Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thoughts on MLB 2014: NL West

The pre-season mercifully came to a close today with a rainout of the final game of the Bay Bridge Series.  I don't think anyone really wanted to play this game anyway, at least on the Giants side.  I thought we could do a quick rundown of the NL West.  I will summarize the teams in the order I think they will finish in the division.

1.  Los Angeles Dodgers.  Roster:  C  AJ Ellis, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 2B Dee Gordon, 3B  Juan Uribe, SS  Hanley Ramirez,  LF  Carl Crawford,  CF  Matt Kemp,  RF  Yasiel Puig, SP's  Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren, Paul Maholm,  RP's  Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, JP Howell, Chris Withrow.  Key Reserves:  Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke.

The Dodgers are a hot mess, but a talented hot mess.  If everybody stays healthy, a big question mark for this team, they should win the division and quite easily.  The biggest wild card is Clayton Kershaw. If his injury sidelines him or renders him ineffective for an extended period, the Dodgers could struggle.  Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are other important pieces with significant injury histories.  Puig is another wild card who could be an emerging superstar or struggle to hit the Mendoza Line while alienating his teammates.

2.  San Francisco Giants.  Roster:  C  Buster Posey,  1B  Brandon Belt,  2B  Marco Scutaro, 3B  Pablo Sandoval,  SS Brandon Crawford,  LF  Michael Morse, CF  Angel Pagan,  RF  Hunter Pence, SP's  Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong,  RP's  Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, David Huff, Yusmeiro Petit.  Key Reserves  Hector Sanchez, Joaquin Arias, Gregor Blanco.

The Giants lineup should score runs.  Bumgarner is an emerging ace who I think could challenge for the Cy Young Award.  The rest of the pitching needs to have a collective bounceback.  That is asking a lot.  I think there is enough of a chance that enough players will bounceback enough that I am picking the Giants to finish second in the NL West and gain a Wild Card playoff spot.  The season hinges on the pitching, though.

3.  Colorado Rockies.  Roster:  C  Wilin Rosario,  1B Justin Morneau,  2B  DJ Lemahieu,  3B  Nolan Arenado,  SS  Troy Tulowitzki,  LF  Carlos Gonzalez,  CF Drew Stubbs, RF Michael Cuddyer,  SP's  Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood, Brett Anderson, RP's  LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, Adam Ottavino, Key Reserves  Charlie Blackmon, Jordan Pacheco, Brandon Barnes.  Franklin Morales will fill in for Chacin in the rotation to start the season.  He could edge out someone else and stay on after Chacin comes back.

The Rockies have the makings of an offensive juggernaut if they can keep everyone healthy.  The top 3 SP's are solid, but with some injury risk.  Anderson is a wild card.  Tremendous talent with extensive injury history and inconsistent performances.  The bullpen is a mess and will probably be what does this team in.

4.  San Diego Padres.  Roster:  C  Yasmani Grandal/Nick Hundley,  1B  Yonder Alonso,  2B  Jedd Gyorko, 3B Chase Headley,  SS  Everth Cabrera,  LF  Carlos Quentin, CF  Cameron Maybin  RF  Will Venable, SP's  Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Eric Stults, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy,  RP's  Huston Street, Joaquin Benoit, Robbie Erlin, Key Reserves  Chris Denorfia, Kyle Blanks, Seth Smith, Alexei Amarista, Tommy Medica.

The Padres are slowly putting the pieces of a competitive team together but are probably not quite there yet.  Grandal should emerge as the starting C.  Quentin and Josh Johnson both start the season on the DL to nobody's surprise.  Tommy Medica is a heckuva hitter who will challenge for a starting spot at 1B or LF.  Padres need a big bounceback year from Headley to be at all competitive.

5.  Arizona  Diamondbacks.  Roster:  C  Miguel Montero, 1B  Paul Goldschmidt, 2B  Aaron Hill, 3B  Martin Prado,  SS  Chris Owings/Didi Gregorius,  LF  Mark Trumbo,  CF  AJ Pollack,  RF  Gerardo Parra.  SP's   Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Randall Delgado, Bronson Arroyo,  RP's  JJ Putz, Addison Reed.

You look at that roster and lineup and this is a shockingly bad team!  It's compounded by Manager Kirk Gibson doing weird things like batting Prado 4'th and Montero in front of Trumbo against a LHP as well as starting Didi Gregorius over Chris Owings against a LHP.  Patrick Corbin is out for the season as is RP David Hernandez.  Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best hitters in baseball, but he is not going to get much help this year.  I've been wrong about this team in the past, but they look like a last place team to me.


  1. As you said, don't be surprised about Kershaw and the DL.

    Right now, no one really knows if he will be out longer than 15 days.

  2. nice run downs doc. dbacks not that bad. thanks for doing your thing.

  3. Thanks for posting your rundown DrB. I think the Rockies could be the surprise team in the division. It's possible that their pitching staff could get a mid summer boost from 2 stud pitching prospects from their system who throw in the mid to high 90's, Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler. Could one of them move to the bullpen?

    1. I agree! The Rockies are a scary team. They just need a few things to go right for them and they could come up huge.