So, it’s a week into the season and I realized that I had not finished making my predictions.
Now with that being said, I will now talk about the National League West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won this division two years in a row and the core of those two teams has basically stayed intact. They have a young good group of home-grown players such as pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw–and position players such as Andre Ethier, James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Russell Martin. Along with them, they have veteran presences like Vicente Padilla, Rafael Furcal, Manny Ramirez, and Casey Blake. Their pitching staff is not the strongest and neither is their bullpen, but Jonathan Broxton is a man that you do not want to face late in the game.
It is going to be a sad day then Adrian Gonzalez leaves the San Diego Padres. The Padres have been of re-building mode for the better part of the decade and have not been very successful as of yet. Besides A-Gon, no one really jumps at you as an established Major League hitter besides the Hairston brothers. Heath Bell is a good closer, but the Padres will struggle to give him the ball at the end of the game with a lead. After trading Peavy to the White Sox, it is pretty imminent that they will do the same with Gonzalez. Kyle Blanks, Everth Cabrera, Chase Headley, and Nick Hundley to build their team around along with sons of former Major Leaguers in Tony Gwynn Jr. and Will Venable respectively. However, these young players have ways to go in order to make it in the big leagues.
The Colorado Rockies and manager Jim Tracy were the feel-good story of the year in 2009. After replacing long-time manager Clint Hurdle, Tracy guided the Rockies all the way into winning the National League Wild Card. Troy Tulowitzski had a very strong year and many players emerged into contributors for the Rockies. The Rockies have a very strong bench consisting of Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Miguel Olivo, and Ryan Spilborghs. If Jeff Francis can come back healthy, their rotation will be one of the strongest in baseball with Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, and Aaron Cook. Manny Corpas, Rafael Betancourt, and Franklin Morales make up a very good bullpen. Once Huston Street comes back as closer, their team will be set as one of the strongest and deepest in baseball.
The San Francisco Giants have a scary starting rotation that consists of back-to-back Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, former Cy Young winner Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. they also have a very good bullpen with Brian WIlson at the end. The biggest key for the Giants is the additions of offensive players such as Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa. If they Giants can muster up any kind of offense to go along with their pitching, they will be dangerous.
Lastly, it’s the Arizona Diamondbacks. Youngsters Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds along with potential Cy Young winner Dan Haren make for a good core, but they will need more contributions if they want to contend. The D-backs need good years from newly-signed Adam LaRoche and a bounce back year from Chris Young. Their starting rotation is alright and their bullpen is decent at best. I do not think the Diamondbacks have enough, but who knows.