2010 NL West Preview
Of the five teams in the National League West, four have made it to the post season in the past five years. This is a highly volatile division that saw the Padres dominate midway through the decade; then the Diamondbacks stepped up. After the Backs, the Rockies and Dodgers excelled. And now even the Giants are starting to show signs of possible post-season life.
This season looks to be a race between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies have a whole lot of hitting, a sound pitching staff and the solid guidance of manager N.L. Manager of the Year Jim Tracy. Last season all five starters won 10 or more games each. Closer Huston Street is still a quality hurler. Their defense is also excellent. If anyone can take it to the team that’s formerly from Brooklyn, it’s the Rockies.
The Dodgers are no slouches. They have some of the best hitters around. But the pitching staff is questionable and fairly thin. They do possess two premium closers. Joe Torre is one of the best skippers in the game and can make something out of very little. Along with the thin starting rotation, Los Angeles does have other problems. Manny Ramirez is starting to show signs of tailing off and Frank and Jamie McCourt, the owners, are getting divorced. Actually, a court is now determining exactly who does own the team. Divorce is what started the decline of the San Diego franchise. A massive monetary hit from a marriage breakup could prove to be extremely detrimental.
The San Francisco Giants have two of the best arms in the game in Lincecum and Cain and a great supporting cast of hurlers. Closer Brian Wilson is effective but at times he can beat himself. But the bats, as they were last season, are lacking. This could be a very frustrating season for a team that could be the best in the West but for the lack of two more truly productive hitters.
The fourth-place team will most likely be the Arizona Diamondbacks. If Arizona expects to do anything this season, the club really needs ace Brandon Webb to be healthy. Last season, he was out after game one. When he’s not ailing, Webb has averaged almost 18 wins a season. There are a few good bats on this team. They could make some noise in 2010.
The San Diego Padres are a team that desperately needs just about everything. Their defense is lacking and they are thin on starting pitching. Finally, the run production is not there. Starter Chris Young has under performed. The best part of the pitching staff is closer Heath Bell. But how many games will he have a chance to save this season?
This National League West should be a tight division with the
Rockies taking the top spot. Still, you should never rule out
the Torre-managed Dodgers and if San Francisco can find some semblance
of an offense, they will stay in the fight. After all, they stuck
around pretty long last season.
2010 National League West Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
1) Colorado Rockies
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3) San Francisco Giants
4) Arizona Diamondbacks
5) San Diego Padres