5 war/74 runs), Kaz Yoshii was decent at 1.7 war/72 rc, and Arthur Loney (although not meant for 2b) tore the cover off the ball with a 5.8 War, the fun stopped there. Even Ivan Gomez had a horrible replacement level season.
Finally, a Dodger teams that seems to be constructed properly. Good defense, fast enough on the basepaths, and good enough pitching. The only thing missing is depth off the bench which you need in the NL.

San Francisco
San Francisco Giants (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Under first year owner tmantom, the Giants had their worst season in 11 years. he team that was a favorite to go deep into the playoffs every year, only managed to win 73 games. The Giants only managed to score 551 runs. It wasn’t just bad…it was HISTORICALLY bad. 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?

OUT: Manuel Johnson , Jared Milton, Lyle Backe, Kelvim Ramsey, Philip Coppolecci
IN: Omar Bonilla, Gio Tejada, David Newson, Ryuu Choi, Wilfredo Barrios

PREVIEW: This pitching staff is not nearly as bad as they look at first glance. First off, they strike a lot of people out. Redding, Wigginton, Tabaka, and Santana can hold their own. However, despite the K’s a lot is put on the defense which hasn’t been so good (2nd worst in Kinsella).
Several players join the Giants to make them less of a joke. Bonilla and Newson FINALLY give them players that will get more than 5 War and 100 rc. Pitching got better with Choi as the new Ace. Now that’s five good pitchers.
To add up…compared to last season the offense, and fielding HAVE to be improved. So are they truly improved after all the changes? With a player like Alex Gabriel (zero range, 22 glove, almost no arm) playing in rightfield I just can’t take the Giants seriously.
PREDICTIONs: with the right players in the right places 85-77
Continuing to play people out of position or misusing players: 68-94

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