Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 National League West Preview

***The Division Preview that follows is not betting advice in any way shape or form.  Please do not bet any money based in any part on these predictions.***

Don't forget to check out the National League East and National League Central previews and check back next week for the American League East.

San Francisco Giants
Who's New: 
Carlos Triunfel, SS (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Casey McGehee, 3B (Trade from Marlins)
Ronny Cedeno, IF (Free Agent from Diamondbacks)
Justin Maxwell, OF (Free Agent from Royals)
Nori Aoki, OF (Free Agent from Royals)
Curtis Partch, RP (Free Agent from Reds)
Robert Coello, RP (Free Agent from Orioles)
Who Left:  
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (Free Agent to Red Sox)
Michael Morse, 1B (Free Agent to Marlins)
Nick Noonan, IF (Free Agent to Yankees)
Tony Abreu, IF (Unsigned Free Agent)
Dan Uggla, 2B (Free Agent to Nationals)
Marco Scutaro, IF (Unsigned Free Agent)
Tyler Colvin, OF (Free Agent to Marlins)
Chris Dominguez, OF (Free Agent to Reds)
Mike Kickham, RP (Free Agent to Cubs)
Mitchell Boggs, RP (Free Agent to Red Sox)
Winter Headlines:  
Boche's genius, MadBum's arm do it again.
What to Expect?:
With Matt Cain coming back and Madison Bumgarner becoming the ace of the staff, the Giants should have even more pitching strength.  Losing the power of Sandoval's bat could slow the offense but the pitching and solid defense should keep the opposition's run production low and keep the team in a lot of close games.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
As a Phillies and Dodgers fan, having seen this team win three titles this decade it pains me to have to find a reason to root for the hated ones.  Still,  this organization is in the middle of a winning era that has not been seen since Bill Terry-Mel Ott-Carl Hubbell days.  In fact this group is probably even more successful than the Terry group and you would really need to go back to the McGraw-Mathewson days to find a Giants group this successful.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Giants Fans Want?:
The pitching depth past Cain-Bumgarner has some questions. It was great to see Jake Peavey win a title and Tim Lincecum still has flashes of greatness.  The problem is the inconsistency of those two.  What happens if they don't perform the way they did last year?
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
For the last few years the Giants have seen big power numbers from Pablo Sandoval at third base.  His replacement this year will be Casey McGehee.  Casey is a solid bat in the lineup but he is not going to replace the numbers that Sandoval had.
Expect Great Things From:
Speaking of the McGraw-Mathewson era, Buster Posey is the best Catcher this team has had since Chief Meyers or Roger Bresnahan in the 1900s and 1910s.  Posey is a special player and when all is said and done his name will be among the greatest for an organization that has some of the greatest of all time.
Is This His Last Chance?:
After winning the World Series it would be tough to put anyone in this category.  Winning solves a lot of problems and gets a lot of people off the hook.
Prediction:1st in NL West.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Who's New?:
Ryan Lavarnway, C (Waiver Claim from Red Sox)
Jimmy Rollins, SS (Trade from Phillies)
Howie Kendrick, 2B (Trade from Angels)
Enrique Hernandez, IF (Trade from Marlins)
Yasmani Grandal, C (Trade from Padres)
Lars Anderson, IF (Free Agent from Cubs)
Ali Solis, C (Free Agent from Rays)
Chris Heisey, OF (Trade from Reds)
Matt Carson, OF (Free Agent from Indians)
Mike Bolsinger, SP (Trade From Diamondbacks)
Juan Nicasio, SP (Trade from Rockies)
Brandon McCarthy, SP (Free Agent from Yankees)
Joe Wieland, SP (Trade from Padres)
Brett Anderson, SP (Free Agent from Rockies)
Sergio Santos, SP (Free Agent from Blue Jays)
Brandon Beachy, SP (Free Agent from Braves)
Dustin McGowan, SP (Free Agent from Blue Jays)
Erik Bedard, SP (Free Agent from Rays)
Joel Peralta,RP (Trade From Rays)
Chris Hatcher, RP (Trade from Marlins)
Ryan Buchter, RP (Free Agent from Braves)
Dustin Richardson, RP (Free Agent from Angels)
David Huff, RP (Free Agent from Yankees)
Jeremy Horst, RP (Free Agent from Phillies)
B.J. Rosenberg, RP (Free Agent from Phillies)
David Aardsma, RP (Free Agent from Cardinals)
Ben Rowen RP (Free Agent from Rangers)

