2013 Season Preview: National League West

  • David Whitlock
The National League West consists of the reigning World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Defeating the Detroit Tigers in a 4-game sweep, the Giants are riding momentum going into the 2013 season. This division is not an easy division for the Giants to make a run at another title, however. With the Los Angeles Dodgers big off-season acquisition of Zack Greinke for a 6yr./$147M contract, this team surely has the pieces to make a noise in the National League. The  Arizona Diamondbacks did make a splash during the off-season, as they acquired free agent OF Cody Ross, who had a stellar year for his 2012 club, the Boston Red Sox. The Colorado Rockies always seem to have a rocky year, some years they surprise and contend, others they are on the bottom of the division. With a young bunch of talent, can the Rockies somehow contend in this tough division? The San Diego Padres also have a bunch of young guns coming up from their farm system, but with only a mediocre lineup, it does not look like they can contend in the NL West. Will they surprise us all? Or will the Giants repeat as division champs? Here are my predictions and analysts of the NL West.
First Place: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers did fall just short of a postseason appearance in 2012, but it looks like they may have moved on from 2012. The Dodgers have had an off-season to remember, signing key free-agent SP Zack Greinke to a 6yr./$147M contract. This is just the beginning to a dominant looking roster. The Dodgers roster also consists of OF Carl Crawford, OF Matt Kemp, SP Clayton Kershaw, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, and SS Hanley Ramirez. These stellar additions to this club clearly makes them legitimate World Series contenders. There’s not much to say about this franchise, all except that co-owner Magic Johnson has brought some real magic to a club that once was one of the most disappointing teams in the MLB. The Los Angeles Dodgers are now serious contenders in the National League.
Projected Lineup
  1. Mark Ellis (2B)
  2. Carl Crawford (LF)
  3. Matt Kemp (CF)
  4. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  5. Hanley Ramirez (SS)
  6. Andre Either (RF)
  7. Luis Cruz (3B)
  8. A.J Ellis (C)
Projected Rotation
  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Zack Greinke
  3. Josh Beckett
  4. Hyun-Jim-Ryu
  5. Chad Billingsley
Second Place: San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are still a force to be reckoned with in the NL West, but with the Dodgers roster looking better than ever, I just don’t see the Giants claiming the division. They will indeed give the Dodgers a run for their money with reigning NL MVP C Buster Posey leading the charge. Also, the Giants have one of the strongest pitching rotations in baseball, notably consisting of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and recently new hair cut of Tim Lincecum. Yes, Big Time Timmy Jim’s crazy hair is now cleanly shaved. Maybe this will help him improve, coming off of a career worst year. Lincecum only managed to accomplish a 10-15 record, while posting a terrible 5.18 ERA. A new look for Lincecum couldn’t have came at a better time. As for the Giants off-season, their only notable acquisition was the re-signing of 2B Marco Scutaro. They did, in fact, have a few notable players hit free agency and are yet to return if ever. These notables are CP Brian Wilson and OF Melky Cabera. Yes, neither played a role in the playoffs or in the World Series, but these guys are still solid attributes to your franchise. Losing these key players could be pitiful to the Giants.
Projected Lineup
  1. Angel Pagan (CF)
  2. Marco Scutaro (2B)
  3. Pablo Sandoval (3B)
  4. Buster Posey (C)
  5. Hunter Pence (RF)
  6. Brandon Belt (1B)
  7. Brandon Crawford (SS)
  8. Gregor Blanco (LF)
Projected Rotation
  1. Matt Cain
  2. Madison Bumgarner
  3. Tim Lincecum
  4. Ryan Vogelsong
  5. Barry Zito
