NL West Predictions

February 20, 2008 at 12:34 pm 19 comments

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The National League West is possibly the most competitive division in all of baseball with 4 teams that will be in contention to the end. Here are my NL West predicitons:

[TABLE=51]

Strengths
1) Pitching rotation – The rotation is deep with the newly acquired Dan Haren and if Randy Johnson can pitch for just half a season they will be in fine order.
2) Defense – The outfield defense is top notch. They have two guys with great range and great arms and they have Eric Byrnes who is slightly above average. Orlando Hudson is a Gold Glover at 2B and Stephen Drew is above average at short.

Weaknesses:
1) Bullpen – The bullpen is pretty deep but it lacks that “knock-out” guy. It has the potential to be very good but the downside to be below average.
2) Bargaining Chips – All the top level minor league talent was traded to get Dan Haren. If the D-Backs need to acquire someone they will have to deal Chad Tracy and I’m not sure he will bring a ton in return and that will weaken the bench tremendously.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Conor Jackson is the reason they let Tony Clark walk. They think he can be the everyday 1B and that he will finally show 20+ homer power. I believe he will. I think this is the year Conor Jackson puts up stellar numbers and puts the critics to rest.

[TABLE=54]

Strengths
1) Pitching – The Dodgers have a glut of pitching from top to bottom. They have a rotation that is 6 deep and a bullpen that could be one of the best in the entire majors.
2) Depth – The Dodgers have the chance to make Juan Pierre a 4th OFer. They have Nomar Garciaparra to play a utility role, and they have young depth in SS Chin-Lung Hu, and outfielder Delwyn Young. They have enough talent to help in case of injury or slump or even to trade for help elsewhere.

Weaknesses:
1) Defense – Pierre and Andruw Jones are both fading and Pierre is already below average. The infield is slow at third and second and Rafael Furcal needs to be healthy to be above average at short.
2) Power – Only one player is projected to hit over 30 homers and it’s Andruw Jones. The Dodgers need to pray they can get more playing time for Matt Kemp and pray that Laroche hits 20-25 at third.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Chad Billingsley posted a 3.12 ERA after the break in 2007, flashing that ace potential that has been in him all along. He has the chance to win 15+ games with an ERA in the mid-3s this year while striking out a good amount of hitters.

[TABLE=55]

Strengths
1) Pitching – Possibly the best pitching staff in baseball. They have the best right hander in the game in Jake Peavey. The have the chance to win a ton of games and the division if they can get about 50 starts between Wolf and Prior. The bullpen is deep and PETCO is very generous to these pitchers.
2) Home Field – The best pitcher’s park in the game and they play 81 games a year in it.

Weaknesses:
1) Defense – Other than Greene and Gonzalez the defense is average to below average everywhere else.
2) Offense – The main thing that is keeping this team from first place is the offense. They are relying on Jim Edmonds and Brian Giles to play big roles in helping this offense and I think that is asking for disaster.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Kevin Kouzmanoff has always hit and he will continue to hit. Take away his dismal April (8-71) and he hit .303 on the season, including .317 with 11 homers after the break. He has the right handed stick that will allow for Adrian Gonzalez to develop even more.

[TABLE=56]

Strengths
1) Offense – They sport one of the better offenses in the game and they play in a hitter’s park. ‘Nough said.
2) Defense – The best defense of 2007 returns with 7 of its 8 starters and anchored by the guy who was the best defender at any position last year in Troy Tulowitzki.

Weaknesses:
1) Secondbase – Marcus Giles is going to try and get his career back on track and what better place than Coors field to do so. Not so fast. The guy has to earn his spot over Jayson Nix (who has never played in a major league game) and we don’t know if either guy will perform this year.
2) Pitching inexperience – Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, and Manny Corpas all look like bonafide major leaguers. They are all inexperienced and the only one I think that will be fine this season is Corpas. Jimenez walked 100 hitters last year and Morales has command issues of his own and will start in the bullpen. The Rox are relying on these guys for too much this season.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Brad Hawpe should take a leap this year. He should be a near lock for a 30+ homers and .300/.400/.550 season, give or take. It’s not a huge leap from last season but he has the potential for even more if he can figure out lefties.

[TABLE=57]

Strengths
1) Rotation – I feel bad for this rotation. We could see 4 guys post ERAs under 4 and still finish with losing records. This rotation is potentially 6 deep but they won’t get any run support.
2) Can’t find another strength.

