question here is based on pitching…
San Francisco’s carry a limited offense?
Arizona’s match last season? (Plus, carry what appears to be a
Colorado have any?
happened to Los Angeles?
did San Diego trade theirs?
get the idea… pitching of all types and considerations.
What I expect in 2012: 88-74
they did in 2011: 86-76
personnel changes: Brought in Melky Cabrera. Also traded
for Angel Pagan. New look to the outfield… not really too exciting.
expectations: Pitching. It’s all pitching.
know people are looking at the lineup, and players like Cabrera
and Pagan, and saying that there is a bit of speed suddenly on
the bases, and maybe even a bit of pop in the order.
buy into it.
improvements are there. Things are still so bad offensively for
San Francisco that even with one of the best rotations in baseball
they still will struggle to approach 90-wins.
should still be enough to win the division.
far, so good for Buster Posey… returning from last year’s horrible
NL West is a division based on pitching, and the top four starters
for San Francisco are about as good as it gets.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): The player
to watch is the Panda… Pablo Sandoval. He struggled in 2010, but
had very good years in 2009 and 2011. If he stays healthy (only
played in 117 games in 2011 after 150-plus in both 2009 and 2010),
and produces like he did last year, the Giants should be fine
even with little else around him offensively.
I like Freddy Sanchez, and I think San Francisco is hurt by his
start on the disabled list as he continues to recover from last
season’s surgery. That said… in spring training it looks like
they might have a few pieces to put together and get past his
loss while he’s out. (Of course… every player comes to spring
training in the best shape ever, and by late April and early May
we’ve already learned never to trust the stats in games that don’t
count. So those pieces could be wishful thinking.)
the way… Aubrey Huff in the outfield. (You heard me. It’s a possibility
in April. So you keep telling me about that speed and improved
offense folks. Go on. Tell me. (The good news there is youngster
Brandon Belt getting playing time. So if you want an argument
to throw back at me… there you go.))
What I expect in 2012: 86-76
they did in 2011: 94-68
personnel changes: Several moves to keep players… so
not really additions or losses. Joe Saunders… Miguel Montero…
these could be important to 2012 success and long-term team development.
And I mention them because the organization seems to be making
some quality decisions lately.
expectations: I’ve been down this road with Arizona before.
They look good… make the playoffs… I predict good things… and…
don’t forget this 94-wins in 2011 club won 70 games in 2009 and
65 in 2010.
big move this club made in recent years was not making one… in
short, keeping Justin Upton.
problem is that I’m still wondering where Ian Kennedy came from
in 2011. Can he do that in 2012? And how is this club going to
out the debate in left field. We have Jason Kubel and Gerardo
Parra. One can hit (Kubel)… the other can field (Parra). And when
you see roster spots being taken up by players like John McDonald
(great guy… makes it for his glove, not his bat), you notice that
the decisions being made for offense or defense are all over the
the Diamondbacks look good. They should have a winning record.
But they should also come back to reality.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): It could
is only 27, and was long considered a top prospect that would
be one of the building blocks for a good rotation in New York.
So maybe we can look at two good years in Arizona… factor in the
switch of locations and leagues… and assume big things in 2012
for him. But 21-4, 2.88 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP? That was a huge part
of the 94-wins for Arizona last season. It also featured him throwing
a career-high 222 innings.
you look over his career numbers, you’ll find that Kennedy actually
pitching well should not be a surprise. And I think he’ll have
a good year in 2012. But replicating the performance that was
so strongly a part with Arizona taking the division is asking
a lot. I expect him to drop off a bit.
Glove winner Parra could be a trade possibility… though I don’t
see the Diamondbacks letting him go. His presence though adds
to the drama in Arizona, where I think a lot of things have to
go right for them to win the division. And I think it’s too many
things to ask.
What I expect in 2012: 84-78
they did in 2011: 73-89
personnel changes: Hard not to like the Michael Cuddyear
signing… I understand he may not be perfect in the field… this
is still going to pay off very nicely for them. And Marco Scutaro
won’t dazzle anyone, but he’ll be solid and reliable every day
of the season… plus a move to second base should work in his favor.
rest of the moves, from my perspective, were tinkering and fine
tuning. Ty Wigginton… a runner on Jamie Moyer… you get the idea.
Nothing too incredible.
yeah… we did have a Royce Ring contract sighting back in early
expectations: Wow… umm… I’m a little torn here.
don’t see tremendous defense, especially in the outfield. And
I don’t see pitching that can win a lot of games without help.
