Division Preview: NL West

What an awesome division, with three of the top four Cy Young finishers (Penny, Webb, and Peavy), and many other talented players, like the guy who should have won rookie of the year (Troy Tulowitzki, not 25 errors per year Ryan Braun). This division will be fun to watch. This is not the NL West of a few years ago where the Padres won with an 81-81 record.

1. San Diego Padres (2007 record: 89-74, 3rd)

Jake Peavy

I like the San Diego Padres the best, because they have the best core out of any team in the NL West. It is really close with the Rockies, but I think the Padres are better. They have a pitching corps of Cy Young winner Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Greg Maddux, Justin Germano, and Randy Wolf who will most definitely improve in the caverns of Petco Park, and a great bullpen anchored by CL Trevor Hoffman. In offense, they gained 2B Tadahito Iguchi, OF Jim Edmonds, and UTIL player from AAA Callix Crabbe from the Rule 5 Draft (who I think will surprise people) with players like 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, SS Khalil Greene, C Josh Bard, and RF Brian Giles. I like this core better than the Rockies’ core, but they both should be close, and anyone but the Giants has a shot at winning this division. I’m predicting the Padres for betting’s sake.

2. Colorado Rockies (2007 record: 90-73, 2nd)

Ian Stewart

The Colorado Rockies, fresh off an appearance in the World Series, will possibly have another good year, as the team did not need to do much in the offseason, other than sign Scott Podsednik and Marcus Giles to minor league contracts. Their offense is great, and losses like Jamey Carroll and Kaz Matsui can be replaced by guys like Podsednik and Giles. They also have immediate prospects still coming into the organization for 2008 like IF Ian Stewart and OF Dexter Fowler. This is basically the same team anchored by the awesome Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki as last year, minus Matsui, Carroll, and SP Josh Fogg, and plus Jose Capellan.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (2007 record: 82-80, 4th)

James Loney

The Dodgers should have the biggest improvement in the NL West, as they bolstered their team by adding Joe Torre as manager. The team massively underachieved with players like Nomar Garciaparra not being good anymore, as well as the loss of Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre not being a viable player (read: out machine) for center field. Also, they have added Andruw Jones to a 2 year contract to replace the massive hole on offense that Juan Pierre gives. The Dodgers have some exciting pitching prospects, as Texas high school fireballer product Clayton Kershaw has really been impressive in spring training, as well as Japanese signee Hireki Kuroda. Kuroda, with nothing left to prove in Nippon baseball, has a new challenge playing in the Majors in 2008. I think the Dodgers can improve 5 wins or so from the offseason signings as well as improvements from prospects RF Matt Kemp and 1B James Loney alone. SS Andy LaRoche getting injured in spring training poses somewhat of a problem though.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks (2007 record: 90-72, 1st)

Brandon Webb

What else can you say, they added Dan Haren, and also have Brandon Webb. The D-back’s starting pitching looks great with the two, as well as Silver Slugger pitcher Micah Owings, Randy Johnson, and Doug Davis. Yeah, they still have an offense that people laugh at and make them look like an anomaly at times, but they got some talent coming up, including 1st round draft pick of 2007 and quick learner, Jarrod Parker, who may come up later in 2008, as well as pitcher Max Scherzer. The only additions they have made on offense is Chris Burke and Trot Nixon on a minor league contract, and that offense did stink at times in 2007. The core of the offense, with SS Stephen Drew, OF Eric Byrnes, OF Chris Young, 1B Conor Jackson, 3B Mark Reynolds, and 2B Orlando Hudson is decent but not great. 3B Chad Tracy is also still injured. They could be higher up this list if Chris Young gets on base more. Their bullpen lost Jose Valverde to the Astros in their trade, but they keep some of that core with Brandon Lyon, as well as the addition of Chad Qualls. They have more shortcomings than people think though, and that is why I predict them to finish fourth in the division, but with a very close record to the others in the division.

5. San Francisco Giants (2007 record: 71-91, 5th)

Dan Ortmeier

General Manager Brian Sabean says they are rebuilding, especially after the loss of super OF Jon Dowd to free agency, who has ten times as many home runs as the second place guy, and always a good bet for 80 plus home runs every year. They have an abysmal offense aided by a one-year wonder and expensive free agent pickup in Aaron Rowand. They have by far the worst offense in the Major Leagues, anchored by Rowand, Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Dan Ortmeier, Kevin Frandsen, Bengie Molina, Dave Roberts, Randy Winn, and an aging Omar Vizquel… etc. Their pitching is great with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, as well as Barry Zito, who I think will rebound because he’s wearing stirrups again. Don’t forget their emerging RHP prospect Brian Wilson. If it’s really a rebuilding year for the Giants though, why don’t they have anything immediate for their offense besides OF Nate Schierholtz, who basically projects to be another 15-20 homer supporting player that hits for good contact and Dan Ortmeier maybe hitting 20 homers? It will be a tough next few years for Giants fans most likely

Explore posts in the same categories: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

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One Comment on “Division Preview: NL West”

  1. Ben Gardner Says:

    I’m really not an NL guy, but you’re right. The starting pitching in this division is phenomenal. Because i’m a huge fan of starting pitching, I’m curious to see how far teams like the Diamondbacks or Padres can go this year before getting swept by whatever AL team goes to the World Series. Matt Holliday is one of the better hitters on the planet and the Rockies hvae a nice young core that should get better this year. Factor in other growing teams like the Brewers and Reds, and the future is interesting for the National League. The NL is getting stronger, but the AL is still vastly superior.

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