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UCB Project: NL West Predictions

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 8:21 PM
Filed Under: United Cardinal Bloggers
Today we finish up our look around the divisions by tackling the NL West.  Cardinal fans probably know less about the West than other divisions simply because their games start so late at night for us.  Still, there's some awfully good baseball out that way.

1) San Francisco Giants--I don't think you can pick against them, being that they are the World Champs and they have not done anything to damage the team coming back.  When you have the best rotation this side of Philadelphia with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, you are going to be in a lot of ball games.  The offense is still no great shakes, but a full year of Buster Posey and the pending arrival of Brandon Belt could fix a lot of those problems, especially if Pablo Sandoval's weight loss means that his offensive production increases.  Even with Brian Wilson having some health issues, this is the team to beat.

2) Colorado Rockies--There's not a lot of talk about the Coors Field effect anymore, but that should help the Rockies somewhat.  No matter where they play, though, players like Troy Tulowitski will hit.  Carlos Gonzalez had some pretty extreme home/road splits last year, so if he closes those up to the good, that's just a bonus for the team.  Put that offense together with a pitching staff fronted by Ubaldo Jimenez and you've got a wild-card contender at worst.  If the Giants falter at all, the Rockies likely will be there to pounce.

3) San Diego Padres--The gap between second and third could be a big one in this division.  Sure, the Padres were the feel good story of 2010 and, for Mike's sake, I hope they can build on last year.  The fact is, though, they slipped in the second half and then traded off Adrian Gonzalez in the offseason.  It'll be interesting to see if Cameron Maybin can get his career finally on track in that big ballpark or if Mat Latos can continue to develop into the ace that he looked like last year.  If not, there might not be many leads for Heath Bell to save.

4) Los Angeles Dodgers--The divorce still hangs over the franchise and it puts a lot of things in limbo.  This team should have the horses to stay on the fringes of the race, what with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and James Loney in the lineup.  The pitching staff has its hits (Clayton Kershaw) and its question marks (Chad Billingsley), but playing in a pitcher's park helps them out a bit.  Will the '09 Jonathan Broxton or the '10 version show up?  That could be the difference between them passing the Padres or staying behind them.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks--There's still a lot of work to do out in the desert.  The team hopes that Justin Upton can shake off whatever affected him last year and get back on the superstar train.  They traded off Mark Reynolds, so you know if nothing else strikeouts for the hitters will go down in 2011.  After an offseason of trade talk, does a strong start get Stephen Drew shipped out of town?  Is the team ace really Ian Kennedy, and can he prove that over the course of a season?  Lots of questions, but it might be interesting to see the answers.

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

Cain is struggling with his health. I'm not a big believer in Sanchez. Not signing Uribe and replacing him with Tejada was a huge mistake that will cost them. The Rockies win the division. The Padres take second, then the Giants, then the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks bring up the rear.

Thought everyone should see this coverage of how historically bad Garcia's outing was yesterday:

Good thing it's only March

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