Who Left?: 
Carlos Triunfel, SS (Free Agent to Giants)
Hanley Ramirez, SS (Free Agent to Red Sox)
Dee Gordon, SS (Trade to Marlins)
Drew Butera, C (Trade to Angels)
Miguel Rojas, IF (Trade to Dodogers)
Clint Robinson, 1B (Free Agent to Nationals)
Tim Federowicz, C (Trade to Padres)
Johnny Monell, C (Free Agent to Mets)
J.C. Boscan, C (Free Agent to Royals)
Alex Liddi, IF (Free Agent to Royals)
Chone Figgins, IF (Unsigned Free Agent)
Jamie Romak, OF (Free Agent to Diamondbacks)
Matt Kemp, OF (Trade to Padres)
Roger Bernadina, OF (Free Agent to Mets)
Mike Baxter, OF (Free Agent to Cubs)
Josh Beckett, SP (Retired)
Dan Haren, SP (Trade to Marlins)
Jamey Wright, SP (Free Agent to Rangers)
Paul Maholm, SP (Free Agent to Reds)
Chad Billingsley, SP (Free Agent to Phillies)
Jose Dominguez, RP (Trade to Rays)
Bruce Billings, RP (Free Agent to Nationals)
Justin Germano, RP (Free Agent to Mariners)
Jhan Marinez, RP (Free Agent to Rays)
Roberto Hernandez, RP (Free Agent to Astros)
Chris Perez, RP (Free Agent to Brewers)
Scott Elbert, RP (Free Agent to Padres)
Brian Wilson, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Steven Fife,RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Kevin Correia, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Winter Headlines: 
With no Kemp, Hanley or Gordon have the Dodgers just gotten old and slow?
What to Expect?:
As much as I hate to say it, Dodgers fans should expect a step back. The top three pitchers of Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu are still very strong but who is the vocal leader of this team?  Without Kemp to lead the team who will step up and get in the guys faces when it is needed?  Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw are great but neither give the impression of a fiery leader.  Jimmy Rollins was that guy in Philadelphia but that was an environment where he was the veteran of the organization and had the organizational reputation of the cornerstone of the franchise.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
As much as people love to hate the Dodgers because of the perceived "buying a pennant" attitude, the Dodgers have not won since Kirk Gibson shocked Eckersley in 1988.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Dodgers Fans Want?:
This team has an odd dynamic.  In losing Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez they have lost a big part of their identity.  They will need someone to step up and take the place of Kemp as the vocal leader.  Add to that the question of closer as Jansen is already dealing with injuries.   Although Dodgers fans are expecting a top of the division team they could be in for a sucker punch to the gut.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Jimmy Rollins is a Hall of Fame Shortstop an is without question the best Shortstop the Phillies ever had.  He was the leader of one of the most successful stretches in the team's history and will go down in history as one of the two greatest Phillies of all time.  Yet, at this point in his career he is on the down side.  You can expect him to be a fierce competitor and possibly even an All Star representative but don't expect him to be an MVP candidate.
Expect Great Things From:
This is a tough one to pick.  I could go with Adrian Gonzalez or Howie Kendrick or even Puig.  But of course the top pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw, will be the star of this team.  Even with all the offensive power, you can count on Kershaw to carry this team on his miracle arm.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Andre Ethier had tremendous potential when he came up to the Dodgers.  He was good looking.  Likable.  He arrived when the Dodgers were bringing up their young crop of talent.  For whatever reason he has not been able to reach his potential under Mattingly.  His name has constantly come up in trade rumors (even back to the deal that brought Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford.  With Kemp being shuffled off to San Diego, you would think that Ethier would get the start in center field but the Dodgers picked up Chris Heisey in the off season and are expecting Joc Pederson to start in Center field.  Ethier may start to get the hint that his days in LA are numbered.
Prediction:2ndin NL West (1st National League Wild Card)

