PREDICTION TIME- NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
It is almost time for baseball season to begin for real. It is an annual rite of passage that predictions are to be made for the upcoming season. Every team starts equal and hope springs eternal. At least it does for a few days, weeks and months for various teams. The United Cardinal Bloggers have done the predictions blog for several years and now is the time to make mine. If you don’t like mine, then go to the UCB website and find one you do.
#1- Los Angeles Dodgers (100-62) Last Season: 92-70
This team may have it all. To help out they have picked up Dan Haren and Chris Perez to solidify the pitching. That just adds to Cy Young Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound and the expected return of Chad Billingsley. The pen has Perez along with Kelly Jansen and Brian Wilson.
Then the field is full of hitters with Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Eithier, carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig. These are guys that can and will swing the bat. This team is stacked and Manager Don Mattingly can put on the cruise control.
#2- Arizona Diamondbacks (90-72) Last Season: 81-81
Many are expecting a down year from Arizona but Mark Trumbo with Paul Goldschmidt in the same lineup will produce many hits and runs. With AJ Pollock now a full-timer, he will set the table with is speed.
The pitching is lacking some but Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado will be thrown out to the mound on a regular basis and the top prospects Braden Shipley, David Homberg and Archie Bradley make things brighter.
#3- San Francisco Giants (85-77) Last Season: 76-86
Barry Zito is gone but Tim Hudson is better and he was added to the team. Matt Cain, Madison Baumgartner and Ryan Vogelsong will complete the rotation. Most of them under achieved last season so there is hope for a rebound. Tim Lincecum returns and at times shows his stuff of the old days. If he is back, the team moves up. Michael Morse was added to supplement the offense with the majority of it coming from Buster Posey. Posey did regress last season but there are plenty of innings left in his body.
#4- Colorado Rockies (81-81) Last Season: 74-88
Todd Helton retired and that is actually addition as his last few season were just mediocre from his superior days of many years ago. One loss that may be felt is Dexter Fowler is gone and will be replaced by Drew Stubbs. Also added were Boone Logan, Brett Anderson, Justin Morneau and LaTroy Hawkins. Stubbs can steal some bases and Morneau is capable of batting .300 for the year. Put these players with Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki and that is a solid core.
#5- San Diego Padres (73-89) Last Season: 76-86)
The key additions to this team were Joaquin Benoit and Josh Johnson. There isn’t much to this team to make other teams fearful. Johnson should help but there is word he is not healthy at the start of the season. Offense centers around Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin and a rebound from Chase Headley is needed. Yonder Alonso and Everth Cabrera may start the stick going in 2014.