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Monday, December 19, 2011

Final 2011 NL West Power Rankings

With the Giants staying quieter than a mouse on the player movement front, and nothing likely to be done before now and the first of the new year, I figured I'd do a "mid-offseason" version of the NL West Power Rankings and rank where each team is halfway through the winter. Remember, still a lot can change, but here's sort of the "State of the NL West Address" heading into 2k12:

1. Arizona Diamondbacks
: They were the best team at the end of the 2011 season and by more than many people, mostly Giants fans, wanted to believe. Not only that, but they're so young that they're only going to get better over the next few years. They added another potential ace in Trevor Cahill to go atop the rotation with Ian Kennedy (27) and Danny Hudson (24) along with the 23 year-old Cahill. Lost in the Cahill deal was their signing of gnarly set-up man Takashi Saito, who any right-hander in baseball will tell you they'd rather not face and is a nails set-up man for J.J. Putz. They have the young lineup with studs like Justin Upton (24), Stephen Drew (if he heals up) and Miguel Montero (28), that all they need is health and they're going to be extremely tough to beat. Now after typing this, I see they just grabbed Jason Kubel on a 2 year/$15M deal to split time in the corner outfield spots. They're really winning with all their moves. Average age of their starting lineup is 26, and these guys aren't raw, green player!

2. San Francisco Giants: Now, the Giants made their two big additions to their outfield, but they weren't exactly the type of additions that will swing the momentum of the offense on their own. They still need guys like Huff, Sanchez and Crawford to step it up big time and stay healthy. Also would be nice to see Brandon Belt finally start hitting in SF like he does in Frenso. Still though, this team has the best pitching in the division, even after AZ got Cahill, and with that bullpen and starting rotation, it's going to keep them in games no matter what. Still can't understand why they thought another bopper, like Carlos Beltran (still free), wouldn't have made enough of a difference! You put a motivated Beltran (who's never won a series), with a healthy Posey, Panda and the newly adds, and your starting to put together a versatile lineup, but they still need that big, 4th/5th place hitter. Until then, or AZ suffers a tough injury, they're 2nd in the West in my eye.

3. Colorado Rockies: Only reason I didn't put them ahead of the Giants is because their pitching is so suspect. I love their add of Michael Cuddyer and think he fits nicely in that yard. Also added Ramon Hernandez behind the plate and have an improving Dex Fowler in center, then of course TuLo and CarGo. Nice young makeup going on there. Pitching is still so raw though. Chacin is nails and reliable, but after that, it's boom-or-bust. Drew Pomeranz (center piece of Jimenez deal) should start in rotation and I think he'll be fine, but they need Esmil Rogers and Juan Nicasio to harness their great stuff!


4. LA Dodgers: Brings us to Los Angeles. They've been confusing me this winter. They gave Matt Kemp nearly $200 million, then went out and added a bunch of role-playing utility infielders. Don't get me wrong, Jerry Hairston's a nice player, but you have Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy, Dee Gordon and Mark Ellis all vying for starting jobs. Looks like the Dodgers may have one of hte lightest hitting infields in baseball if it lines up like I think it will. It's a shame too, cause they have Chad Billingsley, Clay Kershaw and Ted Lilly, all three above average starting pitchers. They should be inquiring about Carlos Quentin or some power-hitting corner outfielder cause they need power in here in the worst way. Another option could be signing a first basemen (Derek Lee, Carlos Pena) and moving Looney to left field. Right now though, LA is looking up at the rest of the divisions.

5. San Diego Padres:
Say what you want about their inability to keep stars like Adrian Gonzalez, that trade they just pulled off with Cincinnati has to have Friar Fans feeling chipper this holiday season. Not only did the Pads get a pitcher of similar value to Latos (maybe tougher to hit when both are on), they also got a corner 1B/OF'er of the future in Yonder Alonso, a guy who should be good for 25 homers a year even in the spacious PetCo. Park. The Padres have no power and they got a potential power guy in Alonso and he should be inserted right into first base or left field as long as it doesn't cost Jesus Guzman his starting spot (their best hitting in the 2nd half of '11). Overall, Padres have improved though, just still not enough to be players in an improving NL West.

Roster Notes: In "earth-shattering" news, the Giants signed Manny Burris and Eli Whiteside to minor league deals Monday... Hardly a surprise to anyone I'm sure. Glad both are back as likely AAA'ers and insurance policies, I just hope to heck Sabean isn't serious about Burris being the main utility infielder.
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6 Comments:

  • At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Desert StormAZ said…

    Love it, D-Bags have become the new top dogs in the West, been waiting for that since SD, then LA, then SF.

    D-Backs are just getting so good with the young guys and adding the right pieces. Wonder what they could have done with a healthy Drew last season? Prolly beat the Giants by August.

    Unless the Giants sign Beltran and maybe Carlos Pena, looks like another October at home G-fans!

     
  • At 12:23 AM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Hate to admit it,but the Snakes were better than the Giants last year, and they just have done more to improve themselves in the off season too. The Giants brass seems content to try and fill the ballpark with promotions and events than to seriously improve their chances of contending with an improved offense. Losing Neukom as the front man, may have been the biggest loss of last year. I still think that the Dodgers are better than fifth place, Trevor.

     
  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Hit-

    Yeah, your right, just reading it over and realize I should probably swap LA and SD. Changed that last night.

    As for AZ vs. SF, the Giants were the clear team to beat in the first half and were the better team, then AZ matured. Their pitchers and young hitters found their groove and they bypassed the Giants mid-season. I don't think anyone thought AZ was winning the West at the start of 2011.

    Anyway, yes they've also outperformed the Giants this offseason too, they are the top dogs right now for sure! I will post more about this but the Giants have lost a lot more than they've gained this winter and they seem content?

    On Neukom, he was just a face of this franchise, he was not the final decision maker and his loss shouldn't effect the way this team does business (team has tons of owners), but the lack of money they're spending this winter sure makes it seem that way doesn't it! And did seem to go smoother with him in the forefront, can't argue with you there.

     
  • At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The D-backs sign guys like Cahill and Kubel and the Giants sign their guys like Burris and Whiteside. Give me a break, quit crying poor you rich bastards!

    I agree with Hitnrun, this team has become cheapskates without bow tie running the show.

    Didn't we just win the WS last year? Shouldn't we have some money?

     
  • At 2:31 PM, Anonymous 2010-Once in a Lifetime said…

    I think if the Giants don't get Beltran, they're toast for 2012.

    What a waste of great pitching! Sending out guys like Schierholtz and Pagan as corner outfielders and Crawford and Sanchez up the middle! Pathetic:<

     
  • At 8:03 AM, Anonymous JonathanN said…

    I’ve learned a lot from your blog here! Keep on going, my friend, I will keep an eye on it.

     

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