Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

National League West Predictions

It’s about that time.  Division predictions time that is.  With pitchers and catchers reporting in about two and a half weeks, the baseball season is quickly approaching.  So with that in mind, I present you my division predictions.  My list is a top to bottom account of who I think will win, finish second, etc.

San Diego Padres - Call me biased or even crazy. Check me into a mental health ward if you have to. But, the San Diego Padres are my 2012 N.L. West Champions.Before you have Dr. Drew evaluate the kind of drugs I’m on, let me first explain to you why the Friars will win the division.

Everyone knows the foundation of a winning team begins at the top. General Manager Josh Byrnes has positioned the team to make a serious run for the division with a flurry of off-season moves that has brought outfielder Carlos Quentin, and a future star in Yonder Alonso for almost nothing. The acquisitions of Quentin and Alonso have dramatically beefed up a lineup that struggled last year. The growth of Cameron Maybin, Chase Headley and Will Venable should also make this a much improved lineup. The Friars’ starting rotation will be solid with Tim Stauffer, Edison Volquez, Corey Lubke and Clayton Richard.

The bullpen is the only question mark on this team but manager Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley can work through any issues the bullpen will have. The wealth of minor league talent and series of off-season moves will not only carry this team to a division title for this year but for many years to come.
Arizona Diamondbacks - If it wasn’t for the Padres being in the same division, the D-Backs would be my pick to win the N.L. West. The D-Backs have the best crop of starting pitchers in the division, which is led by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. General Manager Kevin Towers has added stud pitcher Trevor Cahill to an already potent rotation.

The lineup is just loaded from top to bottom. Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Stephen Drew are always providing stability to a lethal lineup. Off-season moves of acquiring Cahill, Brad Ziegler and Jason Kubel have added more fire power to an already deep roster. Manager of the year Kirk Gibson will have a fun time managing this roster.
San Francisco Giants- The Giants only have a strong starting rotation and that is basically it. I’m not too impressed with their entire roster. Their bullpen is average and there is really no serious threat in their lineup. As was the case in 2010, when they won the World Series, the Giants will only go as far as their starting pitching will take them. And their starting pitching is pretty damn good.

At the front of the rotation is Tim Lincecum , who is a Cy Young award winner. Then there is Matt Cain, who is always reliable. Cain could be a legitimate ace for another club. Madison Bumgarner is getting better with experience. Although General Manager Brian Sabean has traded for Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrea this lineup still has holes.  Nonetheless, I still wouldn’t count out manager Bruce Bochy and his Giants team to put up a fight.
Los Angeles Dodgers- I really hate the Dodgers. Knowing this, I really, really, tried my best to be as objective as possible. And my objectivity landed them in fourth place. Outside of Matt Kemp, Andre Either and Clayton Kershaw this Dodger team is really not all that good. The starting pitching is mediocre, the lineup is out of synch and the defense is average. The Dodgers really haven’t made any surprising off-season moves that convince me that the Dodgers are a contender. The biggest off-season story was who was going to buy the team?
Colorado Rockies- Surprisingly, I have the Rockies finishing in last place. Instead of adding to their team this off-season, the Rockies subtracted. They gave away closer Huston Street to the Padres for almost nothing. Rockies got rid of outfielder Seth Smith and third-baseman Ty Wigginton. Sure, they added catcher Ramon Hernandez and outfielder Michael Cuddyer, but that is not enough to carry this team to a division title.

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