Wednesday, March 27, 2013
BASEBALL IS BACK!!! National League West Preview
2012 Record: 64-98
is prime and is about to become the next superstar to hit in Coors Field. Between the two of them you can put scrubs in and it would still be a good lineup. Fortunately there are still other good players in the field. Michael Cuddyer was getting used to playing for a new team and it seemed to affect him more than he thought it would. Expect to see the twenty-four points he lost on his batting average to get back on in 2013. Dexter Fowler is equal parts decent power and decent speed. He is a good cog to have towards the top of your lineup. He gets on base for the big hitters in the lineup. Todd Helton is still productive even though he had his worst season in his illustrious sixteen year career. Expect a bounce back of epic proportions. He doesn't want it to end like it did last year.
is prime and is about to become the next superstar to hit in Coors Field. Between the two of them you can put scrubs in and it would still be a good lineup. Fortunately there are still other good players in the field. Michael
The rotation is a completely different story. The Opening Day's starter won a total of three games last year. Jhoulys Chacin is coming off a season in which he recorded three wins in the twelve starts during the year. Their number two is Jorge De La Rosa. He posted an ERA over nine after coming back from Tommy John surgery. His velocity is down and he doesn't look to be bouncing back any time soon. Jeff Francis is starting the home opener and he never had an ERA under four (5.58 last year) and he is now thirty-two years old. You can't teach old dogs new tricks, especially at Coors Field. Drew Pomeranz locked down the number five spot. His spring ERA is 5.50. He was said that he locked it down because he can find the strike zone. Isn't that his job as a pitcher? You mean a pitcher can make the majors when they can't find the quintessential part of their job? Imagine a doctor who was having trouble finding your heart. That is the Colorado Rockies pitching staff.
Projected Finish: 5th Place
Reason for Projection: The pitching is awful. It is terrible, in fact. Expect the offense to be torn apart. The only thing stopping a complete fire sale of this team is the fact that most of their stars are signed are for multiple more years. The one big name you may see go is Todd Helton. He has been with the Colorado franchise for his entire career and he has been through the ups and downs. He may get them some value on name alone and besides last year he was still a valuable commodity. Either way, unless some kind of miracle happens expect the Rockies to be in the basement of the division once again.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 Record: 86-76
The Dodgers are quickly becoming known as the big spenders on the block. When every team in the game, including the Yankees, are trying to save money and cut costs, the Dodgers are just outspending everyone for who they want. They took on most of the bad contracts that Boston gave the last couple years just to get Adrian Gonzalez. They traded for Hanley Ramirez in the middle of last season. They spent over sixty million dollars to bring Hyun-Jin Ryu over from Japan. Then they shelled out a whopping 147 million dollars to bring Greinke in to wear the Dodger blue. They will have a $233 million dollar payroll (if you include the 22 million dollar luxury tax). They spend more because of the astronomical amount they made of their TV deal. When you bring in 240 million dollars per year on a locked in twenty-five year deal you can spend a little more frivolously.
With the amount of money that they spent, you would expect them to have the best lineup in the game. Unfortunately it seems most of that money seems to be going into the log jam that is the rotation. When you're paying your number eight guy on the depth chart nearly twelve million dollars a year then you know where your money must be locked into. That does not mean that the Dodgers have a bad lineup. That isn't the case at all. Let's start with the ones we know will give you a good season. Adrian Gonzalez is good for a .300 average 20-30 home runs and over 100 RBI's every year. He had a down year in 2012, but every Red Sox player did. His 2011 was the stuff of magic as he was right there in the MVP race. Expect him to once again carry a lineup full of high profile guys. Matt Kemp missed over fifty games last year yet he still hit 23 home runs and had 69 RBI's. What that amounts to over a 162 game season is 35 home runs and 105 RBI's. If Kemp stays healthy then he is a perenial MVP candidate. Andre Ethier is a middle of the lineup guy who is on the cusp of one of the really good players in baseball. He did have a stinker of a season in 2011, but he bounced back in a big way in 2012. Expect him to have another great season in 2013 with so much protection in the lineup. Now on to the players who aren't going to be a lock. Hanley Ramirez used to be a player who would scare the hell out of you when he was coming up. He still has that kind of potential, but he needs to figure out what happened to his average the past two years. Maybe it had to do with being a part of a Marlins lineup that had him being pitched around. Carl Crawford needed to get away from Boston. It just seemed like he never wanted to go there in the first place. He is in a better place and is not going to be the guy with the big contract anymore. Expect to see a better Crawford in 2013. AJ Ellis was a nice surprise at catcher for them last year. He had a blazing fast start, but eventually came back to Earth. It seems that he is on pace for the same as he has been raking it in spring training and looks to be on the verge of having another hot start. Like I said to start, there are some questions going into the season with this lineup. They aren't the best, but they are pretty darn good.
s you have a former ace in Josh Beckett. He has had a few bad seasons, but expect him to bounce back. He is only 32-years-old. It was uplifting to see his ERA drop over two runs since his trade to the Dodgers. In four of his last six starts he only allowed one run. If Beckett can go back to his World Series winning days then this team can be unstoppable. They have a choice for the fifth spot with Chad
Projected Finish: 1st Place
Reason for Projection: This team has eight quality starting pitchers. When your fifth starter battle is between pitchers who have been first and second starters then you are in pretty good shape. Their offense can be very good if everything works out. The biggest concern is the health of Matt Kemp. There is no doubt that a healthy Kemp could have led to a much better season. Seeing that this team was only two games out of a playoff spot and that his WAR was 7.8 in 2011 and 2.3 in 2012 one could argue that he was the main reason they missed out. LA is looking to have their own cross town World Series. That is the expectation here. The division should just be a stepping stone.
San Diego Padres
2012 Record: 76-86
The overall look of the Padres 2012 season may look like a total disappointment, but it wasn't. It may have started off as bad as it could, they started the season 34-53, but after the All Star break they won nine more games than they lost. It is progress, and that is all you can ask for with this team. The end of 2012 will make fans in San Diego more excited for 2013. They have a player for every role. It sounds mundane, but it is something you don't see on every team. They have a few power hitters, some that hit for average and some that have the speed. When looking at their roster there aren't many players that stand out, but they can be better than people give them credit for. Don't expect anything crazy, but this team will be better than expected.
They have an interesting lineup projected to start the season. They have a bunch of guys who bring a lot of energy to this team that can help will them to wins. They have power limited to a few players, but those guys can really bash the ball. Chase Headley has by far the best season of his career. Surprisingly, amid so much trade speculation the Padres signed Headley to a one year extension. Unfortunately, it may be the writing on the wall saying he will probably wear a different uniform this season. Carlos Quentin can be a great commodity. His first season in San Diego was riddled with injuries. Even though he missed about half the season he still hit sixteen home runs. If he can stay healthy he can bring power to a lineup that can use it as it was 27th in home runs in 2012. Cameron Maybin has the speed to leg out balls, but he is clearly being held back by Petco Park. Either way, no matter what happens the unfortunate truth is San Diego is a cold hearted place to play. If you play well they try to get the highest value for you. So if your rooting for a guy to play in San Diego for a long time, hope he sucks for a couple years to start.
San Francisco Giants