National League West Preview

By: Maize_in_Spartyland

On April 5, the Los Angeles Dodgers will visit the San Diego Padres, playing at 7:05 PM EST, in a matchup of two NL West teams. The start of the major league season means a new beginning for each of the 30 teams – each team has an equal shot at making the post season. While each team starts with the same record, the end result won’t be the same.

Today, I’ll cover the National League West teams, offering a prediction as to whether each team will exceed or fall short of their expectations.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Manager: Kirk Gibson, second year

Last Division Title: 2011

Last NL Pennant: 2001

Last World Series Title: 2001

Last Season Record: 94-68

Key Changes: Added SP Trevor Cahill and OF Jason Kubel.

LVH over/under win total: 86

The Diamondbacks are fresh off winning the NL West; the season before they were last in the division. Arizona was in the bottom half of baseball in team batting averaging, with a .250 mark. That hitting will have to improve if Arizona can be expected to have a similar measure of success this season. Opponents hit an average of .257 against Diamondbacks pitchers – of the teams that made the playoffs, only St. Louis pitchers had opponents hit for a better average. Arizona’s starting rotation projects to be Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter, and Joe Saunders.

Over/under win total projection: Under

Colorado Rockies

Manager: Jim Tracy, third full season

Last Division Title: Never

Last NL Pennant: 2007

Last World Series Title: Never

Last Season Record: 73-89

Key Changes: Lost IF Ian Stewart and C Chris Iannetta; Added C Ramon Hernandez, IF Marco Scutaro

LVH over/under win total: 80.5

Be mindful that the Rockies numbers always tend to be over inflated. Their ERA was among the five worst in MLB last season, with a 4.43 mark. They were in the top ten in team batting average, though. Colorado has to play better at home though, as the Rockies were 38-43 at home last season. With a 35-46 mark on the road, they had the worst road record of any NL West team. Colorado is built around OF Carlos Gonzalez and S Troy Tulowitzki, but its their starting rotating that will be a concern. The Rockies are expected to start Jeremy Guthrie, Jamie Moyer, Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin, and Drew Pomeranz. Should any of the aforementioned pitchers struggle, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman, and Esmil Rogers are more than capable of jumping in.

Over/under win total projection: Under

Los Angeles Dodgers

Manager: Don Mattingly, second season

Last Division Title: 2009

Last NL Pennant: 1988

Last World Series Title: 1988

Last Season Record: 82-79

Key Changes: Lost SP Jon Garland, RP Jonathan Broxton, and SP Hiroki Kuroda; added SP Aaron Harang and 2B Mark Ellis

LVH over/under win total: 81

The Dodgers enter the season with a ton of uncertainty. The current ownership, Frank McCourt, could change at any moment. The Dodgers batting average was among the top half of the league, .257, and the team ERA was fifth. So why were the Dodgers so bad? Los Angeles was in the bottom third of major league baseball in runs scored and home runs. To be honest, the Dodgers did nothing to rectify those problems and their pitching staff got worse, as well. SS Dee Gordon, OF Matt Kemp, 1B James Loney, and SP Clayton Kershaw remain bright spots, but the rest of the Dodgers leave a lot to be desired. Expect the Dodgers Opening Day rotation to be Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, and Nathan Eovaldi. Ted Lilly will begin the season on the disabled list.

Over/under win total projection: Under

San Diego Padres

Manager: Bud Black, sixth season

Last Division Title: 2006

Last NL Pennant: 1998

Last World Series Title: Never

Last Season Record: 71-91

Key Changes: Lost RP Heath Bell, SP Mat Latos, and SP Aaron Harang; added SP Edinson Volquez, 1B Yonder Alonso, and OF Carlos Quentin

LVH over/under win total: 73.5

San Diego was the worst in batting average in the National League, only Seattle keeps them from being the worst overall. The Padres also had the fewest home runs in major league baseball – not surprising when their home is the spacious Petco Park. The Padres were the third worst in baseball in runs scored – second worst in the National League. So its clear that the Padres needed to upgrade offensively. San Diego added Alonso and Quentin, both of which are capable home run hitters. If Quentin returns to his 2009 form, the Padres have a good cleanup hitter on their hands. Losing Heath Bell will likely cost the Padres at least a few wins. Expect San Diego to have a starting rotation of Tim Stauffer, Clayton Richard, Dustin Moseley, Cory Luebke, and Edinson Volquez.

Over/under win total projection: Under

San Francisco Giants

Manager: Bruce Bochy, sixth season

Last Division Title: 2010

Last NL Pennant: 2010

Last World Series Title: 2010

Last Season Record: 86-76

Key Changes: Lost SP Jonathan Sanchez; added OFs Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan

LVH over/under win total: 87.5

The Giants were 27-21 up through May 25. On that day, the Giants lost catcher Buster Posey to injury incurred in a play at the plate. Posey was out for the remainder of the season – the Giants finished the year going 59-55 in their remaining games. Posey will be back for Opening Day, but the Giants have greater concerns, as the offense was awful in 2011, scoring the second fewest runs in all of baseball and having the second fewest RBIs. San Francisco was third worst in batting average. The Giants need to show the ability to score runs – their pitching staff simply cannot carry every game. San Francisco is a team suffering through injuries right now, with 2B Freddy Sanchez, 2B Emmanuel Burris, and SP Ryan Vogelsong. The Giants Opening Day rotation is expected to be Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner. The fourth and fifth spots should be filled by Barry Zito or Ramon Ortiz, until Ryan Vogelsong returns. Barring a setback, Vogelsong should be ready to go on April 15th, when the Giants need a fifth starter.

Over/under win total projection: Over

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  1. Pingback: New Content Added: Week of March 25th | beforevisitingthesportsbook

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