Weaknesses:
1) Offense – This could be the worst offense in the hitter era. This offense is going to bring down a great rotation and cause a lot of frustration.
2) Brian Sabean – One bad signing after another and the guy still has a job. I don’t get it. He gives deals out like his team is a contender. He has almost $200M invested in Zito and Rowand alone. Both guys will be in the downslope of thier careers when this team is contending again thanks to Sabean.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Fred Lewis can get on base, steal, and hit. He would probably provide 30 doubles, 10 triples, 10 homers,a nd 30 steals if given a full-time job. Sabean shuold trade Dave Roberts and see what he has in Fred Lewis.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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My Pedro Martinez Man Crush Continues NL Central Predictions

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Denver Browns Baseball  |  February 20, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Look I know it took a miracle for the Rockies to do what they did last season but the bottom line is they now have the experience and believe that they area contender. The Rox have a strong core of young players who know how to get it done. I think the pitching will do the job but there will be some hard times. Hopefully Tulo will stay to form and improve his numbers and earn that new contract. I am excited about the Rox and can’t wait to see if magic is once again in the Colorado summer…DO WORK

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 20, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I think Tulo will have a tremendous season. I think the Rox will contend all year but won’t catch fire against teams that don’t care at the end of the season. They end the season with 15 of their last 18 games against LAD, ATL, ARI, and SD, all contenders.

    Reply
  • 3. Aaron Boynton  |  February 20, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I think the Rockies getting to the World Series last year was a semi-fluke because their pitching really wasn’t that great. I see them taking a step back this year due to the loss of Suzuki and addition of Luis Vizcaino. I see it as: Arizona, San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado, San Francisco

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Do you mean Matsui? I think he isn’t worth the deal he got but I do think they will miss him in the field. I don’t see Holliday duplicating his numbers and I don’t see Helton improving his at all. The pitching staff overachieved and they ran into some easy teams down the stretch.

    Reply
  • 5. ian  |  February 20, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    i dont think the dogders will do that great. Besides adding Andruw Jones and Torre whats different? Annd also the pitching isnt that strong. If Schimdt can stay heathy i think he will be mediocre. And Loaiza can never stay heathly and when he is he isnt that effective. And didnt Marcus Giles sign a minor league contract?

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 20, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Giles did sign a minor league deal but I think the Rox will go with him due to his glove and his experience. I also think Billingsley pitching a full season in the rotation will help and the emergence of Broxton and newcomer Jonathan Meloan will solidify a good bullpen. Plus, Kemp will get more at-bats and if Torre does the right thing and benches Pierre for Ethier then the offense will thank him.

    Reply
  • 7. Aaron Boynton  |  February 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Heh..yes, Kaz Matsui. Old man moment of the day.

    Reply
  • 8. Baseball » NL West Predictions  |  February 20, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    […] 3 Guys and A Sports Page wrote an interesting post today on NL West PredictionsHere’s a quick excerptThe National League West is possibly the most competitive division in all of baseball with 4 teams that will be in contention to the end. Here are my NL West predicitons:… […]

    Reply
  • 9. Erik  |  February 20, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Personally, I think the only team in the west with no shot is the Giants. The Diamondbacks took 1 step forward wih the acquisition of Haren… Took 1 step back with the loss of Valverde and having to rely on B. Lyon or T. Pena as their closers. They were lucky with their output and Melvin is one of the worst managers in the game. The Diamondbacks have plenty of question marks, their Line up had plenty of timely hits and there is no way they can repeat that feat. You just can’t have several guys hit in the .230’s and expect to win. Chad Tracy is the starting 3b Mark Reynolds will be the back up.
    San Diego is my personal pick to win the division. They improved with Iguchi and are taking a chance with Prior but it is low risk high reward. I like their starting 3 with Peavy, Young and Maddux. Gonzalez is a legit hitter.
    Colorado played well and they have a good group of guys they could challenge but their question will always be how Coors Field plays. Dodgers have some pitching and the aquisition of Andruw Jones is key… because outside of him and an aging Jeff Kent they don’t really have a power supply.

    The Giants.. Well Lincecum is nice! They will have a horrible offense and well it is time for Sabean to retire.

