Friday, March 30, 2012

MLB Preview (Part 3): NL West

Is the NL West the worst division in baseball? It's that or the AL Central, and the latter at least has a presumable juggernaut in the Tigers (what with Verlander and Cabrera and Fielder and co.). There might not be one "good" team in the NL West. The Giants can't hit. The Rockies can't put it together. No one seems to think the Diamondbacks are real. The Padres and Dodgers are the Padres and Dodgers. 

Check below for our predictions team-by-team followed by who we think will win the division. It might surprise you. Or not. Don't care, just read:
LA Dodgers  81 (82 wins)
Sean: Push. This might not be the worst division in the league but it is certainly the most boring. Boo boo bee boo Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy. I can’t wait till the Braves beat whichever shitty team wins the division in the NLDS.

Jon: Under. This team is surprisingly boring considering they have the defending Cy Young and runner up for MVP in Kershaw and Kemp. Because beside them Jerry Hairston, Jr. might have the most value on the team (just kidding, it’s Andre Ethier, but that’s closer than you might think).

Steve: Over. Barely.

San Diego Padres  73.5 (71 wins)
Sean: Under.

Jon: Under. The Padres are a team that sucks the life out of you. Luckily they all get to live in San Diego.

Steve: Under. Not barely.

San Francisco Giants 87.5 (86 wins)
Sean: Over. Tim Lincecum is losing velocity every year and while his change-up is a nasty pitch now what will it look like if his velocity keeps going down? I think this might be last truly awesome year and see him flaming out like Johan Santana after getting a big contract from another team.

Jon: Under. I don’t really know why, but I don’t think that rotation holds up quite as well this year. And they still can’t hit.

Steve: Over. Still lots of pitching, still shit division.

Colorado Rockies  80.5 (73 wins)
Sean: Over.

Jon: Over. They won only 73 games last year, and didn’t really upgrade anywhere and yet this line still feels too low. Maybe I’m just crazy.

Steve: Under. They’ve been the pick to win the division in the preseason for the past 5 years. They’re just not that good though.

Arizona Diamondbacks  86 (94 wins)
Sean: Under.

Jon: Push. This feels just right for a team that won 94 last year with the benefit of a ton of luck. They’ll lose in the first round of the playoffs yet again. Ian Kennedy is not an ace. Neither is Daniel Hudson. Also, can we stop waiting for Stephen Drew to put it together? I think at this point it’s just not happening.

Steve: Over.

Division Prediction
Steve: I mean...I guess the Diamondbacks...? I’m putting the Rockies and the Padres to bed right now. They’re nothings. The Diamondbacks overachieved last year, but they’re a team that will probably get better with age. Their “luck” can regress but their talent can improve, so they could be about the same as they were last year. And if they win like they did last year, they’ll win the division. The Dodgers have a few studs but not much else, so I don’t see them taking this division. Their pitching also took a hit. And the Giants are decent, and they’ll have Buster Posey back, but they won’t have Carlos Beltran anymore, and perhaps more strikingly, they will have Melky Cabrera. In all good reasoning, I cannot choose a team that has Melky Cabrera as a division winner.

Jon: Another division I expect to be close. The NL West could legitimately have no good teams, and I could see this being like the 2008 season when an 84-win team took the division, but the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Rockies all have a chance to be above average. I expect all three to converge in the mid-80s of wins. The D-backs are a classic regression team (outperformed their statistical profile, got unsustainable years from guys like Ian Kennedy), while the Rockies underperformed last year (not so much in terms of statistical profile, but I just think their hitters will be better). The Giants, meanwhile, are probably a mid-80s win team by talent, which is crazy because their pitching is so good. They're like the Phillies but with slightly worse pitching and even worse hitting. I’ll pick the Diamondbacks, but I don’t really know why. The Dodgers have the 2 best players in the division, and maybe the entire league, but 2 players does not a team make. And the Padres? Eh.

Sean: I’m picking the Giants. Their pitching is the best thing that any team has in this division and their offense will get better with the addition of Melky Cabrera. Let’s pause and think about that for a moment. In 2009 the Braves acquired Melky for Javier Vazquez. He was a 24 year old switch hitting outfielder with a good average and decent power, I was fine with the move at the time and saw potential in Melky. Then that fat piece shit ate his way out of centerfield, didn’t try, and put together the worst season in the history of baseball. Every time he got a hit I was mad, even if he won us the god damn game, it took more and more out of me to have him on my team. And now, now he’s a good god damn player. Francoeur and Cabrera both had good years for the Royals last year and I expect Cabrera to hit 20 homers again. Fuck you Melky Cabrera and your stupid fucking face.  

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