The time comes as spring training continues to develop that we dig into the other divisions in the National League, and today we’re looking at the NL West. 2007 saw the Colorado Rockies win not only the wild card but the NL Championship. Though the Diamondbacks took the division title, both the Rockies and the San Diego Padres were within striking distance down to the last couple of games. The West was definitely the strongest division last year, but what is in store for this year?
Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks won the division by the skin of their teeth last year (though they held the best record in the NL), and we can expect them to make a run for it once again this year. They have some great talent on the team in Orlando Hudson and Stephen Drew. They also have enthusiasm (Eric Byrnes), veteran leadership (Randy Johnson), and the ace of the rotation (Brandon Webb). Oh, and they added Oakland’s Dan Haren. They’ll be a very dangerous team, once again expected to finish first in the division.
Colorado Rockies - The Rockies came out last year with a confidence in themselves and took it all the way through the playoffs. They possess one of the strongest offenses in all of the National League – if not the strongest. They play a mile high, which helps a bit, but they’re just good. Their pitching staff was top 10 across the league in ERA, Batting Average Against, OPS, Saves, WHIP, and Quality Starts, so they’re not shabby and have outdone the Coors’ pitching staffs of yesteryear. This year expect to see more of their potent offense playing really good baseball. Holliday, Tulowitzki, and Helton will be sure of that. Their pitching staff led by Jeff Francis, and filled out by Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Hirsch/Morales will probably produce about the same results as last year, barring any unfortunate injuries. I think the Rockies will compete for second with the Padres in this division in 2008.
San Diego Padres – The Padres barely missed out on the playoffs last year, but we’ll see where they land this year. Once again led by a very strong pitching staff consisting of ace Jake Peavy and Chris Young, veteran magician Greg Maddux, and filled out by Randy Wolf and Mark Prior. Their offense features Brian Giles, Khalil Greene, and Adrian Gonzalez – and there’s nothing super special about it. But that’s OK – their pitching staff is easily arguably the best in the NL. These guys are the opposite of the Rockies – if they struggle, it’ll be their offense.
Part II will come soon, so check back for the Dodgers (who have made all kinds of changes) and the Bonds-less Giants. Til then, enjoy the spring training ball.
Tags: 2008, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, NL West, Preview, San Diego Padres
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