    Reply
  • 10. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 20, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Reynolds is going to start at 3B and Tracy is going to get about 400 at-bats by splitting time at 3B/1B/LF/RF and playing in the AL interleague games.

    I would say the Padres took a step back with Edmonds and losing Cameron but took one forward with Randy Wolf/Mark Prior.

    The poor Giants pitchers. I hope it doesn’t get to the young guys (Lincecum and Cain) when they pitch well enough to win but lose 2-1, 3-2.

    Reply
  • 11. MikeMcGinnis  |  February 21, 2008 at 10:10 am

    interestng look at it as always jonathan. personally i think people are selling the rockies short and i am not really in love with the padres.

    how in the world can you screw up a lineup so bad that benji molina is your cleanup hitter. seaben should have be gone after the whole liriano/nathan/bosner for pierzyinski debacle. not to to mention the hillenbrand for accardo deal…..should i go on???

    Reply
  • 12. MikeMcGinnis  |  February 21, 2008 at 10:14 am

    when are the rockies bringing up ian stewart??? i thought they were going to give him a shot at 2B

    Reply
  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 21, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Stewart is most likely going to make the team as a backup. Scouts are saying there is no possible way Stewart can handle 2nd base. I’ll look for the Rox to dangle Atkins in trade so Stewart can play 3B. All the talk of him playing 2B is a little ridiculous. He is a CIF.COF guy, no way he can handle a middle infield position.

    Reply
  • 14. Charlie Nehl  |  February 21, 2008 at 11:45 am

    It doubtful that Chad Tracy is going to be ready by opening day anyway from his surgery this past season. He also was having blodclot issues that could potentionally set him back a little bit further.

    Brandon Lyon was officially named the closer for the DBacks this season. IIRC, Lyon started the 2005 season as closer and was dominating, but then got hurt, and came back not the same. They took a step back sending off Valvarde, but I think between Pena and Lyon, they’ll do a adaquete (not dominating) job.

    The only change I would do would be to flip the Rox and the Padres. I think their offense took a huge step back, and won’t score enough runs to help out their great piching staff. Not near as bad as say the Giants, but unlike the Giants, they have hardly ANY speed. Maybe with a year under his belt, Kouzmanoff will actually play like he can, but I’m not sure he’s quite up to stats that you think just yet. Maybe next year. Who knows. That’s what makes baseball so good!

    Reply
  • 15. Erik  |  February 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Ian Stewart is well behind that kid Nix for the starting secondbase job in Colorado although he will be given an opportunity… don’t be fooled in thinking Giles will win it. I think Nix will win the job. His defensive skills alone are far better than that of Giles and Stewart combined. Stewart will either be trade bait or stay in AAA. He spent time up with the big club last year but baring an injury they want him to play everyday. I think he can make an adjustment to a range position so I disagree with you there Jonathan but his best position is 3rd.

    Reply
  • 16. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    We will agree to disagree on Stewart’s range. I’m going to stay on the side of the scouts with that one. I hope Nix wins over Giles but I think the idea of the Rox is that they want an experienced guy to man 2nd.

    Reply
  • 17. James D Ardis  |  February 23, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    The Rockie’s last season was amazing but I just can see them repeating it. The NL is becoming too strong with the Mets, Phillies, Padres, Dodgers, Cubs etc. for teams that have a lot of holes in them to last long. I think the Padres will run away with this division with their outstanding rotation and solid hitting. Here’s how I think it’ll turn out:

    1. Padres
    2. Dodgers
    3. Diamondbacks
    4. Rockies
    5. Giants

    Reply
  • 18. Bobby D.  |  February 26, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    tony abreu, not wilton abreu for the dodgers bench. Thank you for actually giving the dodgers some respect, unlike 90 percent of the baseball community.

    Then i think you over-valued the dbacks young hitters. How do upton, drew, and young all go up more than 30 points in obp? And for upton and drew, how do they go up 50 points in batting average?

    Reply
  • 19. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  February 26, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    All three of those guys have minor league indicators of high OBP. Young is the main one. He averaged 81 walks over 162 minor league games and I think his average will go up. Drew is a fine hitter and I have a gut feeling on him. Upton didn’t have a big enough sample size to compare a full season prediction on so I asked a scout what he thought of his 2008 potential and I took his minor league numbers and projected from there. I think they will all do fine this season.

    Reply

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