2010 Divisional Previews and Predictions: NL West

Finally after finishing the American League predictions, I move onto the National League. The NL west should be a very competitive race and it is probably the best division in the National League. With four out of the five teams that could end up being contenders this year, this years race might come down to little things like which team plays the best defense, which team has the best bullpen, or possibly even which team can stay the healthiest.

1. Colorado Rockies

Key Departures: Jason Marquis

Key Arrivals: None.

I guess you could say that Jeff Francis is a key arrival since he missed all of last season. His return to the Rockies rotation makes it a lot better because it avoids them having to worry about possible spot starting or starting someone who does not have a lot of major league experience. I like the rotation of Jimenez, De La Rosa, Francis, Hammell (who I think will improve a good bit from last year), and Aaron Cook. The Rockies do not have any question marks in their rotation or bullpen and their bullpen is extremely underrated and it is comparable with the Dodgers. The back end of their rotation basically puts the Rockies ahead of the Dodgers for me. Having a strong rotation 1-5 is very important because it gives your team a chance to win every game. Both offenses are really, really good as well. The Rockies are obviously helped by Coors Field but their offense is still very well-rounded and has a possible breakout candidate in Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies defense is nothing special but it has a chance to improve on a UZR of -14 last season. The Rockies have the potential to be a scary team this year.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Key Departures: Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf

Key Arrivals: None.

The Dodgers did not improve themselves any this off-season and it will end up costing them the divison. They lost key pieces in Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf. That could add up to approximately 5-6 wins, or possibly even a little more. Instead, they replace Hudson with Belliard and Wolf with Vincente Padilla. Both of those guys are a little bit of a downgrade. The biggest question for the Dodgers is who is going to step up and take the 5th starters role. This is a gaping hole that the Dodgers have. It will either be Eric Stults or James McDonald. Also, will they get the Chad Billingsley of 2007 and 2008? Or the Chad Billingsley of 2009? There are too many question marks in the Dodgers rotation for me to put them in first. They have one of the best bullpens in the league and an offense that is just as good as the Rockies, but their rotation is what is going to cost them in the end. Look for the Dodgers to make a trade for a pitcher at the deadline of they are still in contention, which I expect them to be. That could help their chances, but I can’t rely on a mid-season trade happening to put them over the top.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Key Departures: Max Scherzer and Doug Davis

Key Arrivals: Edwin Jackson, Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Kennedy

The Giants have question marks in their lineup, the Diamondbacks have question marks in their rotation. I will take the team with the higher upside here and pick the Diamonbacks to finish in third place. Webb possibly starting the season on the DL hurts them significantly. I still expect them to get solid production out of Jackson and Haren. Their issue is the bottom half of their rotation. Can Ian Kennedy and Billy Bucker really be relied on to carry the load in the 4th and 5th starters roles? The Diamondbacks have a solid defense to help them out. They posted a team UZR of 21.6 last season. I absolutely love the upside on the other side of the plate for the Diamondbacks. I expect a bounce back season out of Kelly Johnson and Connor Jackson. Miguel Montero is a very, very good hitter for a catcher and Adam LaRoche could have a really good year in the desert, and we all know what Justin Upton is capable of. The Diamondbacks posted a triple slash (avg, obp, slug%) of .253/.324/.418 as well as a wOBA of .324 and with two nice additions on offense, and emerging young talent, they will surely improve on those numbers.

4. San Francisco Giants

Key Departures: Randy Winn, Randy Johnson, and Brad Penny

Key Arrivals: Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff

The Giants did make a couple of moves to help their putrid offense. They had a league worst .305 wOBA and their batters only accounted for 13.9 wins above replacement. I really don’t think their offense will improve much this year. Aubrey Huff shows that he is not a consistent player with his BABIP constantly fluctuating. You never know what kind of year you are going to get from him. Based on his new home park, can you guess which Aubrey Huff I think we are going to see this year? An aging Mark DeRosa will help to an extent, but you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank at age 34. Their rotation looks promising, however. Lincecum, is, well, Lincecum. Matt Cain is a great #2 and Barry Zito seems like he is still capable of holding it together. Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez are promising young starters at the back end and the Giants probably have the best #4 and #5 starters in the division. Their inability to get on base will kill them in the end. With an NL West that will surely be better than last year as a whole, the Giants probably won’t win 88 games.

5. San Diego Padres

Key Departures: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Key Arrivals: Jon Garland and Yorvit Torrealba

Notice what the trend has been among the last place teams in just about every division that I have covered thus far? Well, they are all in the midst of the rebuilding process. The Padres have managed to bring in Jon Garland who is a solid veteran as well as Vorvit Torrealba. Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos will be the interesting players to watch if you are a Padres fan, or if you have them on your fantasy team. The event that Padres fans are most curious about is what will be done with Adrian Gonzalez this season. The Padres could be seeing themselves back up at the top of the NL West in a couple of years if they keep on raking in the prospects. As for now, the Padres are not going anywhere but staying in the cellar.

Disco’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Diamondbacks
4.Giants
5.Padres

JeffMac’s NL West Predictions:
1.Dodgers
2.Giants
3.Diamondbacks
4.Rockies
5.Padres

YC’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Diamondbacks
4.Giants
5.Padres

ES42’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Giants
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

KG3’s NL West Predictions:
1.Dodgers
2.Rockies
3.Giants
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

Dougbies NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Giants
3.Dodgers
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

Owners NL West Predictions:
1.Giants
2.Dodgers
3.Rockies
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

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3 Comments on “2010 Divisional Previews and Predictions: NL West”

  1. Disco Says:

    So far this division has had the most variance when it comes to our predictions.

  2. KILLADELFIA Says:

    In my opinion, the Rockies are the class of this division. I love their balance throughout their club.

  3. Owner Says:

    At least we’ve all got the Padres in last. My homerism really gets in the way in this one.


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