Today I’ll give my explanations for the National League West. Here’s the way I think the division will finish.
Colorado Rockies 94 – 68
Arizona Diamondbacks 90 – 72
San Fransisco Giants 89 – 73
Los Angeles Dodgers 86 – 76
San Diego Padres 69 – 93
Colorado Rockies – (DANGEROUS) Player to watch – Jeff Francis
If the Rockies would have had 2 more weeks last year, I think they would have overtaken the Dodgers. After firing Clint Hurdle in May, they played unbelievable baseball for Jim Tracy. The starting pitching is young and talented. Houston Street had a great season. Troy Tulowitzski, Todd Helton and Clint Barmes were solid contributors offensively. This team lost Jason Marquis to the Nationals, but get back a top tier starter in Jeff Francis. Dexter Fowler should continue to develop and the Rockies will be the team to beat in the NL West.
Arizona Diamondbacks – (TALENTED) Player to watch – Brandon Webb
The D-backs season was over last year before it ever got started. Former Cy Young Award Winner Brandon Webb left his Opening Day start with arm trouble, and was lost for the season. Now healthy again, Webb looks to get back to being dominant. With Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson at the top of the rotation, the D-Backs look like they will be able to pitch. Justin Upton had a breakout season in 2009. Conner Jackson should be healthy again. The D-Backs are talented enough to compete in the NL West.
San Fransisco Giants – (ARMED) – Player to watch – Madison Baumgardner
It’s tough not to pick the Giants to win the NL West. Tim Lincecum could be the best pitcher in the NL. Matt Cain helps for a formidable 1-2 punch. Bengie Molina surprisingly returns to catch. Aubrey Huff and Mark Derosa were added to last years offensive sensation Pablo Sandoval. The thing missing on this club is the big power bat in the middle of the order. All eyes will be on Madison Baumgardner, who will give the Giants the bay area’s new ” Big Three “. Brian Wilson has done a solid job closing games for them. The Giants will be in the middle of the race in September.
Los Angeles Dodgers (HANDCUFFED) – Player to watch – Manny Ramirez
Because of the ownership struggles of the Dodgers, they seemed to have a quiet off-season. Randy Wolf is gone from the rotation. Back is Vicente Padilla. Will he be the guy who was great down the stretch and in the postseason? Or will he be the troubled pitcher who was an outcast in Texas. Joe Torre’s everyday lineup is extremely talented. Young stars like Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp continue to get better. Will Manny Ramirez bounce back from a disappointing 2009 season? Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw will be counted upon heavily.
San Diego Padres – (TRANSITIONING) Player to watch – Kyle Blanks
The biggest question with the Padres is: “When will Adrian Gonzalez be traded?” This is a team that is rebuilding. The offseason has brought Jon Garland, Scott and Jerry Hairston, and Yorvit Torrealba. Chris Young can be dominating when healthy. The Padres look for continued development of young players like Chase Headley, Mat Latos, and San Diego’s second son Tony Gwynn Jr. This team is a couple of years away from competing.
There you have it. The NL West could be an exciting 4 team race, with any of them winning. I think I’d be most surprised if the Dodgers make it back to the postseason, but with the division as talented as it is, anything could happen. Next up, the American League Central.