SEASON 14 NL WEST PREVIEWSDue to time constraints and the season on going, I'm going to forgo the preview summary.
Season 13 record- (93-69, 1st division)
Season 13 team hitting(NL) Batting Average-14th (.254); OBP-12th (.328); Home Runs-15th (154); Runs-11th (761); Steals-1st (292) Pitching(AL) ERA-1st (3.42); Opp Avg-1st (.233); Strike Outs-8th (1107); Saves-6th (49) Fielding(AL) Fielding %-1st (.990); Plus Plays-1st (103); Minus Plays-1st (13)
Key Acquisitions- 1B Miguel Pichardo(tr-Chi), RP Hal Davenport(tr-Syr), SP Warren Hargrave(tr-Syr), SP Don Corey(resigned), SP Al Rivers(FA), LF Paxton Sutton(FA), RP Cam Hogan(FA), RP Jayson Crawford(resigned)
Key Losses- P Carl Piatt(tr-Chi), 3B Kory Garland(tr-Syr), SS Buster Starr(tr-Syr), 1B Jorge Cueto(FA), 1B Tony Cummings(FA), RP Matthew Helton(FA), RP Carlton Harding(FA)
Well this is my team. I would hate to give my analysis of the team because it would make everyone think I'm an idiot no matter which way I go with it. I stick with the facts. After 3 straight winning seasons, Seattle went all out this off season and made many changes that they hope to be for the better. The player payroll is the highest it has ever been. They upgraded the rotation with the trade for Hargrave, which allows the team to move the other pitchers to a spot in the rotation that they truly belong. The relief pitching took a major hit losing Helton, Harding and Piatt. The team has tried to upgrade the offense which has been terrible season after season. The team traded away 2 key defensive players in Starr and Garland, that helped the team to a #1 defense. The team brought in offensive players over defense and it remains to be seen if that will help the team from disappointing again this season. While Seattle has won the division in 4 out of the last 5 seasons, only once have they made it out of their opening playoff series. It should be an interesting season to see how all the new faces mesh together.
Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 13 record- (91-71, Wild Card)
Season 13 team hitting(NL) Batting Average-13th (.261); OBP-8th (.333); Home Runs-5th (234); Runs-7th (814); Steals-16th (50) Pitching(AL) ERA-10th (4.53); Opp Avg-11th (.270); Strike Outs-14th (1047); Saves-3rd (53) Fielding(AL) Fielding %-7th (.983); Plus Plays-9th (47); Minus Plays-8th (47)
Key Acquisitions- SP Ezdra Johnson(FA), C Chuck Daniels(FA), RP Dorian Myers(FA), SP Bill Kydd(promoted)
Key Losses- SP Chet Spencer(FA), 3B Banana Wakeland(FA), SP Ryan Gonzalez(FA), C Matty Padilla(FA), RP Roy Hiatt(FA)
This team may not have won the division title last season, but I believe they were the most successful. They ended a 4 season drought from the post season, they broke the 90 win mark for the first time in 6 seasons, and beat Seattle in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. They didn't have the best pitching, hitting or fielding, but this team found ways to win. They bolstered the pitching staff in the off season and I expect them to be a better pitching team this season. They didn't do anything to upgrade the fielding and hitting though. I don't think they have a very good hitting team, but I think their fielding is pretty good. They lack range in the field but the gloves are solid. I think this team has a good shot at 90 wins again this season, but I'm not sure if they win the division. They should be in it till the end though.
Season 13 record- (87-75)
Season 13 team hitting(NL) Batting Average-3rd (.277); OBP-1st (.349); Home Runs-2nd (266); Runs-2nd (878); Steals-13th (59) Pitching(AL) ERA-9th (4.46); Opp Avg-14th (.276); Strike Outs-3rd (1169); Saves-12th (40) Fielding(AL) Fielding %-10th (.981); Plus Plays-12th (35); Minus Plays-16th (96)
Key Acquisitions- SP Eli Mercado(FA), 3B Bret Schneider(FA)
Key Losses- SP Steve Brock(FA)
Scottsdale has raised their win total in each of the last 5 seasons, but after a season in which they made the playoffs they missed them last season. That would usually mean that it was a disappointing season, but this team is coming off many losing seasons and improving the win total is a big positive. They finished toward the top of the league offensively last season and kept around most of their players. They should be an offensive force once again. The pitching and fielding ranked in the middle of the league though. Losing Brock was a blow to the rotation, but they signed Mercado to replace him. In those moves the teams pitching will take a little bit of a hit. The defense is still a weakness for this team and really the pitching on the team isn't that bad. I think the defense hurts the pitching. I think it's playoffs or bust for this team. They have a really good team, but the defense worries me. They have the talent and really this organization is in the best shape in quite some time. They could be my pick to take the division, but if not then I think wild card for sure.
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 13 record- (67-95)
Season 13 team hitting(NL) Batting Average-15th (.250); OBP-15th (.311); Home Runs-12th (192); Runs-15th (654); Steals-15th (56) Pitching(AL) ERA-6th (4.16); Opp Avg-8th (.266); Strike Outs-10th (1076); Saves-13th (39) Fielding(AL) Fielding %-16th (.972); Plus Plays-11th (43); Minus Plays-13th (67)
Key Acquisitions- OF/1B Benji Moreno(tr-KC), 2B Junior Spiers(FA), 1B Vic Rijo(promoted), P Perry Keefe(promoted), SS Billy Kashmir(promoted)
Key Losses- RP Lonny Sojo(FA)
This franchise has seen 3 straight losing seasons since winning this division, with last season being the lowest point. This teams position players just weren't very good. They couldn't hit and they couldn't field. The teams pitching wasn't bad though. With better fielding they could have been a top 3 pitching team. The only key loss this team suffered in the off season was a big loss. Sojo is a very good relief pitcher and should be tough to replace. They traded for Moreno, who isn't going to help this team much. The signing of Spiers will upgrade the hitting and fielding a bit. I also like the players this team promoted.
This is a really young team that has nowhere to go but up. They do have some real good hitters, they have a few good pitchers as well. The teams biggest problems will be defensively and the starting rotation. My summary is that this team is better, but not enough to get over the 500 mark.
I'm actually pretty excited about this division. Even though the division has put 2 teams in the playoffs the past couple seasons, it wasn't a very strong division. That is changing. The top 3 teams are going to battle it out this season and even the bottom team is getting better. Since I jinxed Scottsdale last season, I'm going to go ahead and jinx myself this season. Seattle should win the division but not by much, and Scottsdale is my pick for the wild card. Colorado Springs could even win this division but I have to make predictions.