Friday, April 18, 2008

Season Predictions: NL West

I predicted the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the West this year just like I did last year.  The difference is, last year the D-Backs were a group of extremely young talented players that everyone thought were too raw to make it to the playoffs but in the end they did and I was right. This year almost everyone is predicting the Diamondbacks to take their division.  

A lot of people are making the mistake that the Rockies are here to stay and were not a fluke. This is not true because  their rotation has many flaws and their bullpen is pretty weak.  Last year they got lucky and their hitting, pitching and fielding all had their high points in the last 5 weeks of the season together and they still only tied for 2nd place in the West.  The Rockies are a solid 2nd-3rd place team, but don't kid yourself they aren't so good.  The Padres have one of the best rotations in the majors partly because they have the best pitchers park in the league and also their manager was an ace pitching coach.  Kevin Towers knows how to work the waivers for terrific pickups like Paul McAnulty, Scott Hairston and Justin Huber who are all sharing time in LF right now and putting up solid numbers.  Their bullpen is also terrific because of the same factors and also KT has a talent for picking up good arms on the cheap.

Now to get to the D-Backs.  The D-Backs are the second best team in the NL partly because of their amazing young hitting and partially because of their outstanding pitching.  They have, not one but two aces atop their rotation and a Cy Young award winner as their number 3 in Randy Johnson and have one of the best backs of the rotation with Doug Davis who has wicked stuff and also Micah Owings the young guy who keeps getting better.  Their bullpen has three closers(bullpen aces) in Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon and Chad Qualls.  They also have a top prospect in Max Sherzer who has a 99 MPH fastball a  devastating two-plane slider and a league average changeup with an occasional knee buckling curve.  He's ready for the bigs as well as Billy Buckner and Yusmeiro Petit are, who were both aces in the minors but will be in the D-Backs bullpen in the majors. They also have a terrific batting order with Chris Young(a five tool player) leading off followed by Orlando Hudson(a terrific fielder), Mark Reynolds(a young guy tearing up the league right now), Conor Jackson(a classic first basemen), Justin Upton(a future 40/40 guy), Eric Byrnes(hard nosed), Stephen Drew(terrific defense with a great bat) and Miguel Montero their catching prospect who is now on the DL.

All these reasons equal a playoff berth and might equal a dynasty, you never know.  They always say, "hitting wins ball games but pitching wins pennants.  So in the Diamondbacks case they will win many ball games and many pennants with 2 CY's in their rotation.     

The Rest of the Division Goes as Follows:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. San Diego Padres
3. Colorado Rockies
4. LA Dodgers
5. San Francisco Giants(The worst team in baseball)