Monday, June 27, 2011

NL West Season 16 Preview

NL West
Well my division is always hard for me to predict. Of course, I have a bias toward my team, but I also don't want to over value them in my previews. I guess I under valued them last season as I didn't even think I had a playoff team. Seattle shocked me in the regular season by having the best record in the NL, only to have a let down in the playoffs when they came back to earth. Scottsdale was the defending division and World Champion but fell off last season and missed out on the playoffs entirely. It was a disappointing season for the champs as they were more talented than they played. Oklahoma City made major strides last season and challenged for the division title for parts of the season. This has been a franchise moving up the ladder in the NL and should be challenging for the division title for seasons to come. Colorado Springs moved backwards again by dropping in victories for a second consecutive season. They continued to rebuild and look to the future with the hopes of getting back to the top of the division sooner rather than later.

Seattle Strikers
Season 15 record- 98-64(NL West Champ)
5 year record- 477-333

Offense- Average-4th(.270), OBP-4th(.339), Slg-15th(.368), Runs-5th(804), HR-16th(86), SB-1st(390)
Defense- Fielding %-2nd(.985), Plus Plays-1st(90), Minus Plays-1st(19)
Pitching- ERA-1st(3.42), OAV-1st(.236), SO-10th(1089), Saves-13th(39/51)

Key Additions-None
Key Losses-SP Wayne Perez(tr-Hel), SP Jose Bravo(tr-LA), 3B Rafael Cervantes(tr-LA), C Antonio Zhang(FA)

Well this team shocked me last season by winning the division. They were a good team, but I didn't think they could win the division and somehow they even locked up the #1 playoff spot. They did however suffer an upset loss in their first series of the post season. So with so many players going to free agency, the team decided now was the time to cut salary and rebuild. They loaded up on compensation picks from free agency and traded away some key players for prospects. Last season this team boasted one of the best offenses in the NL. They played to their strengths as they were a good hitting team with very little power, but tons of speed. They lost most of the offense, but still have some good hitters and still have plenty of speed. They may hit even less homers this season as the power just isn't there. The defense has been a staple at the top of the league for a while now and was again last season. I'd be surprised if they weren't again. The defense is very good still. The pitching was also the best in the league last season. This is where the team is hurting this season. The rotation isn't close to what it was and the bullpen isn't very strong at all. I'd be surprised if they finish in the top half of the league in pitching. This is still a good team, but the pitching will kill them. My prediction is that they'll win just north of 70 games this season.
Scottsdale Scorpions
Season 15 record- 86-76
5 year record- 411-399

Offense- Average-2nd(.273), OBP-2nd(.341), Slg-1st(.460), Runs-2nd(886), HR-1st(251), SB-11th(89)
Defense- Fielding %-10th(.982), Plus Plays-15th(29), Minus Plays-16th(87)
Pitching- ERA-10th(4.50), OAV-11th(.271), SO-7th(1113), Saves-10th(42/60)

Key Additions-None
Key Losses-RP Archie Goldman(FA)

After winning the World Series in season 14 this team took some steps backwards last season. They only dropped 2 wins from the previous season, but didn't make a push for the division crown. I felt like this was the team to beat in the division last season but that just never materialized. The offense was one of the best in the NL if not the best. That shouldn't change much this season. They still have a pretty good offense with contact and power. They also have guys that will take a walk to get on base. They won't steal many bases though. The defense was this teams weakness last season. They lacked range and the gloves were in the bottom half of the league. This team doesn't appear to be bad defensively this season and Lopez could be a great shortstop, but his lack of hitting will likely keep him on the bench. I'd say this is an average fielding team at least. The pitching last season wasn't very good either but they were close to being an average staff. The rotation is solid if not good and the bullpen has some good arms in it. The park obviously affects this group as I'd say they are a good staff of pitchers. I think this team has the offense to be one of the best teams in the NL, but the defense will hurt them. I think they could win over 90 games this season.
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 15 record- 84-78
5 year record- 371-439

