Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CFCL Bold Predictions: NL West

Today I take a look at the final division in my predictions for the United Cardinals Bloggers March project.  Previously I covered the American League, the NL East and the NL Central

Today its the NL West.  Here are my predicted standings:
  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (Wild Card - 2)
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. Colorado Rockies
The Giants won the West by 8 games last year and I see no reason for that to change this year.  The Giants have a rep as being a weak hitting team but they actually finished 6th in the NL in runs scored last year.  Last year's spark plug, Marco Scutaro was resigned to play second and NL MVP Buster Posey will split time at catcher and first to keep his bat in the lineup.  The pitching remains strong, also finishing 6th in least runs allowed.   Matt Cain will again anchor the staff and Madison Bumgarner is quickly becoming one of the best left handers in the league.  The key will be how Tim Lincecum bounces back from the worst year of his career.  If he can regain his pre-2012 form, the rotation goes from good to potentially great.  Predicted Record:  95-67

The Dodgers pitching staff finished with the 2nd best ERA in the NL and the 3rd fewest runs allowed in 2012.  Clayton Kershaw finished second in the Cy Young voting and the addition of Zach Greinke should make the staff even better in 2013.  The concern with the Dodgers is the offense, which finshed 13th in runs scored in 2012.  A return to healthy by Matt Kemp should help, as will last year's trade deadline additions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez (when healthy).  After throwing all their money around the last two years, the Dodgers' ownership should see the team close the gap between them and the Giants, but I do not think it will be enough to overtake them.  Predicted Record:  92-70

Arizona made some questionable moves this offseason, mainly trading away young star Justin Upton and the loss of his replacement, Adam Eaton, for 2 plus months due to injury won't help either.  There is still some talent on the team, as Paul Goldschmidt is a rising star and Aaron Hill posted some monster numbers for a second baseman.  Their pitching is solid, but unspectacular with no true ace.  Ian Kennedy pitched like an ace in 2011, with a 21-4 record and a 2.88 ERA, but he came back down to earth last year (15-12, 4.02 ERA).  Trevor Cahill pitched well in his first NL season and Wade Miley shined bright in his rookie year.  Top prospect Tyler Skaggs waits in the wings should any starter falter.  Predicted Record:  85-77

The Padres moved their fences in this year to help change Petco into less of a pitchers' park.  This would have third baseman Chase Headley grinning from ear-to-ear, if not for an injured thumb which will keep him out of action for at least a month.  After Headley, there's not much to speak of on the offensive side.  Carlos Quentin did hit 16 homers in 284 at bats, but it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy for an entire year.  On the pitching side, the prospects are not much brighter.  After finishing with the 6th worst runs allowed, despite pitching half their games in a pitchers' park, the Padres did little to improve things.  Predicted Record:  75-87

Colorado had the worst pitching staff in the majors last year, giving up 45 more runs than the next closest team (Cleveland) and nearly 100 more than the next closest NL team (the Astros).  Part of the problem stemmed from injuries, which eventually led the Rockies to use a 4 man rotation down the stretch.  The good news is that the Rockies can score runs, finishing 6th in runs scored in 2012.  The bad news is that they'll have to score a heck of a lot more runs to make up for their poor pitching.  Predicted Record:  67-95

That wraps it up for the division predictions.  Tomorrow I'll take a look at the playoffs and award winners.

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