San Diego Padres

Who's New:  
Clint Barmes, IF (Free Agent from Pirates)
Tim Federowicz, C (Trade from Dodgers)
Wil Middlebrooks, 3B (Trade from Red Sox)
Brett Wallace, IF (Free Agent from Blue Jays)
Wil Nieves, C (Free Agent from Phillies)
Ramiro Pena, IF (Free Agent from Braves)
Derrick Norris, C (Trade from Athletics)
Justin Upton, OF (Trade from Braves)
Matt Kemp, OF (Trade from  Dodgers)
Wil Myers, OF (Trade from Rays)
Brandon Morrow, SP (Free Agent from Blue Jays)
Joe Weiland, SP (Trade to Dodgers)
Brandon Maurer, SP (Trade from Mariners)
James Shields, SP (Free Agent fro Royals)
Shawn Kelley, RP (Trade from Yankees)
Zack Segovia, RP (Free Agent from Rangers)
Scott Elbert, RP (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Daniel McCutcheon, RP ( Free Agent from White Sox)
Marcos Mateo, RP  (Free Agent from Cubs)
Jose Valverde, RP (Free Agent from  Mets)
Who Left:
Chris Nelson, 3B (Free Agent to Phillies)
Adam Moore, C (Free Agent to Indians)
Yasmani Grandal, C (Trade to Dodgers)
Rene Rivera, C (Trade to Rays)
Ryan Hannigan, C (Trade to Red Sox)
Jace Peterson, IF (Trade to Braves)
Everth Cabrera, SS (Free Agent to Orioles)\
Tyler Greene, SS (Free Agent to Padres)
Brooks Conrad, 2B (Unisigned Free Agent)
Jeff Francouer, OF (Free Agent to Phillies)
Alex Castellanos, OF (Free Agent to Mets)
Seth Smith, OF (Trade to Mariners)
Jesse Hahn, SP (Trade to Athletics)
Eric Stults, SP (Free Agent to Braves)
Donn Roach, RP (Waiver Claim by Cubs)
Tim Stauffer, RP (Free Agent to Twins)
JOhnny Barbato, RP (Trade to Yankees)
Blaine Boyer, RP (Free Agent to Twins)
Troy Patton, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Hector Ambiz, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
What to Expect?:
The Padres were active this offseason.  Extremely active and added plenty of big names, taking one of the biggest from a division rival.   Padres fans should expect this team to compete but a World Series is too high of a goal.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Padres Fans Want?:
It is true the Padres added some very big names this offseason but if you look at where they were added fans may pause.  Matt Kemp (OF), Wil Meyers (OF), Justin Upton (OF).  That's great but the team already had expensive free agent Carlos Quentin, young and amazingly talented Cameron Maybin, Max Venable and Abraham Almonte in a a crowded  outfield.  So the outfield is strong.  Can any of them play third base or turn a double play?
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
James Shields earned his nickname "Big Game James" by winning in big situations for Tampa Bay and Kansas City.  Coming off the Royals' magical post season run, every team wanted Shields.  You can expect Shields to be a leader on this staff and to pitch with everything he has but expect results more like his first year in Kansas City than the results last year.
Expect Great Things From:
Matt Kemp is a 5-tool player.  Any success the Dodgers had over the last 10 years was directly tied to Kemp.  Unfortunately, quite a few of the disappointments were linked to him too.  He has had an up and down career as far as the public perception of his hustle, leadership and attitude.  He won't be chasing a triple crown like he did in 2011 but he will be a leader on this team.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Josh Johnson was once expected to be an ace in Miami and even when Mark Buerhle was brought on board the Marlins' sinking ship, Johnson some still considered the top guy.  A poor relationship with Ozzie Guillien led to his departure from Miami to Toronto for a failed season.  Injuries slowed him last year and will delay his participation this year.  Johnson may not have many opportunities left to regain his form.
Prediction: 3rd place in NL West. Second Wild Card

Arizona Diamondbacks:

