The All-Star break is less than a week away and it’s time to take a look at how the first half has treated the five NL West teams.
Last week I updated the progress of the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies in the month of June. This breakdown will be focused on the entire first half production (or lack of production) for all of the NL West clubs.
Grades will be given out for each team’s performance on offense, defense, starting pitching, and the bullpen. These grades were then made into an overall team grade.
All rankings are within the National League.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (52-30)
Ranked first with a .272 batting average, first in on-base percentage (.349), second in stolen bases (73) and third in runs (398).
They have experienced a lack of power with just 66 home runs this season, which is fourth-to-last. The return of Manny Ramirez should boost that number as the second half progresses, but they still will not be able to rely on the long ball to score runs.
Matt Kemp has been outstanding so far. He is hitting .305 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI. He also has 19 stolen bases and has become the most dangerous eight hitter in the Majors.
The team is second with a .988 fielding percentage and the catchers have combined to throw out 24 of 71 runners (34 percent) attempting to steal.
Starting Pitching: C
Ranked second with 3.82 runs allowed/game but they rank dead last with just one complete game thus far in ’09, and starters are averaging 5.7 IP per start, good for second-to-last. They are first in cheap wins (games in which the starting pitcher went six innings less and gave up three or more runs) with 12.
However, ace right-hander Chad Billingsley is third in IP (120.1) and third in wins (nine). His win total could be higher but the bullpen has blown three games when Chad left in a position to win the game, most recently on Sunday against the Padres.
The ‘pen is ranked first in saves (25), first in wins (23), and second in inherited runners scored percentage (24 percent).
The most concerning statistic for the Dodgers bullpen is that they have had nine games in which the starting pitcher left the game in a position to win, but the bullpen lost the game. The Nationals and Astros are tied for first (10).
The Dodgers are also third with 16 blown saves and have a below -verage save percentage (61 percent), but big Jonathan Broxton has been an anchor late in the game with his 22 saves, good for sixth in the league.
Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso have also been spectacular.
2. San Francisco Giants (45-37), 7 GB
They rank fifth with a .262 batting average but fourth to last with 4.17 runs per game. Pablo Sandoval has been a standout at the plate with his .332 average., 13 home runs and 48 RBI. As a team, however, the Giants have hit just 56 home runs.
One problem with the team is a lack of patience, as they rank last with only 193 walks, which places them almost 100 walks below the league average (288). They also rank last with a measly .313 OBP.
The team has a .986 fielding percentage but has thrown out just 16 of 75 (21 percent) base runners attempting to steal.
Starting Pitching: A
The Giants rank first in runs allowed/game (3.70), tied for first in innings/start (6.1), and have had great success while getting the third worst run support in the league (4.2 runs/game). They have also notched seven complete games, which leads the Senior Circuit.
Reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have led the charge, and both rank in the top six for innings pitched, are second and third in ERA (2.23 and 2.42, respectively), and second and third in wins (nine for Lincecum, 10 for Cain).
They are just below the league average (31 percent) of inherited runners scored, with 30 percent allowed to score. They have also had the fewest appearances on zero days rest with just 41, more than half of the league-leading Nationals (86). This means the Giants bullpen should have more gas in the tank than the rest of NL teams.
Most fans don’t know that closer Brian Wilson is second in saves (22). Wilson was an All-Star in ’08 with 41 saves and an ERA of 4.69 and has improved on that this season, on pace for 44 saves and lowering his ERA to 3.79.
3. Colorado Rockies (43-39), 9 GB
Despite having a team batting average of just .256, they are second in runs/game (4.98), second in home runs (96), and fourth in stolen bases (57).
Brad Hawpe has carried the team with his .325 average, 13 home runs, and 56 RBI.
The Rockies have a team fielding percentage of .984 and have thrown out a league worst 18 percent of attempted base stealers (14-80).
Starting Pitching: B
The Rox are tied for first with 6.1 IP/start but are giving up 4.59 runs/start. They have also received the second best run support in the league (5.0)
The biggest surprise has been Jason Marquis, who leads all pitchers with 11 wins.
They have the third-best save percentage (77 percent) but are tied for second-worst in inherited runners scored (37 percent).
Huston Street started the year shaky after being awarded the closer’s role in the spring. Through his first 12 games he allowed seven earned runs in just 10.1 innings and his ERA was 6.83. In his last 27 games, he has given up just four earned runs in 26 IP, good enough for a 1.38 ERA. He also has struck out 30 while walking only eight.
4. San Diego Padres (35-47), 17 GB
The Padres have been downright dreadful at the plate. They rank last in batting average (.235), second to last in OBP (.314), last in runs/game (3.84), last in doubles (128, league average is 149) and they have grounded into 70 double plays this season.
As a team, they have amassed just 315 hits. Compare that to league-leading Los Angeles, which has 774 base knocks.
Adrian Gonzalez has been the lone exception as he has slugged 24 of the team’s 76 home runs (32 percent).
They have a team fielding percentage of .986, but have caught just 17 of 82 (21 percent) attempted base-stealers.
Starting Pitching: D-
They are allowing the second most runs/game (5.01) and also have the worst run support/game (3.8) and the fewest IP/start (5.5).
The Padres have the second-most losses saved by the bullpen (17; when the pitcher leaves the games in a position to lose but the game is tied or won after they exit).
Closer Heath Bell has been downright unhittable so far. He is first in saves with 23 and has blown just one. His ERA is 1.49 and he has struck out 40 while walking only 15 batters.
The rest of the bullpen has not contributed consistently, however, as they are tied for third with 15 loses in the bullpen.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-49), 18.5 GB
The D-Backs rank first in strikeouts with a whopping 659. A lot of that is due to Mark Reynolds, who despite his 24 home runs, has more strikeouts than any other player, with 111. They are second-to-last in batting average (.244) and fourth-to-last in OBP (.321).
However, they have the most doubles (166), are sixth in home runs (84), and are just below the league average (4.44) in runs/game (4.39).
Second baseman Felipe Lopez has had success, hitting .305 with 18 doubles. Justin Upton has also been good with his .300 average., 15 home runs and 48 RBI. They also have four players with 150-plus plate appearances hitting below .225 (Chris Snyder, Eric Byrnes, Chris Young, Augie Ojeda), and Chad Tracy will join that club, as he is hitting .206 with 146 PA.
Yikes, the D-Backs are tied for last in fielding percentage (.976) with the lowly Nationals. They were upgraded to an F+ instead of a flat F because they have thrown out 26 percent (20 of 76) base runners attempting to steal.
Starting Pitching: D
Not much better than the Padres, Arizona in third-worst in runs allowed/game (4.89).
They do rank second with 6.1 IP/start, but a lot of that has to do with the outstanding performance of Danny Haren. Haren is tied for the league lead with 120.1 IP and is second in complete games (2).
Arizona is third-to-last in saves (19), is tied for the second-worst inherited runners score percentage (37 percent), and have 12 blown saves.
Chad Qualls has been mediocre posting a 3.93 ERA (60 points above his career 3.33 ERA) but has gained 15 saves and hasn’t blown a save since Apr. 14.
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