2012 Predictions: National League West
Kirk Gibson transformed the 2011 Diamondbacks into a division winning team, much to the surprise of many. It’s possible the talented trio of Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Daniel Hudson will be joined by would-be-rookie Trevor Bauer. Bauer, a college pitcher out of UCLA, was snapped up by the diamondbacks with the 3rd overall pick of the 2011 draft. Not only is he a Golden Spikes award winner, he has one of the greatest “long toss” warm-up routines in baseball. This is a team that has the talent to repeat their excellent 2011 and perhaps go a step further.
49 year old Jamie Moyer is back! Jim Tracy handed him a rotation spot after an impressive spring. He started the season in the number two slot behind the newly acquired ace Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie will try to fill the hole created after the Rox traded away no-longer-ace Ubaldo Jimenez. The rest of the rotation is filled out by young arms, the most notable of which is Juan Nicasio. Nicasio missed all of last year after taking an Ian Desmond line drive to the head, which caused a break in his C-1 vertebrate. Amazingly he has made a full recovery and should help Colorado significantly this year. Even with the tandem terrible of Tulo and Cargo, it’s a stretch to think they can make the play-offs.
There’s Magic in the Los Angeles air and the stars may yet line up for the Dodgers as they embark on a new era, under new owners in what is the 50th year of Dodger Stadium. The anniversary was marked by the playing of “Surfer Girl” before the National Anthem at Tuesday’s home opener. The Dodgers rotation, led by Cy young winner Clayton Kershaw, is about as deep as a Professor Splash landing pool and is the main reason the Dodgers won’t make the postseason. Offensively things are not much better although MVP runner up Matt Kemp and dynamic shortstop Dee Gordon will put on a show at times. Gordon has 5 stolen bases in the opening 6 games and is currently projected to have 135 by the end of the season. Fantasy owners take note.
The giant pandas in San Diego Zoo will see more action this year than fans will at Petco Park. However, new GM Josh Byrnes has already shown nous in the trade that sent ace Mat Latos to the Reds for Edinson Volquez and prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger. However, Bud Black needs those prospects to mature into star players in record time if his team are going to challenge for the pennant this year.
Bruce Bochy led a light hitting, pitching powered Giants team to the World Series title in 2010. The team this year isn’t much different, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey are the most potent bats in a lineup which added Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera in the offseason to ‘revamp the offense’. Seriously? Luckily, pitching wins Championships (or so the saying goes) and with Lincecum, Bumgarner and Cain, the Giants have rotation that can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the postseason.