I like this club… and I think they could make a run for this division.
everyday lineup is based around Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez…
two players you wish you had on your team. And we’re adding Marco
Scutaro and Michael Cuddyer to that.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): The question…
quite honestly as it always seems to be in Colorado, and as I’ve
said all along about this division… involves pitching. If they
can get some starting pitching at a decent level, they could be
thing… Jamie Moyer is likely to make the starting rotation. And
when you start looking over this club, it’s kind of funny that
they don’t have as much youth as you’d think. Want to see what
I mean? Ok…
when I tell you Gutherie used to pitch for the Orioles, all sorts
of bells of recognition should start ringing. Yes… yes… that talented
youngster that fought as hard as he could but simply was outmatched
pitching for Baltimore… a struggling team in a brutal division.
that initial impression would be pretty close to accurate. Granted,
2009 doesn’t look awesome on his resume (with a 5.04 ERA), but
he still throws twice as many strikeouts as he does walks, and
has cleared 190-innings the past four seasons (going over 200
in the past three).
dig deeper. He’s 32 and Baltimore didn’t want to keep him.
top of all of that… in addition to Moyer making the rotation,
Gutherie is scheduled to be the day one starter.
let’s make Gutherie our celebrity worth watching in Colorado…
and we’ll say that as the fortunes of Gutherie develop, so will
the fortunes of Colorado.
he can pitch 200+ innings, and pitch the way he has more often
than not in the American League… things could be unexpectedly
he falters… things could get very bad.
What I expect in 2012: 76-86
they did in 2011: 82-79
personnel changes: Hey… is that Mike MacDougal? Yes…
yes it is. And that’s about it for the off-season.
expectations: When you have Clayton Kershaw and Matt
Kemp, things can’t be all that bad.
not so fast.
the Dodgers put a new ownership group in place, Matt Cain and
Joey Votto agreed to new contracts. In short… if people thought
LA was going to stabilize things with new owners, and then jump
into free agency spending for next year, there are reasons to
wonder… because teams are spending money now, and it’s not the
that is for 2013 and beyond. Right now we’re looking at 2012.
to Kershaw and Kemp.
there you have two award-level players. And they are not completely
alone on this roster.
Lilly and Harang put together a steady… though admittedly unspectacular…
rotation. (Word is Lilly will beging 2012 on the disabled list.)
Ethier and James Loney are still on the younger side of 30, and
things may not be hideous in Los Angeles. Make no mistake though…
there is no power in the lineup... there is no depth of pitching
talent… and there is no reason to suspect support is on the way
through trades of next year’s signings. This is… at best… and
I mean at best… twenty-average players with a few solid players.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): We again
visit Kershaw and Kemp. Because after that, it could be applause,
and it could be a yawn. If those two don’t put up major numbers,
there is no way this club even sniffs at 80-wins.
first baseman that plays 158 or more games four years in a row?
That’s pretty good.
first baseman playing that often hitting .288 for his career with
a .346 on-base percentage? Again… I’m listening.
first baseman that maxes out at 90 RBIs and 13 home runs? You
just lost me.
yet that isn’t giving Loney a completely fair evaluation. The
guy doesn’t count as a strikeout threat, hits ok, and stays in
the lineup. Normally you’d like that.
problem is that there are so many holes in Los Angeles right now
that Loney can’t be a piece of the puzzle… he’s supposed to be
a leader. And a 15-homer-at-most first baseman doesn’t scream
leader, if you follow my basic reading of the numbers.
What I expect in 2012: 68-94
they did in 2011: 71-91
personnel changes: Traded Mat Latos. Added Edison Volquez
from that trade.
expectations: Not much.
don’t trade a starter like Latos without waving a white flag on
Petco is a park made for pitchers… and the Padres biggest troubles
often seem to be scoring runs and playing defense. So Volquez
might just recapture some of that magic that made him a name not
too long ago… and don’t be surprised if he does.
this is clearly a team in development… for the future.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): Maybe part
of it is the park… but I still think their bullpen will be ok.
Seems like the names change, but the results don’t in San Diego
when it comes to relievers.
do have some talented youth coming up, and some of it will be
on display in the big leagues this year. Yonder Alonso also came
over in the Latos trade… and he is young (24), potentially really
good (47 games last year for Cincinnati… hit .330 with a .398
on-base), and a very likeable candidate if you are looking for
Rookie of the Year consideration.
Maybin is 25… and heading into his sixth major league season.
And since he’s never played even 140 in a season… there’s a good
example of San Diego. Young… unproven… has potential… needs time.