Who's New: 
Matt Pagnozzi, C (Free Agent from Brewers)
Gerald Laird, C (Free Agent from Braves)
Nick Punto, IF (Free Agent from Athletics)
Nick Buss, OF (Free Agent from A's)
Jamie Romak, OF (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Yasmany Tomas, OF( Free Agent)
Danny Worth, IF (Free Agent from Tigers)
Jeremy Hellickson, SP (Trade from Rays)
Blake Bevan, SP (Free Agent from Mariners)
Robbie Ray, SP (Trade from Tigers)
Allan Webster, SP (Trade from Red Sox)
Ruby De La Rosa, SP (Trade from Red Sox)
Justin Marks, RP (Free Agent from Rangers)
Julio DePaula, RP (Free agent from Orioles)
J.C. Ramirez, RP (Free Agent from Indians)
Henry Alberto Rodriguez, RP (Free Agent from White Sox)
Who Left:  
Argenis Diaz, SS (Free Agent to Twins)
Didi Gregorious, SS (Trade to Yankees)
Miguel Monero C (Trade to Cubs)
Bobby Wilson, C (Free Agent to Rays)
Ronny Cedeno, IF (Free Agent to Giants)
Andy Marte, 3B (Unsigned Free Agent)
Xavier Paul, OF (Free Agent to Phillies)
Nolan Reimold, OF (Free Agent to Orioles)
Mike Bolsinger, SP (Trade to Dodgers)
Wade Miley, SP (Trade to Red Sox)
Clayton Richard, SP (Free Agent to Pirates)
Joe Paterson, RP (Free Agent to Royals)
Will Harris, RP (Waiver Claim by Astros)
Zeke Spruill, RPP (Trade to Red Sox)
Eury De La Rosa, RP (Trade to Athletics)
Jess Todd, RP (Free Agent to Red Sox)
J.J. Putz, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Lucas Harrell, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
What to Expect?:
Expectations coming into last season were gigantic.  The team had competed with the Dodgers in 2013 and had added Mark Trumbo. The results from the start were a disaster.  So after a successful season followed by a disaster where should expectations lie?  Considering Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are both out until midseason and they are working under a young an inexperienced manager, expectations should be low.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Diamondback Fans Want?:
The talent level on this team is low.  They have some truly All Star capable players in Yasmany Tomas, Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo but there are a lot of holes on this team starting with the pitching.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
With Tanaka in New York, Tony Abreu in Chicago and Puig in Los Angeles, the international market has given us some players who made immediate impacts in the league.  Diamondback fans are hoping Yasmany Tomas will have the same impact.  He will be a great player in this league but don't expect him to spark a playoff run in Arizona.
Expect Great Things From:
Paul Goldschmidt is now a two time All-Star.  A Gold Glove winner.  A Silver Slugger.  An MVP runner up. He has a ton of talent.  In fact, when all is said and done, he may be one of the best players the Diamondbacks organization ever produced.  Enjoy seeing him in an Arizona uniform for as long as possible.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Bronson Arroyo was a big free agent signing last year but it did not go well for him.  Injuries limited his time and results on the mound and he will begin the year out of action.  He has had a very successful career, winning a World Series with the Red Sox and helping the Reds return to a contending teams in the last decade.  Unfortunately, father time may have caught up with him.
Prediction: 4th in NL West

Colorado Rockies:
Who's New:  
Audry Perez, RP (Free Agent from Cardinals)
Daniel Descalso, 2B (Free Agent from Cardinals)
Omar Quintanila, SS (Free Agent from Mets)
Josh Vitters, IF (Free Agent fromCubs)
Nick Hundley, C (Free Agent from Orioles)
Roger Bernadina, OF (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Aaron Laffey, SP (Free Agent from Nationals)
John Lannan, SP  (Free Agent from Mets)
Kyle Kendrick, SP (Free Agent from Phillies)
David Hale, SP (Trade From Braves)
Justin Miller, RP (Free Agent from Tigers)
Brett Marsahll, RP (Free Agent from Reds)
Jose Ortega, RP (Free Agent from Tigers)
Jorge Rondon, RP (Waiver Claim from Cardinals)
Jairo Diaz, RP (Trade from Angels)
John Axford, RP (Free Agent from Brewers)
Buddy Boshers, RP (Free Agent From Angels)
Gus Schlosser, RP (Free Agent from Braves)

Who Left:  
Josh Rutledge, IF (Trade to Angels)
Michael Cuddyer, OF (Free Agent to Mets)
Jason Pridie, OF (Free Agent to Athetics)
Franklin Morales, OF (Free Agent to Royals)
Juan Nicasio, SP (Trade to Dodgers)
Pedro Hernandez, SP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Brett Anderson, SP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Nick Massett, SP (Free Agent to Marlins)
Rob Scahill, RP (Trade to Pirates)
Matt Belisle, RP (Free Agent to Cardinals)
Wilton Lopez, RP (Free Agent to Blue  Jays)
Greg Burke, RP (Free Agent to Blue Jays)
Chris Martin, RP (Trade to Yankees)
Josh Roenicke, RP (Free Agent to Brewers)
Winter Headlines:  
Tulo to the Mets?  Not yet.
What to Expect?:
Keep expectations low.  Terribly low.  This is not a good team and the problem is there is not much hope for the immediate future.  This team will likely fight with Philadelphia, Atlanta and Arizona for the bottom spot.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
There is talent on this team.  Tulowitzki, Cargo and Charlie Blackmon are among the top of that list. Unfortunately for those three there is little else around them.  If you like rooting for the Cinderella Story, this is where you would find it.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Rockies Fans Want?:
If we're being honest it won't. There is not enough talent on this team to compete with San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Charlie Blackmon was one of the stand out performers for the Rockies last year.  He is a potential All Star but with the state of the Rockies that also makes him a potential All Star for another team.
Expect Great Things From:
Troy Tulowitzki is probably this franchise's greatest player in their short history and only Todd Helton would make it close.  It would be silly for this team to trade him when they held on to Helton so long.  Tulo should retire as Mr. Rockies.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Carlos Gonzales had a great year in 2010 but his production since then has not matched the expectations.  His potent bat could make him trade bait and he may be gone by midseason.
Prediction:5th in NL West

*-Please be aware that these predictions are based on the rosters as set at the end of February.  There are still several key free agents unsigned which could alter these previews.  Also, injuries during spring training could alter my outlook.  Check back next week for the AL East Preview and continue following to see my final predictions at the start of the season. 

Since moving to the three division format, NL Central players have led the NL in RBI 7 times.  What players from the Central have led the NL in RBI?
Answer to Last Week's Question:
Adam Wainwright led the league in wins in both 2009 and 2013.  In 2006 six pitchers tied for the lead in wins with 16.  Among those were Aaron Harang of the Reds and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.  2004 was the last time a pitcher from the division led the league by themselves.  In that year Roy Oswalt of the Astros won 20 games.  


  1. I think Bruce Bochey is one of the best if not the best manager in the game today. They are a good team but not great. When I look at the talent on the Giants It is a surprise that they have won 3 WS in 5 years. A truly remarkable run in todays' competitive balance.
    I was also surprised at the turnover on the Dodgers. I look at the talent on this team and can't understand why they haven't won a WS. I can relate being a tiger fan. No WS win since 1984.
    San Diego is an up and coming team. Maybe not this year but maybe next year.
    Arizona will not be good. Wonder if they will trade Goldschmidt. Second best first baseman in baseball next to Miggy.Nick Punto has been playing forever. Good for him. One of my all time Reading Phillies.
    This is the year Tulo has to be play injury free. He could be a hall of fame candidate but if he gets injured again it will be counted against him. I agree on the Carlos Gonzales analysis. One of the most feared hitters, he is now an average player. Maybe it was the injuries last year.
    It seems as though teams that were at the bottom of the standings and knew that they couldn't compete in their division, they now see an opportunity that they can compete and are going all out. For example in the east Washington is spending as Atlanta and the Phils falter. In the west San Diego is going all out as SF and LA are sliding back. In the AL Central the White Sox are spending as the tigers slide back.
    Trivia is a tough question. Ryan Braun is one. Albert Pujols is two. Carlos Gomez is three. After that I have no idea.


  2. Of all the predictions, I really hope these don't come true and we can switch out your calls for the top spot. Preferably, switch number 2 for number 1. :D


Have questions about something in this or a former post? Have a suggestion for a future post? Want more information on a specific team, player, season or game? I welcome the feedback, so feel free to leave a comment in the box or email me at baseballeras (at) gmail (dot) com.