Its the time of the year i love, spring training starts this week. MLB season is only about a month away. And because of this, it is time to start my Season Predictions. Starting With the National League West, i will break down a division each week, ending with the American League East. The National League West last year was surprisingly close, with the division being won in the final series between the Soon-to-be World Series Champion San Fransisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. The Arizona Diamondbacks finished in last place for the 2nd straight year, as they try to rebuild. The Los Angeles Dodgers came up short, filled with an under preforming roster and failing to reach expectations. And the Colorado Rockies went 1-9 in their final 10 games to fall out of Wild Card and Division contention.
Now here are my predictions for the NL West, starting with Last Place, working my way to the Winner of the Division:
Pros: The D'Backs have a very young lineup, with Stephen Drew and Justin Upton leading the way with the most experience, however that is not saying all that much. The D'Backs are very hungry to move up in the West, and who knows, maybe they can become the new Tampa Bay Rays, but not anytime soon.
Cons: Excluding Drew and Upton, they have no star power. Their Pitching Staff is lead by Joe Saunders (9-17 record, 4.47 ERA) and young prospect Dan Hudson (8-2, 2.45 ERA in 14 Starts).The D'Backs are not prepared for a divisional crown run. They need experience, more than anything, in all aspects.
Prediction: The D'backs will not be a factor in any race, except to play spoiler in September.
Record : 55-107
San Diego Padres:
Pros: This team shocked me last year as to how well they did. They have big bats in Ryan Ludwick and Orlando Hudson. Their Strength will rely on those two players having great years. Their biggest strength is that they have one of the top 5 closers in the MLB in Heath Bell, who went 47 for 50 in Save opportunities last season.
Cons: Their biggest loss this year was when they traded away their star player Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Soxs. Losing him take away a 30 + HR and 100 + RBI hitter, in a pitchers ballpark like PETCO park is. Besides Mat Latos, they have no solid proven pitchers.
Prediction: the Padres won't re-create their magical year from last year, and fall back to the back of the pack, not making any noise.
Pros: One of the most stacked lineups in the NL West, top to bottom. Good Mix of Youth and Veterans. Solid Pitching Staff, all 5 starters have potential to be all stars.
Cons: Bullpen. excluding Johnathon Broxton, no proven relievers, so getting to the closer will be interesting. Health and living up to hype will also be a factor. Also, rookie head coach in Don Mattingly, should prove to be an interesting year.
Prediction: The Dodgers will hang around, but fall out of contention in the end.
Pros: Best shortstop in the game Troy Tulowitzki. One of the best Pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez. and not to mention Coors Field is a solid hitters ballpark, and they have the lineup for it.
Cons: Health. Tulo missed a lot of time last year, and it hurt their lineup. Also, they need someone to step up into their #2 starting spot, as besides Ubaldo, they have no pitching.
Prediction: The Rockies won't be able to contend with the Giants, but will be in the Running for Wild Card throughout the year, but end up missing the playoffs in the end.
San Fransisco Giants:
Pros: Defending Champions, Solid Pitching Staff, Solid Lineup. Nothing more to be said except their armed for another title run
Cons: While they are loaded, injuries can always play a part. Tim Lincecum was very hittable last year, and they need him to be back to his old ways.
Prediction: My Prediction....Pain (Thank you for the few that got the Rocky III reference) The Giants are poised to make a run in the playoffs, and easily lock up the Division.
There is the NL West for ya. In my eyes. Next week is the AL West. I can't wait for Opening Day!
Stay Phat (yeah, Phat, got a problem with that? too bad) BUHstudio.