Sunday, September 25, 2011

Season 17 previews-NL West

NL West
Last season was a really down season in this division. Seattle won the division for the 6th time over the past 8 seasons, but it was unimpressive. It was the teams lowest win total since season 10. They basically won the division by default. I really thought Seattle had the worst team in the division from top to bottom as they were starting to rebuild after trading away most of the talent. Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City both tied for second with just 73 wins and I thought both of those teams were much better than that. To say the least, both of them had majorly disappointing seasons. Scottsdale finished fourth with 68 wins. Just a couple seasons removed from being the World champs, this team may have been the most disappointing team in the NL. To sum it up, I didn't see it coming with the way the division played out at all. Hopefully it's a much better season ahead in the West.
Seattle Strikers
Season 16 record- 86-76(NL West Champ)
5 year record- 473-337

Offense- Average-13th(.257), OBP-15th(.318), Slg-15th(.347), Runs-12th(690), HR-16th(99), SB-1st(451)
Defense- Fld %-2nd(.988), Plus Plays-1st(87), Minus Plays-4th(32)
Pitching- ERA-6th(4.00), OAV-2nd(.242), SO-12th(1056), Saves-10th(44/63)

Offense: This team is built for contact and speed, and they have plenty of it. They may not have the best hitters around, but the speed and ability to put a bat on the ball help them get on base. The team led the majors in steals last season even though they finished near the bottom in hitting and OBP. They like to run and run the will.

Defense: This team has been among the best in the league in fielding for quite a few seasons now. They like guys with gloves. The signed a really good shortstop in Miguel Manzanillo to try and continue the run. Corky Whitehead is a really good glove at third base as well. Einar Belliard is a top catcher with good pitch calling and a good arm.

Pitching: The team has a couple good starting pitchers at the top of the rotation in Orber Torres and Edgar Santana. They have good durability and stamina, so the team will get a lot of innings out of them. Miguel Rivera is a good young upcoming starter and matched with Santana they have a couple good young rotation arms for a while. The teams pitching dropped off from previous seasons, but they still have an above average staff.

Offense: The team lacks power and good average hitters. They finished near the bottom of the league in average and at the bottom in homers last season. It's tough to score runs when a team lacks these. Seattle may finish near the bottom of the league again this season offensively.

Defense: This isn't a very deep defense. They have holes and depth problems. This isn't the same team that has been near the top of the league defensively. I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish in the bottom half of the league defensively this season.

Pitching: The bullpen depth is terrible. They have a few good arms in the pen, but the rest of the staff is not even close to average. This will be a tough season for the teams pitching staff if the starters can't hold up.

Summary- OK, I've predicted it now for the past 2 seasons, but I truly believe this is the season that this team falls off the map. I just don't think the talent is there to win over 80 games. They have the talent to stick with teams, but there are too many holes on this team to win the division again. I'd be surprised with an 80 win season, but I'd also be surprised if the team finishes with less than 70 wins.

Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs
Season 16 record- 73-89
5 year record- 365-445

Offense- Average-11th(.258), OBP-12th(.323), Slg-11th(.398), Runs-14th(685), HR-12th(167), SB-13th(59)
Defense- Fld %-5th(.985), Plus Plays-9th(54), Minus Plays-8th(38)
Pitching- ERA-7th(4.08), OAV-8th(.260), SO-6th(1095), Saves-11th(43/57)

Offense: This team has a little bit of power, a little bit of contact, a little bit of hitting and a little bit of ability to draw walks. The don't have a lot of any off it, but the have a mix of all of it. Vic Rijo is a dynamite young hitter that should be around for a while. That's the kind of good young hitter you can build an offense around.

Defense: Asdrubal Alcantara. This guy is a phenomenal shortstop that can also hit some. Youngster Erubiel Baez, is another good fielder that can play short, third, and some centerfield. Billy Kashmir is another good fielder that is more suited to play third. I would say this is an above average fielding team this season.

Pitching: This team has some pretty solid starting pitching led by 22 year old Rick Owens. I like Owens at the top of the rotation. He's going to be a pretty good starter. Paxton Weiland is another good starter that I like in this rotation. The rotation should be able to keep this team around in games.

Offense: Depth. As I said, this team has some of everything, but not a lot of it. The lack of depth is going to hurt this team.

Defense: To be honest, I like this defense. Depth may be an issue at some positions and they may be weak at some positions, but I think they have the players to make it work.

