San Francisco 98-64
Los Angeles 84-78
San Diego 71-91
-- The Rockies finished with the best record in the majors last season on their way to a World Series appearance. Not too far behind the Rox with an impressive finish was the City by the Bay who almost reached 100 wins as well. The third place Dodgers even had a season to be proud about, only missing the playoffs by two games. The Rockies and the Giants will be hard to catch though the Dodgers are slightly upgraded. The Pads are going to occupy the basement once again, there's just not enough offense there to play into spacious Petco. There may be two wildcard teams in this division, which should be won by the Rockies once again.
Last season the Rockies offense was the best in the league, this was no surprise given the way Coors Field plays. The real story in Colorado was a pitching staff that proved you can toe the rubber in the ultimate hitters park and still be successful. Last year usfbully said the Rox had four "potential #1 starters" and they proved him right. The four horsemen, Vazquez, Seneca, Solano and Ennis combined for 52 wins. Vazquez, Seneca and Ennis all posted sub 4 ERA's in 105 combined starts, an amazing feat at Coors Field. The same staff returns with the addition of two bright prospects, Shigetoshi Cheng and Michael Francouer, which only spells doom for the rest of the NL West.
Surprisingly there were no 50 homer performances despite the presence of some guys with considerable pop in their bat. All Star CF Moises Vicente had a stellar season, hitting .358 with 22HR and 81RBI and also nabbed 48 bases. Torey Marquez and Hughie Patterson were the 40 homer guys, with 48 and 44 homers apiece. The same lineup returns and more of the same is expected out of the Rox offense. The pitching staff is good enough to not need a lot of run support, but they will likely get it anyway.
Shortstop prospect Babe Farrell will likely move to third and will add yet another quality bat when he comes up full time. which should be no later than the start of S4. LF Niko Bittle may be the 50 home guys the Rox are missing and may see major time this season as he has already spent 6 seasons in the minors. Despite having the level of talent that they do in the majors already there are still a number of relievers in the Rox system with top potential.
P Clem Ennis
P Alfredo Vazquez
1B Sherman Serra
CF Moises Vicente
RF Hughie Patterson
CF Moises Vicente
San Francisco Giants
Last season the Giants brought back ace 35 year old veteran starter Joseph Park and he didn't disappoint. Park earned All Star honors and ended the season with a 2.66 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 14 wins. Rookie All Star RP Ricardo Moya had a great freshman season and saved 20 of 22 while posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. A trio of rookies join the staff this season. The biggest impact will likely come from Brutus Miller who will likely slot in as a nice option against righty hitters.
A number of retirements and a couple FA's will have a minimal impact on the Giants offense as Shawn Montgomery and All Star Vincenzo Weathers look to lead the team again. Weathers had an impressive season at the pitchers park known as AT&T Park, hitting .291 while jacking 48 with 131 RBI. CF Oscar Yamamoto nearly stole 60 bases (58) and was on base consistently enough (.347 OBP) to make him a legit weapon last season. This team won nearly 100 games last season and all the big pieces are back to see if they can take down Colorado.
A nearly 100 win team with the fourth overall pick isn't fair and kcden made sure to capitalize on the situation by drafting future All Star shortstop Pascual Vargas. Vargas is a legit shortstop prospect, projecting to have the fielding chops to play the position well and enough skill at the plate to be a middle of the order guy. On top of the draft, kcden also signed COF James Matsuzaka, who should make a nice #2 hitter or 5/6 hitter depending on what spots are open.
P Joseph Park
P Ricardo Moya
SS Emmanuel Quinones
LF Vincenczo Weathers
SS Emmanuel Quinones
CF Shawn Truby
Los Angeles Dodgers
Despite having one of the weaker pitching staff's on paper they ended up being their strength in S1 as they missed a WC birth by only a few games. Starters Miguel Mota and Keith Walters lead the rotation with 3.23 and 3.45 ERA's respectively. The two also combined for 226 strikeouts while only issuing 104 walks. However, with only 17 wins between them despite those solid numbers, they didn't receive much support from a stagnant offense. It says a lot about this staff that LA could muster a winning record without a quality contribution from the offense. This season they have called up four rookies, including SP Yorvit Zorrilla, who will add depth to the staff.
The Dodgers will return the same basic lineup from last season. The difference, though, is that they will have promising youngsters LF Jamie Jang and CF Dennis Osborne for a full season after they were called up after roughly 40 games last season. An extra 40+ games of support from these youngsters may provide the support needed to push this team into the playoffs and help last seasons top offensive performers Damaso Coronado and Rich Savage.
Fellman spent $30M on international free agent Evereth Santayana, who will likely compete for a Cy Young one day. The sacrifice of spending so much was the loss of their first four picks including 17th overall pick, left fielder Marshall Olson.
San Diego Padres
There's no mystery what doomed the Padres to a last place finish in the west; the offense. Not surprising in spacious Petco, but this lineup wasn't expected to do much anyway. Pascual Canseco and Kirk Timlin were the steadiest hitters for the Friars with a .282 and .273 average, respectively. Unfortunately these two don't have much in the way of power and only combined for 11 home runs and 103 RBI. Team homerun leader Vince Broadhurst knocked 29 out of the park and drove in 95. Broadhurst was the only 20+ homer guy for the Pads, though, and with the same lineup returning there figures to be another offensive vacuum in SD.
On paper the Padres staff is below average at best and they were aided by pitcher friendly Petco on the way to a well above average statistical performance. All Star reliever Hipolito Ozuna benefited from the park to earn the honor. Phillip Parker lead the rotation with a 2.78 ERA and 1.15 WHIP but was only able to win 9 games. Rookie SP Jon Powell has been called up this season but will need to dig deep if he wants to add any true quality to the staff. Veteran closer Clem Lynch proved dependable last season with 35 saves and returns at the age of 35. If this staff can continue to take advantage of how Petco plays they should be able to keep the score close. When you keep the score close you always give your team a chance to win, and that's what Jying98 will have to hope for.
Fifteenth overall pick 2B Russell Crawford will be a nice upgrade to the offense but at only 19 years old is still at least 4 seasons away from make a major league contribution. Future SP Gus McGriff has the potential to be the staff ace and is closer than Crawford but not close enough to help the Friars this season. There's some decent potential on the position player side of the system with everyday quality guys like catcher Chipper Marion. Brighter days are ahead, and they will probably come sooner rather than later.
P Hipolito Ozuna
1B Kirk Timlin