2009 NL West Preview
The National League West will be won by one of three teams—Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks or the Colorado Rockies. The Wild Card will not come out of this division. Like it's regional counterpart in the American League, it is the weakest division in the National League.
The Dodgers have one of the best managers in baseball with Joe Torre at the helm. This is a club that seems to be competitive season after season. The club has lost starting pitching and important hitting but in a division as spotty as the NL West, they still look pretty strong. They will miss the bat of last year's mid-season add-on Manny Ramirez. The pitching will need to be durable and consistent for this team to succeed.
The Diamondbacks will battle it out for the top spot in the NL West. GM Josh Byrnes and manager Bob Melvin will both keep this club in the game. Starters Webb and Haren are quality hurlers and the bullpen is decent. There's potential in the hitting department. Remember, they were in it to the bitter end last season, finishing just two games out of the money. This could be a money-year for Arizona.
Two seasons ago, the Colorado Rockies surprised everyone by getting into the playoffs and taking the NL crown. Last season, the club suffered through numerous injuries and didn't make a post-season appearance. This year manager Clint Hurdle, who works well with his players and management, has some newly added coaching support. The rotation is decent and the batting will be good. But the bullpen is weak and it's hard to believe that this team won't miss the offensive output of rocket-hitting Holliday.
The San Francisco Giants
have not been to the playoffs in a half-dozen years plus one.
New managing partner Bill Neukom, who's the former Microsoft lead counsel, is looking for results. There's a bunch of young, talented everyday players on board who will need to develop for this club to get back to the playoffs. A veteran offensive star would be a much-heralded addition.
If you're looking for the San Diego Padres to do something this season, then you'd better pray hard and often. This team is so young that it's roster looks more like something you'd see at the AAA level rather than in the Majors. If they can win a few more games than the 63 they put in the “W” column last season that will be a start.
Most prognosticators are picking the Los Angeles Dodgers to once again rule the West. But the fact is that the Dodgers aren't as good as they were last season and the Arizona Diamondbacks are. The Diamondbacks can spoil the 2009 season for LA. The Rockies would have a shot if they still had master-hitter Holliday.
2009 National League West Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.