Belated Previews: AL & NL West

So while on haitus hibernating, I took the time to dissect every division and baseball.  That means all my predictions will be correct.  Here are the West divisons:


New Arrival: San Francisco is becoming a town where baseball milestones are surpassed and the Giants are hoping newly acquired pitcher Randy Johnson leads them toward the playoffs. Johnson is a mere five wins away from career win #300 and may be the last pitcher to eclipse the milestone for some time.

We Won’t Miss You:
In the off-season, the Rockies dealt slugger Matt Holliday to Oakland, effectively sending the division’s best hitter not named Ramirez out of the National League. The Rockies will miss his bat, but the pitchers in the division are breathing a sign of relief this spring.
How They’ll Finish:

1. Dodgers – This race is going to be wide open as no one team will run away with the division title. Despite iffy rotation depth, the Dodger offense should score enough runs to take the NL West crown even if LA has to back into the playoffs. Maybe that Manny guy will have something to do with it…
2. Diamondbacks – Arizona will compete with the Giants for the best starting rotation on paper, but will hold off San Francisco for second place because of a better offense (although not by much) anchored by their outfield of Justin Upton, Chris Young, Conor Jackson. Remember the name Max Scherzer.
3. Giants – If a team ever has to rely on Barry Zito for wins, it’s in trouble. The rotation is very good aside from the troubled southpaw as long as The Unit stays healthy, but if their cleanup hitter is Bengie Molina again, there is no way the Giant offense will take the team to the playoffs.
4. Rockies – 2007 seems so long ago for the Rockies as they will struggle to be middle of the pack in the weakest division in baseball. Without Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe will have to carry the offense. It would be nice if that Tulowitzki guy returned to form, too.
5. Padres – It’s going to be a rough year for Ron Burgundy, who will have bad news to read off the teleprompter all year. I can’t imagine the Padres will win more than 70 games and maybe 70 will be a stretch. Jake Peavy, the lone bright spot on a terrible team, will either get dealt before the trade deadline in July or this will be his farewell tour as it’s time to rebuild.


New Arrival – The Texas Rangers moved five-time All-Star Michael Young to third base to make room for prospect Elvis Andrus. Andrus (pictured) is one of the top hitting prospects in a pitching rich Texas system but has never played higher than AA ball. Andrus isn’t going to ever be the hitter than Young is but Andrus is phenomenal defensively. The Rangers see him as a future lead-off hitter because of his speed and his decent on-base percentage but he’ll have to prove he can handle the bat at a high level in order to stay in the bigs.

We’ll Miss You – The Angels lost the most this off-season, none more important than Mark Teixeira. Although he only spent about half the season with the team, the Angels, specifically Vlad Guerrero, will miss his bat in the middle of the order and the Anaheim infielders will miss his glove.

How They’ll Finish:

1. A’s – If there’s one person that knows how to build a winner it’s Billy Beane. He pulled the trigger on the Matt Holliday trade when given the green light by ownership to win now and that’s just what the A’s will do. Their young pitching is solid and their lineup will score plenty of runs.
2. Angels – No team will fall farther than the Angels in 2009 as Baseball Prospectus’ infamously accurate PECOTA prediction has the Angels going from 100 wins in 2008 to 84 in 2009. Bobby Abreu is a great addition, but the Angels are on the decline as their hitters get older and John Lackey gets ready to become a free agent at the end of the season.
3. Rangers – Texas will make things interesting in the AL West and will be a force once their superb young pitchers are ready for the majors. Their pitching staff this year (minus the young guys) will be terrible and I think Texas is a year away from the playoffs but have an exciting future.
4. Mariners – In a few years, this will be Seattle’s division. New GM Jack Zduriencik will have the Mariners in the World Series within five years but for now he has to fix the mess he inherited from his predecessor.


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