If the Diamondbacks are going to come back this season and beat the Dodgers for the division then they are going to have to cut out the strikeouts. Their young hitters strike out way too much. They fanned 1287 times last year. Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Mark Reynolds and particularly Justin Upton all have future stars written on their young faces but they need to learn how to hit with runners in scoring position. A lot of teams are envious of the Diamondbacks young talent and it's now their turn to come together and compete.
The pitching features two of the best starters in the game in Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. Both are capable of having Cy Young type seasons and new addition Jon Garland should eat up at least 200 innings. The bullpen will be improved and it should be able to lock up wins for the starters. The season will essentially come down to the young hitters. If they mature and learn how to hit in certain situations this team could win it all. If they don't then this team will miss the playoffs again.
The Rockies fairy tale 2007 season seems like decades ago. Last year the Rockies season was all but over as soon as Troy Tulowitzki went on the disabled list. They traded their best hitter in Matt Holliday this offseason after it became apparent he wouldn't resign and would elect to become a free agent. The Rockies got some good young pitchers in the deal but they lost their Rock in Holliday. Todd Helton is still getting overpaid to produce jack shit and their overall lineup is nothing to be feared outside of Tulowitzki, Helton, Garrett Atkins, and Brad Hawpe.
Look out for Milton High School alum Dexter Fowler. The lanky centerfielder from my old stomping grounds could crack the big league team by midseason if not earlier. He did really well during the Olympics and could be the leadoff hitter of the future in Denver. The Rockies should struggle this season as the Giants, Dodgers, and D-backs are all better on paper. But then again they could catch a fairy tale ride like 2007 and go to the World Series and get swept. Chances are 1 in a million.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Manny...blah blah...Manny being Manny...blah blah. It's going to be the same old shit this year in LA. What is Manny doing? Why does he seem like he doesn't care? Why won't Joe Torre bench him? Blah blah. Listen, the guy is a fucking Hall of Famer who might be the best right handed hitter in the game outside of Albert Pujols. He is loaded beyond our wildest imaginations and could give two shits what I, you, or even his booger flicking manager thinks. Why? Because he is fucking Manny Ramirez and all he does is hit for extra bases and drive in runs. Let him do his thing and worry about the rest of your team. The Dodgers are a really good team with him in the lineup. The addition of Orlando Hudson is huge for the real LA team. Hudson will hit behind Rafael Furcal and should score a ton of runs and see a lot of good pitches to hit with Manny protecting him. The lineup should be excellent from top to bottom. James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier are all young and up and comers who should continue to get better in 2009.
the pitching on the other hand has a ton of question marks. They lost ace Derek Lowe to free agency and most of it's bullpen. They are banking on Clayton Kershaw, who is only 21, to emerge and become a fixture in the rotation. It could get ugly if Kershaw can't throw strike one consistently. Hiroki Kuroda is the de facto ace of the staff with Chad Billingsley coming off an impressive 2008 season which could have been a fluke. New addition Randy Wolf could surprise. The hitting will carry the Dodgers this year. I'm just not so sure it can carry them to the playoffs.
San Diego Padres:
The Padres are a franchise running backwards right now. They don't have much talent and what little of it they have should be traded for younger players to build up the farm system. The only problem is nobody was willing to give the world for Jake Peavy during the offseason. Most of that is due to the economy. Adrian Gonzalez should again crush the ball in Petco Park but other than him and Peavy this team doesn't have much.
They will struggle again in 2009 and the only thing they will contend for is the #1 pick in the draft.
San Francisco Giants:
The Giants could be the ultimate sleeper pick coming out of the NL West. They got a potentially devastating starting rotation if Barry Zito bounces back from his all-around shittiness. Tim Lincecum is straight filthy and Matt Cain pitched better than his record indicated. Randy Johnson could stay healthy and be a solid 2 or 3 in the rotation.
The hitting is nothing to get excited about but it does have some speed on it. Randy Winn, Fred Lewis, and Emmanuel Burriss all have the ability to steal a lot of bases and give pitchers and catchers headaches. Edgar Renteria will need to regain his National League form this year as he is put in the 2 spot.
The Giants will go as far as their starting pitching takes them. If they come together they could shock the world.
Sportscrack NL Central predictions:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
MVP: Manny Ramirez
Rookie of the Year: Dexter Fowler
Coach of the Year: Bob Melvin
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Let this tryout practice video for the New England Euphoria of the Lingerie Football League be a lesson to all those who doubted my fair balanced view on gender in sports. Women should be playing sports...in nothing but lingerie. Case closed.
Video HT: FanIQ
Posted by Matt Fairchild (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 12:18 AM