Final NL preview…the NL West division which was won by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 over the San Francisco Giants.
2011 Final NL West Standings:
- Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68)
- San Francisco Giants (86-76)
- L.A. Dodgers (82-79)
- Colorado Rockies (73-89)
- San Diego Padres (71-91)
2012 NLW Predictions:
- Arizona Diamondbacks (89-73)
- San Francisco Giants (87-75)
- Colorado Rockies (78-84)
- L.A. Dodgers (74-88)
- San Diego Padres (70-92)
Diamondbacks Analyst: The D-Backs without a doubt was that biggest surprise in the 2011 baseball season. The team went from winning 65 games in 2010, to 94 wins and a playoff birth in 2011. They return most of their players who were on the team last season. First-basemen Paul Goldschmidt got called up and started jacking the ball, he will be the starter at 1st base. Miguel Montero young catcher (good power, good defense); Outfield of the Dbacks got some serious pop. Justin Upton at Left; he jacked 31 homers last season. Chris Young patrolling centerfield, he hit 20 homeruns last season. And newly acquired Jason Kubel will play RF he has some pop hitting atlease 20 homeruns in his previous 3 of 4 seasons with the Twins as mostly a DH. He will have to play the field in AZ. The snakes pitching rotation led by young ace Ian Kennedy. Kennedy had a spectacular 2011′ season producing a record of 21 wins and 4 losses, mostly a big reason why they won the division. I doubt he picks up 20 wins again, but if he wins 15-18, Dbacks have a good shot. Daniel Hudson 2nd in the rotation, hurrled his way to 16 wins in ’11. They got Trevor Cahill who had up and down season from the A’s and Collmenter as the 4th place starter. JJ Putz had 45 saves and an era of only 2.17, so give him the lead in the 9th to shut the door! The NLW should go down to the wire between AZ/SF, but I give Arizona slight edge with a better offense.
San Francisco Analyst: Giants won the world series in 2010 and failed to make the postseason in 2011. Big reason why is because the lack of offense once Buster Posey went down for most of the season after a big collision at home plate. Well Buster will be back in the lineup in hopes of igniting the rather below average lineup the Giants put out. Look for him to put up solid numbers this season. Around the giants IF they have Aubrey Huff who is aging and only knocked 12 homers last season. Freddy Sanchez has been producing good offense numbers but hes been dealing with some injury-riddled seasons as of late. At shortstop Brandon Crawford should get the nod- classified as a average hitter. And lastly Kung fu Panda at 3b- puts up good average, clutch hitter, down a bit in the 2011. Giants outfield is nothing special. Melky Cabrera has been trade bait more then anything the last few years but hes coming off his best year hitting over .300 for most of the season with the Royals. Hes accompanied by Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz- both average players. Giants will have to rely on their strong focal point- the starting pitching. Tim Lincecum two time CY-Young, signed a long contract for the Giants has been a very good pitcher for them but he came down to earth a bit in 2011- Giants need him to come back stronger for 2012 if they want to win. #2 AND #3 starters Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner both had good seasons. Vogelsong #4 starter a 34 year old pitcher-came back big after rebuilding his baseball career- posting a good 2.34 era during the season. Barry zito rounds out the rotation and you can call it a big BUST. As he continues to put up sub-winning records. Of course Brian Wilson and his beard will be back in action closing the games for SF.
Rockies Analyst: Couple years of down seasons in Denver the Rockies are back to challenge in 2012. They are putting together a solid lineup. Ramon Hernandez added to the team- has pop. Tom Helton not hitting the 20+ homers each season anymore but constantly still hitting .280 BA and 10-19 homers a season. Michael Cuddyer acquired off free agency is a solid player- hits the longball and clutch with RISP. Troy Tulowitzki probably most efficient offensively- great power and hits 30 homers, 95-100 rbis as a SS. Outfield has good potential- Dexter Fowler in center, former 2011 MLB MVP canidate Carlos Gonzalez who slugged 26 bombs last season. I am excited to see this lineup as Coors Field and the airmass there favors the long ball, should be fun to watch. Rockies dealth their “ace” Ublado Jimenez near the deadline last season and now they don’t have a true ace but their pitching staff contains Jorge De La Rosa, Youngsters Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio who pitched well in 2011 and Tyler Chatwood and Esmil Rogers- mostly a young staff, and not everyone knows those names. The wildcard of the Rockies season will be the pitching- because they have enough to win offensively in my opinion.
Dodgers analyst: Rocky season for the Dodgers mered by the budget issues. They wound up with 80 wins but it could have been well worse without the value of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp had a mvp-type monster season. He predicts another big season- stating that he will have a 50-50 homerun/steal season. He better back it up, or the Dodgers will be in serious trouble. Not much intruging stats to provide on the Dodgers for the upcoming season. They have players with potential (Kemp, Loney, Ethier, Kershaw, Billingsley) but not getting it done on the diamond. James Loney had one good season- .331 BA/15 HR season back in 07′, Mark Ellis at second base numbers have gone well down, Dee Gordon has speed but not much more and Juan Uribe numbers took a slide downward only hitting a inch over the mendoza line- .204 batting average. Outfield contains Matt Kemp (best player on the team), Andre Ethier has struggled lately, Juan Rivera (decent contact/occasional power hitter) Pitching staff led by Clayton Kershaw as mentioned above, Chad Billingsley who had his best season number-wise in 07-08, Ted Lilly who is an offspeed pitcher (kinda like Jamie Moyer) always seems to win those 3-2, 2-1 type ballgames, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano wraps up the probable rotation, classified as average at best.
Padres Analyst: Last but not lease the Padres. Um bottom-dwellers last season and looking likely again this season. Most of their possible power source should come from the outfield- Carlos Quentin (hits 20+ HRs previous seasons), Cameron Maybin hasn’t been the top prospect that we thought, but could find his idenity in SD, and top-prospect Kyle Banks tall Right-handed batter, could be a 25+ HR guy in his prime. Not much power wise looking around the rest of the team. There is Nick Hundley behind the plate, Chase Headley, and Orlando Hudson. Orlando Hudson’s offense numbers have been good but only hit .246 last season. Though his defense still gets a grade A. Pitching looks to be average at best. Edison Volquez acquired in the Volquez/Latos swap. Then Tim Stauffer, Clayton Richard, Cory Luebke, and Dustin Moseley. Should be another down season as the Pads are rebuilding for the future.
There you have it. Entire NL 2012 predictions done…I will begin posting my AL predictions on Friday and the weekend.