Friday, March 09, 2007

NL West

Final standings:
D-Backs -
Dodgers 1 GB
Padres 3 GB
Giants 4 GB
Rockies 10 GB

Potential Playoff teams
D-Backs
Dodgers

Arizona D-Backs: These guys did the most damage in the off season. Bringing back Johnson from the evil empire, signing a .500 pitcher in Doug Davis away from the Brewers has made this pitching staff solid. With the emergence of Enrique Gonzalez, assuming he takes the 5th spot, should bowed well for the Diamondbacks. Offensively, they are strong, watch out for Stephen Drew, Chris Young and Carlos Quentin. At first base they have Conor Jackson, in 140 games last year he batted .291 with 15 4-baggers and 79 RBI’s, he could be the glue of this offense. The Bullpen is the only current true weakness next to Melvin. Back in Seattle, Melvin inherited a good M’s team, but did not deal well with tough times; he could turn it around this year.

LA Dodgers: The addition of Schmidt could be impressive. This is an organization that comes into every year with high hopes and doesn’t meet this expectation. They are coming off a playoff appearance, and perhaps the Dodgers can make that next round. On paper, they could have the best starting 5 in the NL West maybe even the entire NL, so placing them second seems questionable right now but I am taking a risk. Offensively in the infield the Dodgers look solid with Furcal, Kent and an improving Betemit. Players to watch this year are the RF’er Ethier coming off an impressive rookie outing, and the starting pitcher Billingsley. I am high on Billingsley, perhaps too high but once his command settles down, watch out, this kid has CY Young written all over him.

SD Padres: Sure, they added Maddux, but is that what this team needs? The nice thing about Maddux, this takes some “ace” pressure off of Peavy. Peavy has risen to the challenge; however, last season was his career worst to date. Maddux is aging and is not his younger, control freak self. The pen of the Padres, I think, is their strongest quality. Offensively, not much has changed. Players to watch are Greene at SS and Hensley, their young starting pitcher.

SF Giants: They lost Schmidt and this will be felt throughout this organization, but they did add Zito. I am not sure how Zito’s transition to the other side of the bay will be. I think he will be glad to leave the A’s and join the offensively Bonds driven team of the Giants. I don’t see too much youth in the team that takes the field everyday. I am sure this will change. The player to watch this year is Tim Linececum, he is a young starting pitcher for the Giants. If he makes in the rotation, this could bowed well. He will start in AAA.

Colorado Rockies: What to say about the Rockies. Nothing from hot stove really stands out and grabs my attention. They had a small PR fire in the hot stove season about Helton leaving, but those rumors never were true. They did do a fairly good job of taking Astros: Taveras in center and Buchholz on the mound. Players to watch…no idea. SLC does receive Rockie coverage, so I may amend this prediction.

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