Pitching: Also depth. This team seems to have the players at the top to get stuff done, but once you make it to the bench and deep in the bullpen then they are weak. The back of the pen doesn't look good and they are going to have games that they don't have the top bullpen guys to come in and close games.

Summary- Ownership thinks this team may slide back some this season as it's sort of a transitional year for them. They have tools, but not enough of them and have some holes that may stick out over a full 162. I think that ownership hit the nail on the head with this one. I can see them winning just south of 70 games this season.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen
Season 16 record- 73-89
5 year record- 377-433

Offense- Average-15th(.249), OBP-11th(.324), Slg-14th(.380), Runs-11th(693), HR-13th(161), SB-11th(70)
Defense- Fld %-8th(.984), Plus Plays-6th(57), Minus Plays-12th(45)
Pitching- ERA-10th(4.39), OAV-10th(.265), SO-15th(1023), Saves-12th(42/54)

Offense: This teams strength offensively is depth. They may have finished near the bottom of the league offensively last season, but it looks like they should hit better. They have plenty of contact hitters that should be able to get on base. Youngster Juan Perez will get on base quite a bit. He can hit and draw walks. Alvin Reed was a big signing for this team last season and was a let down, but he should have a better season. This is a decent hitting team that should be better than last season.

Defense: This team is not built on defense. Homer Malone has the glove for centerfield, but he lacks ideal range.

Pitching: Greg DeJean is an ideal top of the rotation guy. Relievers Steve Perez, and Stevie Murray are good as well.

Offense: Not much power. Outside of B.C. Harper this team doesn't have much of a homer threat. The team finished near the bottom of the league offensively last season and has some proving to do before I consider them a good offensive team even though they look it.

Defense: Defense. This team looks weak defensively. They have below average players at just about every position. I know they finished last season as an average defensive team, but I think they really lack a good shortstop which backs everybody into playing a position they aren't very good at.

Pitching: Depth. I think they have some good pitchers on the staff, but like each of the teams in this division that I've already done, the back end of the staff is weak. Basically you can take my previews for Seattle and Oklahoma City and copy it here.

Summary- They have some holes on this team that could be filled and it would change a lot with this team. They aren't a terrible team by any stretch, but they aren't good enough to hang with the better teams in the NL. This is however a pretty weak division the way it seems and this team could be the one to take the playoff spot from the West. I think they are an 80+ win team.

Scottsdale Scorpions
Season 16 record- 68-94
5 year record- 414-396

Offense- Average-14th(.250), OBP-14th(.319), Slg-13th(.391), Runs-15th(664), HR-11th(190), SB-7th(94)
Defense- Fld %-12th(.981), Plus Plays-14th(32), Minus Plays-16th(78)
Pitching- ERA-15th(4.79), OAV-15th(.280), SO-2nd(1146), Saves-12th(42/64)

Offense: This team surprises me. They finished near the bottom of the league last season offensively, but I think they have a good offense. Jorge Renteria is a really good hitter that had a bad season and he needs to step it up. Omar Cornejo was a let down as well and is much better than what he did. This team is very solid offensively and really should be a top 5 offensive team in the NL.

Defense: This team is solid at the key defensive positions. They have a good shortstop, Maicer Lopez, although he's a bench guys. Eric Presley is a great centerfielder. Cornejo is the starting shortstop, but he would make for a really good 3B or 2B to get Lopez's glove in the game.

Pitching: This team has a solid staff top to bottom. The have the deepest staff in the division. Chick Linden is a really good closer. Raymond Simmons is a really good top end of the rotation starter. I really like this staff.

Offense: They need to get it done. This offense under performed last season and that is the big weakness. They need to do what they are capable of.

Defense: I'd find a way to get Lopez in the game more. He may struggle with the bat, but he could be a gold glove contender at short. They also lack a good pitch calling catcher. I think Renteria has the bat to offset that but he needs to hit better this season.

Pitching: The could use a dominant shut down starter to really make this staff great. Overall it's a really good staff though, so that's something that could set them over the top.

Summary- This team is the face for under performing. I think this is a really good team that should challenge for the NL title, not finishing in the basement of their division. I'm just struggling to find out what is wrong and what happened with this team.

Overall this was a pretty weak division last season. I really think they finished in the opposite order of how they should have. Seattle is surely going to fall off this season. They just don't have the complete team to contend. Oklahoma City has plenty of holes and may fall off a bit themselves. Colorado Springs have a decent team, but they aren't complete. I think they should win more games, but I'm not sure they have what it takes to win this division. Scottsdale should be tough to beat. I don't see how they can finish without the division title. They really should be challenging for the NL title.

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

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