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Sunday, April 02, 2006

NL West Preview

1. San Francisco Giants *Division Winners
CF Randy Winn
SS Omar Vizquel
2B Ray Durham
LF Barry Bonds
RF Moises Alou
3B Pedro Feliz
1B Lance Niekro
C Mike Matheny

RHP Jason Schmidt
RHP Matt Morris
LHP Noah Lowrey
RHP Matt Cain
RHP Jamey Wright

CL: Armondo Benitez (starts season on DL)
RHP Tim Worrell
LHP Steve Kline
RHP Tyler Walker
LHP Jeff Fassero
RHP Scott Munter
RHP Jeremy Accardo
LHP Jack Taschner

1B/RF Mike Sweeney
IF Jose Vizcaino
C Todd Greene
OF Steve Finley
OF Jason Ellison

OFFENSE: The Giants will get a healthy Bonds to start out the season, so that alone improves their offense immensly. Plus, the Giants added Steve Finley for insurance, and I think he can still play at a pretty high level. In '04 he hit 36 jacks, and he looks as good as ever so far this spring. I'm still a little worried about the corner infield spots, and the Giants need Alou and Durham to stay healthy, but I like their depth. Offensivly, they probably are the deepest team in the NL West.

PITCHING: The addition of Morris will help out. He has had a tough spring so far, but he will be alright once the bell rings. Matt Cain should be a good bet for 200 innings and 13-15 wins if he stays healthy in his first full season. The pen is overall better than what started the season last year, but the team still lacks a true set-up man, and the Giants have yet to see the Armondo Benitez they thought they where getting when they signed him last winter.

2. Los Angelos Dodgers
SS Rafeal Furcal
CF Kenny Lofton
RF J.D. Drew
2B Jeff Kent
1B Nomar Garciapara
3B Bill Mueller
LF Jose Cruz Jr.
C Dioner Navarro

RHP Brad Penny
RHP Derek Lowe
LHP Odalis Perez
RHP Brett Tomko
RHP Jae Seo

Key Relivers:
CL: Eric Gagne
RHP Dannys Baez
RHP Yhency Brazoban

OFFENSE: I like the Dodgers top 5 if healthy, but all five of thoe players either are nursing injuries to start the season, or have a horendous past of injury problems. Kent is nursing a bad wrist, Furcal is hurting, we all know the story on Nomar and Drew has played only 1 full season in his big league career. If the Dodgers can keep their top 5 healthy, it should make up for a sketchy bottom 1/3 of the order.

PITCHING: The Dodgers lack a true ace, and their top 3 aren't very impressive. Derek Lowe is a career .500 pitcher with one great season. Perez and Penny are ok when they are healthy and on, but Penny is injured a lot and Perez is very inconsistant. Their bullpen is undoubtedly the best in the west, and if they make the playoffs, it will be on the shoulders of Gagne and Baez.

3. San Diego Padres
LF Dave Roberts
CF Mike Cameron
RF Brian Giles
C Mike Piazza
1B Ryan Klesko
3B Vinny Castilla
SS Kahlil Greene
2B Josh Barfield

RHP Jake Peavey
LHP Shawn Estes
RHP Chris Young
RHP Chan Ho Park
RHP Dewon Brazelton

Key Relivers:
CL: Trevor Hoffman
RHP Scott Linebrink
RHP Clay Hensley

OFFENSE: The Pads made some changes to their offense this season with the additions of Piazza and Cameron. I don't think either will do too much in that park and they are counting on big things from those 2 guys. Piazza is slated to cleanup and Cameron will likely hit second. The Pads offense isn't going to be as strong as last years.

PITCHING: San Diego overhauled their whole staff. Gone are key starters Adam Eaton and Brian Lawrence as well as relievers Akinori Otsuka and Rudy Seanez. I Think the Padres are by far the least improved team in the division. What are they expecting to accomplish with Shawn Estes slated as their number 2 starter?

4. Arizona Diamondbacks
SS Craig Counsel
2B Orlando Hudson
3B Chad Tracey
LF Louis Gonzalez
RF Shawn Green
1B Conor Jackson/Tony Clark
C Johnny Estrada
CF Eric Byrnes

RHP Brandon Webb
RHP Orlando Hernandez
RHP Russ Ortiz
RHP Miguel Bautista
RHP Claudio Vargas

Key Relievers:
CL: Jose Valverde
RHP Luis Vizcaino
RHP Brandon Lyon

OFFENSE: The D-Backs traded away Troy Glaus and his 35+ home runs to get younger and more athletic. I like Connor Jackson, Chad Tracy and Orlando Hudson, but the rest of the lineup is getting old or is just not that good.

PITCHING: The D-Backs added Bautista and Hernandez, but lost Javy Vazquez. Brandon Webb is a stud, but the rest of the staff is anyones guess. Russ Ortiz had his worst season of his career last year, and their is no telling how much El Duque will be able to contribute. Their bullpen has some young power arms that could be dangerous if they control the ball. Miguel Bautista could always rejoin the pen if need be.

5. Colorodo Rockies
SS Clint Barmes
CF Corey Sullivan
1B Todd Helton
LF Matt Holliday
3B Garrett Atkins
RF Brad Hawpe
2B Luis Gonzalez
C Danny Ardoin

RHP Jason Jennings
RHP Aaron Cook
LHP Jeff Francis
RHP Zach Day
RHP Josh Fogg

Key Relievers:
CL: Bryan Fuentes
RHP Mike DeJean
LHP Ray King

OFFENSE: The Rockies have a lot of new starters and youngsters in their lineup. They still will be dangerous at their home in Denver, but when they get on the road, they become a below average offense and a really bad team. Barmes, Sullivan, Atkins and Holliday are all young up-and-coming players, maybe this will be the nucleus in Colorodo that finely gets the Rockies out of the cellar, but it won't be this season.

PITCHING: The Rockies have some very good arms on their staff. I've always liked Jennings and Francis, but no pitcher has ever figured out how to be a dominant ace at Coors Field. I think this is actually their deepest pitching staff they've had in years. They now have a true closer and a few good set-up guys.

The Giants Baseball Blog


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