N.L. West 2016 Prediction

Posted: March 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

First:  Arizona.

Pitching:  Signing Zach Greinke makes all the difference.  Sure, the money is insane, unwarranted and reeking of bad counsel, but Mr. Greinke can pitch.  By the way, so can Shelby Miller and Pat Corbin.  Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa complete an impressive starting five.  Brad Ziegler, a stiff desert wind would send Mr. Ziegler a good ten feet in the opposite direction, is a fine closer who is looking for more save opportunities.  And he will receive his wish.  Tyler Clippard is another quality addition to the pitching staff.  Leading to his eighth inning appearances will be Randall Delgado.  Daniel Hudson, the promising Silvino Bracho and Josh Collmenter form a group of relievers as solid as the starters.

Offense:  Perhaps greater America will hear of Paul Goldschmidt in 2016.  A marvelous ball player.  Across the diamond is Jake Lamb who is poised for a break out 2016.  Get those at bats, Mr. Lamb.  Acquiring Jean Segura from Milwaukee was well done.  Chris Owings can field, though he cannot hit.  In the outfield, we find lots of youngsters.  A.J. Pollock roams center and can hit.  David Peralta in right has as much potential as Mr. Pollock.  Yasmany Tomas likely plays left.  Behind the plate is Wellington Castillo who will be subbed by Tuffy Gosewisch.  Undoubtedly, the catching combo with the coolest names in all of MLB.

Players in the system who could help:  Brandon Drury (3b), Zach Borenstein (lf) and Socrates Brito (rf and assuming he does not make the Snakes out of spring training).  Pitching help is a couple of years away.  Thus, those signings.

Second:  San Francisco.

Pitching:  Almost as impressive as the Snakes, but not quite.  Next to Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner is the best starter in the West.  Without him, the Giants are a third place team.  Johnny Cueto is usually a #1 starter, but not with the Giants which is a great reality for the Giants.  Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy and Chris Heston complete a solid staff.  Matt Cain is the odd starter out.  The bullpen shines with Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez (getting better with age), George Kontos, Hunter Strickland and Josh Osich.  This bullpen is the best in the West.

Offense:  More punch than most realize.  Granted, the outfield is not stocked with 35/90 guys, but Angel Pagan, Denard Span and Hunter Pence form a defensive gem of an outfield.  If any of the three slip, Gregor Blanco is looking for a chance.  The punch lies with the infielders.  Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt offer long ball results.  Buster Posey is the final part of the Giants punch.  Joe Panik had an impressive last year.  Kelly Tomlinson, much as Gregor Blanco, is looking for at bats.

Players in the system who can help:  Jarrett Parker (lf and assuming he does not make the team at the end of spring training) and Michael Broadway (relief).

Third:  Los Angeles.  A note about this franchise.  The owners are bastards.  Why am I denied the third consecutive year the opportunity to enjoy Vin Scully broadcasting tv games?  Dodger owners are greedy sons of bitches.  I hope all of you are plagued by flat tires, disappointing dental news and and hair loss.

Pitching:  Clayton Kershaw begins and ends the conversation about L.A.’s starting pitching.  Scott Kazmir as the #2 guy is indicative of a team bound for a disappointing season.  Brett Anderson is injured.  Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn’t pitched in a long time.  Alex Wood must step into his potential.  Mike Bolsinger makes the fifth guy.  Thankfully, the bullpen is full of talent.  Kenley Jansen had a marvelous 2015.  Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Pedro Baez and Luis Avilan will receive many a call in 2016.

Offense:  The outfield is loaded with whiners and loafers.  Andre Ethier will bitch and  moan about playing time.  Carl Crawford will sulk upon inevitable injury (remember how good he was in Tampa?).  Yasiel Puig is elsehwere bound by 7/31/16.  I don’t care how good a year he has up to that date.  Most of his teammates despise him.  Think Ted Cruz at a republican softball game.  Joc Pederson is a candidate for return to AAA if he does not lose the long ball addiction at the cost of his overall offensive peformance.  Scott Van Slyke  is the most productive outfielder, but he hardly plays.  Adrian Gonzalez has another stellar year.  The Dodgers were fortunate to lure Howie Kendrick for a return year.  Justin Turner earned a well deserved start at third base this year.  Corey Seager must endure an entire season of N.L. pitching, then I will believe the mavens praise.  Enrique Hernandez is a brewing talent.  Chase Utley will practice sliding.

Players in the system who can help:  Lots of talent at the A+ level entering AA in 2016.  However the distance from AA to MLB is considerable.  Austin Barnes (c), Jharel Cotton (starting pitching), Julio Urias (starting pitching) and Juan Gonzalez (relief).

Fourth:  San Diego.  A distant fourth.

Pitching:  Tyson Ross and James Shields make for a nice one-two, but then not much follows.  I’m out of patience with Andrew Cashner.  Drew Pomeranz should leave the ‘pen and join the starters.  Colin Rea and Brandon Maurer (survivor of a Seattle Mariners upbringing) have potential, but need time to develop.  The bullpen is awful.  Once a Padres specialty, now a grimace.  Kevin Quackenbush was the only consistent reliever in 2015 who returns in 2016.  Nick Vincent was inconsistent.  Signing Fernando Rodney is the equivalent of announcing “I got nothing!” in the ninth inning.  Give Michael Dimock and Jay Jackson a chance.  The result could be no worse than Crooked Hat entering the game.

Offense:  If Jon Jay returns to form, if Melvin “Don’t Call Me B.J” Upton has an obp above .325 and if Wil Myers is healthy and becomes a decent first baseman, maybe Pads fans have reason to cheer.  If not, this team is a day at the beach without sun block.  Matt Kemp is probably trade bait come late July.  Same with Derek Norris.  However, with Christian Bethancourt and Austin Hedges waiting in the wings (both have tremendous arms and toss rates), any Norris deal is good for the future.  Yangervis Solarte had a respectable 2015 at third base.  Alexei Ramirez will weigh his standard less than 160 pounds by the end of August and flutter into the San Diego Bay.  Second base belongs to Cory Spangenberg for good or bad.

Players in the system who can help:  The aforementioned closing duo of Michael Dimock and Jay Jackson, Rocky Gale (c.  In case the Padres want another cannon behind the plate), Hector Gomez (ss), Alex Dickerson (lf) and Travis Jankowski (cf).  Candidly, the last two mentioned probably become starters in the outfield on 8/1/16.

Fifth:  Colorado.

Pitching:  Jorge De La Rosa is the Rockies #1 guy.  No offense to Mr. De La Rosa, but he’s a four or five guy on most other teams.  The interchangeable and ineffective group of Chad Bettis, Jordan Lyles, Tyler Chatwood, Chris Rusin and David Hale follow.  Shuffle and deal.  The order does not matter.  The bullpen does have some strength.  Jake McGee or Jairo Diaz should close and/or pitch the eighth.  Jason Motte, Chad Qualls and Justin Miller are respectable.

Offense:  At least the Rockies can hit.  Nolan Arenado and DJ LaMahieu are a great two to build an offense around.  Carlos Gonzalez still plows a long ball.  Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra are the next best in the line up.  Ben Paulson and Mark Reynolds share first base.  Maybe they combine for 35 dingers.  Jose Reyes needs to take care of his non-baseball issue.  Nick Hundley actually had a productive offensive year in 2015.  Who knew?

Players in the  system who can help:  Christian Adames (ss.  Assuming he is sent to AAA when spring training ends) and Carlos Estevez (relief).  The Rockies have talent that is years away.  Most of their better prospects were in A+ and A ball during 2015.

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