Third Place: Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies had a 2012 season to forget. They only managed to tally up 64 victories. This franchise obviously is in the re-building process, I hope. The Rockies do have a young nucleus of talent, slowly making progress to be a success in the bigs. Colorado does have some above average bats in their lineup, with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez the most notables. This team was sure hit with injuries in the 2012 season, but I do believe when healthy, the Rockies are a decent team. Once they actually can produce quality starting pitching, then they will be able to contend in the NL West. For now, I see them sneaking one spot up ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the standings, and producing 75-80 wins. They will continue to improve.
Projected Lineup
  1. Dexter Fowler (CF)
  2. Josh Rutledge (2B)
  3. Carlos Gonzalez (LF)
  4. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
  5. Todd Helton (1B)
  6. Michael Cuddyer (RF)
  7. Wilin Rosario (C)
  8. Chris Nelson (3B)
Projected Rotation
  1. Jorge De La Rosa
  2. Jhoulys Chacin
  3. Drew Pomeranz
  4. Juan Nicasio
  5. Jeff Francis
Fourth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks
I know what you’re thinking. How can the Diamondbacks contend without star OF Justin Upton? The answer? They won’t. This team honestly just doesn’t jump out to me. Although they did trade Justin Upton, they managed to acquire 3B Martin Prado in the deal. They also acquired RF Cody Ross, SS Cliff Pennington, and SP Brandon McCarthy during the off-season. With McCarthy facing a near death experience last season, there are some talks that he’ll never be the same again. I don’t think anyone that gets hit by a line drive up the middle to the noggin is ever the same. McCarthy’s story is touching to the heart, but once he goes back on that mound in front of thousands of fans, we will see then if he can touch Arizona Diamondbacks’ fans hearts by dominating opposing teams. Coming off a 81-81 record in 2012, the Diamondbacks have the pieces to do some damage, but after losing a star bat in Justin Upton, I can’t see them contending for anything in the upcoming season. I sure hope that they can prove me wrong, as they will be hearing a lot of critics trash talking their judgment to trade Justin Upton.
Projected Lineup
  1. Adam Eaton (CF)
  2. Aaron Hill (2B)
  3. Miguel Montero (C)
  4. Jason Kubel (LF)
  5. Martin Prado (3B)
  6. Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
  7. Cody Ross (RF)
  8. Cliff Pennington (SS)
Projected Rotation
  1. Ian Kennedy
  2. Brandon McCarthy
  3. Trevor Cahill
  4. Wade Miley
  5. Patrick Corbin
Fifth Place: San Diego Padres
The Padres are looking better than ever and I see them being serious contenders in the NL West. That was a dream I had the other night, and I know it will not become reality. The San Diego Padres have been in the re-building process ever since trading star 1B Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox in the off-season of 2010. One of the many problems that this franchise is facing is that their starting pitching is a mess. Right now, their projected ace is expected to be the very walk prone Edinson Volquez. Their second starting pitcher is expected to be a extremely hittable Clayton Richard. They made no attempt in the off-season to fix this problem. They actually made no attempt to fix any problems. The never pursued a key free agent, or even a decent bat or pitcher. This team should have been at least meeting with free agents or even making an attempt at a signing. None of these things happened, and this is why the San Diego Padres will be at the bottom of trenches in the NL West. Look for the Padres to contend for something, though. The worst team in baseball.
Projected Lineup
  1. Everth Cabrera (SS)
  2. Logan Forsythe (2B)
  3. Chase Headley (3B)
  4. Carlos Quentin (LF)
  5. Yonder Alonso (1B)
  6. Will Venable (RF)
  7. Cameron Maybin (CF)
  8. Nick Hundley (C)
Projected Rotation
  1. Edinson Volquez
  2. Clayton Richard
  3. Jason Marquis
  4. Eric Stults
  5. Freddy Garcia
Credit to RotoChamp.com and MLB.com for assistance in projecting lineups.
Credit to SportsLogos.net (team logo images)
Gavin Tremblay is an author at Reading Between the Seams. He is a life-long Red Sox fan, residing in Massachusetts, where he is currently studying culinary arts. For more stories like this, you can visit his personal blog at gmbsports.com and follow him on Twitter at @Gavinator790

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About The Author

David Whitlock

David Whitlock - manager

David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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