Offense- Average-11th(.264), OBP-5th(.337), Slg-12th(.405), Runs-7th(764), HR-14th(164), SB-7th(124)
Defense- Fielding %-12th(.980), Plus Plays-14th(30), Minus Plays-7th(42)
Pitching- ERA-8th(4.24), OAV-10th(.266), SO-12th(1054), Saves-7th(45/54)

Key Additions-3B Murray Mahaffey(FA)
Key Losses-None

This team took big strides last season by winning 12 games more than season 14's total. It was the teams first season with a winning record since winning the division back in season 10. They battled but couldn' pull out a wild card spot. The team has only made the playoffs twice in franchise history and would like to add to that this season. They didn't make many moves in the off season and return pretty much the same group. With a fairly young roster, that isn't a bad thing. Last season this team was pretty average offensively. They didn't hit much but found ways to get on base. They didn't have much power but had speed and stole bases. This seasons club will likely follow that mold. They do have some power, but not a lot. They really only have a couple guys that will steal bases so they aren't a real threat on the bases. The offense appears to be just below average. Defensively this team was not good last season. They were in the bottom half of the league. They have a potential gold glove shortstop in Alcantara, but he isn't a good hitter. The defense looks better, but I can't say they are great. They still should be an above average defensive team. The pitching was pretty average last season. The pitching doesn't appear to be bad, but they lack a starting pitcher that can eat innings. The bullpen though, is full of arms that can eat innings as most of the pitchers on this staff could start. Overall though this is an average pitching staff. It seems the theme for this team is that they are just about average. That leads me to believe this team should win 80 games, plus or minus. I don't think they'll challenge for the division title or wild card spot, but should have a decent season.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 15 record- 66-96
5 year record- 371-439

Offense- Average-16th(.247), OBP-15th(.315), Slg-14th(.393), Runs-15th(643), HR-12th(183), SB-9th(108)
Defense- Fielding %-12th(.980), Plus Plays-11th(48), Minus Plays-13th(65)
Pitching- ERA-13th(5.00), OAV-13th(.278), SO-15th(978), Saves-12th(41/58)

Key Additions-SS Ramon Martin(tr-Hel), LF Alvin Reed(FA), SP Greg DeJean(FA)
Key Losses-2B Julian Martinez(FA)

The Night Watchmen fell off in victories again last season. A couple seasons removed from a wild card and this team hasn't gotten close since. After winning the division 6 times in the first 8 seasons, the team has only made the post season once in the past 7 seasons. So the team went out and made some moves in the off season to try and change that. Last season the offense was one of the worst in the league. The offense doesn't appear to be that bad. If anything this is an average offense and maybe an above average. They don't have a lot of power, but they have guys that can get on base. The also have a little bit of speed as well. The defense was a bottom of the half group last season. The trade for Martin gives them a big boost. The infield should be good this season, but the outfield is not so much. This is still an above average group. The pitching killed them last season as well and needed a boost. The signing of DeJean will help. The rotation is average, and the bullpen has a few good arms in it. The staff should be improved and closer to average and maybe just above average, but not very deep. This team should be much improved from last season and should win over 80 games. I'm not sure they have what it takes to win the division but they could challenge for the top spot. Management thinks this team has a good shot at a wild card, and I can't discount that. They could be a couple moves from locking that assumption up.

Seattle brings a completely different team to play this season and after winning the division last season will struggle to do so again. While not a bad team, they aren't one of the better teams in the division. Scottsdale didn't do so well last season and have a talented group. This team would surprise me to have another season like the last. Oklahoma City made a jump last season, but I'm not sure they have what it takes to take the next step. Colorado Springs improved in the off season and shouldn't repeat last seasons efforts.

1. Scottsdale
2. Colorado Springs
3. Oklahoma City
4. Seattle

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