Sunday, April 01, 2007

Part 6 of 8, NL West

1st Place – San Diego Padres
I don’t think very much of the Padre hitting, as the Brothers Giles are past their prime. They really have nobody in their lineup who scares you at all. However it is two other past their prime players who I think will have this team in first place. After a nice young group that make up their top 3 starters with Peavy, Young, and Hensley, there is nothing like having two guys with 563 career wins bringing up the back-end. The down-side to that of course is that those 563 wins comes with 85 years of age.

I don’t doubt for a second though that if Maddux and Wells are healthy they’ll pitch as many innings as any starters in the league. The Padres bullpen is very top heavy with Hoffman, Linebrink, and Meredith. That should be enough if Maddux and Wells stay healthy enough, as they won’t have to go to the weak part when they have leads.

2nd Place – San Francisco Giants
Wow, am I in a pickle here or what. I can’t root for Barry Bonds. But if I don’t I’m rooting against my bet with Sully that the Giants will win more games than the A’s. The only way I win the bet is if Barry Bonds stays healthy, as he is the Giants’ offense. What’s amazing though, is that there is so little power in from the California teams in this division, that if Bonds plays in 81 games this season, he may hit more home runs than any of his teammates, any Dodgers, and any Padres.

The other person I’m counting on is the other Barry. It is this Barry, Mr. Zito, that inspired me to make this bet (while drinking I should point out), in the first place. I have always thought that Zito would have a big first year with the Giants. If he won 16 games (as much as any NL pitcher won last year) with the A’s, how good should he be in the NL. He’s a better pitcher than Bronson Arroyo, and look how well Aroyo’s transition went.

I’m also counting on Matt Cain, as I’m not sure anything can help a back end of a rotation that still has Russ Ortiz.

3rd Place – Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s possible the Dodgers won’t have any player on their team hit 20 home runs. After all, the only player in their lineup who hit 20 last season was Nomar, and he hit exactly 20.

This team is going to need Jason Schmidt to stay healthy to have a chance. They’re not going to be hitting much, so it’s going to need to be Schmidt, Lowe, and Penny that lead the way for the Dodgers. Randy Wolf and Brett Tomko could cause lots of problems at the back-end of the rotation. The bullpen is fair, but I don’t trust Saito.

4th Place – Arizona Diamondbacks
I personally think both Stephen Drew and Chris Young will flop. That being said, I don’t the D-Backs have a chance. I know Drew made a great impression with his ML Debut last season, but he wasn’t that impressive for the PCL before that. Chris Young batted only .239 in 22 Cactus League games. That’s weak.

Speaking of weak, that’s a good way to describe the D-Backs pitching staff after Brandon Webb. Livan is currently their #2 while Randy Johnson battles a back injury, which is coincidental since I believe his half-brother currently holds the #2 spot on the Mets, while Pedro gets healthy. I would expect Randy Johnson to lower his ERA significantly being back in the NL, but without the Yankee offense behind him, don’t expect those 17-win seasons he was able to put up in NY (not that anybody puts up a 17-win season in the NL these days anyway). The D-Backs will need a big season out of Micah Owings if they are going to compete, and probably need more help from a strong AAA pitching staff as well.

Their closer had a 5.54 ERA last season and recently hurt himself with a car door. I think that’s all you really need to know about their bullpen.

5th Place – Colorado Rockies
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see Kaz Matsui’s first at bat of the season. We already know the rest of his at bats won’t be productive, but can he do it 4 years in a row?

Humidor or no Humidor, this team does not hit nearly enough for a team with Aaron Cook as the ace. Rodrigo Lopez lost 18 games last year, and he’s their #3. That means they think two of their starters are worse than a guy who went 9-18 with a 5.90 ERA, and the sad think is they’re probably right.

No comments: