N.L. West 2015 Preview (less the Padres and Dodgers who were previewed on my 3/3/15 post)

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

San Francisco

Ramble:  Panda leaves.  Mike Morse leaves.  The Giants did not have a lot of power, now they have substantially less.

Outfield:  If you cannot run, don’t play outfield for the Giants.  Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence (the most clumsy looking ball player in all of baseball) are wanna-be sprinters.  Gregor Blanco will push Aoki for the left field spot.  Juan Perez is the best outfield prospect in the Giants system and is looking to stick.

Infield:  Casey McGehee takes Sandoval’s spot.  Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik make a good middle.  Brandon Belt hopefully provides punch which the Giants desperately need.

Catching:  Buster Posey and Andrew Susac enjoy their position given who throws to them.

Starting Pitching:  Making a non-playoff case against the Giants is most difficult given Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum.  Is Ryan Vogelsong the odd man out?  Rich and deep.

Relief:  Santiago Casilla seems to be a foregone conclusion as the closer, but Sergio Romo might feel differently.  A nice problem to have.  Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez (another reason to be left-handed and stick around forever) are the solid old guys.  Hunter Strickland and George Kontos need to be as effective as Jean Machi.

AAA/AA Help:  I’m assuming Andrew Susac makes the team, but Trevor Brown (c) is just as good, Blake Miller (2b), Adam Duvall (3b), Matt Duffy (ss), Clayton Blackburn (starter) and Cody Hall (relief).

Prediction:  The Giants have anemic offense.  Regardless of their starting pitching, they slip to third in the West.

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Arizona

Ramble:  Less the Wade Miley trade for Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, a quiet winter.

Outfield:  Average to above average as the year progresses.  Candidly, Mark Trumbo in right may not be a good fit.  Left field is a better choice as time goes on.  A.J. Pollock in center and David Peralta in left join Trumbo in the “we can hit” march.  Ender Inciarte and Cody Ross get the late innings.

Infield:  Paul Goldschmidt has a banner year in ’15.  Aaron Hill plays another quality year of second base.  Chris Owings continues to improve at short.  Yasmany Tomas at third is a bit of a question.  Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed serve as capable back-up at third and short.  If either Tomas or Owings suffer a long spell of unproductive at bats, opportunity awaits for both Lamb and Ahmed.

Catching:  Tuffy Gosewisch has a cool name.  We will see if he can catch 130 games or so.  Oscar Hernandez (a better than 40% toss rate in the minors) probably backs him up.  If Oscar can hit a percent better than Tuffy, he starts.

Starting Pitching:  Josh Collmenter, Chase Anderson and Vidal Nuno are the first three.  Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Trevor Cahill battle for the last two spots.  If either De La Rosa or Webster win 12 to 14 games, then the Miley deal gets rave reviews.

Relief:  Addison Reed handles the ninth.  Brad Ziegler, Oliver Perez, Evan Marshall, Matt Stites, David Hernandez, Matt Reynolds and Robbie Ray are my arbitrary choices to form an average relief corps.

AA/AA Help:  Stevie Rodriguez (c), Brandon Drury (3b), Tom Belza (of) and Mike Freeman (of).  Pitching you say?  Not much is developed.  2104 minor league pitching received a D.  Closers received an F.  Ugly.

Prediction:  A distant fourth in the West.

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Colorado

Ramble:  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Outfield:  A dog fight between Carlos Gonzalez (a healthy 2015 would be swell), Corey Dickerson, Drew Stubbs and Charlie Blackmon.

Infield:  Justin Morneau and Nolan Arenado handle the corners and smash baseballs.  Troy Tulowitzki is hopeful for health.  DJ LeMahieu partners at second.  Rafael Ynoa can play (hit, especially).  Wilin Rosario needs at bats as well.

Catching:  Nick Hundley and Matt McKenry share the duties.  Hundley received a plethora of chance during his San Diego days to earn the tag of starting catcher, but could never quite hold the title.

Starting Pitching:  Jorge De La Rosa, Jordan Lyles (poster child for not rushing starting pitchers through the system.  Thank you, Houston), Kyle Kendrick, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Matzek.  This lot is thin.  Thin pitching at a high altitude is a season long disaster.

Relief:  The ageless LaTroy Hawkins is chosen by most as closer.  I move for John Axford to assume the title and return LaTroy to an earlier appearance.  As for the remainder of the corps, close your eyes and reach into the nearest hat.  I will go with Boone Logan, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers, Yohan Flande, Jorge Rondon, and Brooks Brown as the primary group.  Sadly, the Rockies groom relievers almost as badly as the Diamondbacks.  Almost.

AAA/AA Help: Cristhian Adames (ss) and Daniel Winkler (starter).

Prediction:  A good year would be to finish in front the Snakes.  We shall see.

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