The NL West: Position by Position, Who Has the Best Team on Paper?

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The NL West: Position by Position, Who Has the Best Team on Paper?
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The National League West will be highly contested in 2010 with talent spread around all five teams. But which team is No. 1 on paper?

The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership is currently in flux with the all of the divorce issues going on between owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. With financial issues to attend to, LA has been quiet this offseason other than letting talented players sign elsewhere.

LA let their best pitcher from '09 in Randy Wolf sign with Milwaukee and neither Vicente Padilla nor Orlando Hudson are expected to return. But does this mean the Dodgers won't still be the Dodgers?

I'm not so sure.

I mean they still have Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, and Clayton Kershaw just too name a few solid contributors.

The San Francisco Giants are bound to have one of the greatest pitching rotations that the game has ever seen if Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner can pitch to their potential in 2010. These two will be the No. 4 and No. 5 starters for the Giants despite the fact they have the talent to be a No. 1 or No. 2 in the near future.

But will Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa be the answer to their offensive woes from 2009? Maybe, but they hardly give Giants fans confidence moving forward.

The Arizona Diamondbacks finished in last place in the division in 2009 but they won the division just two years prior in 2007. Can we trust the Diamondbacks to hang out with the San Diego Padres at the cellar of the division?

I think not. 

When you consider the return of both Brandon Webb and Conor Jackson, and the additions of Edwin Jackson and Adam LaRoche, this team should be competitive all season long.

As for the Colorado Rockies, well, they are the Rockies. Despite being relatively quiet this offseason, they're still loaded. Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe, Ian Stewart, Ryan Spillborghs, Carlos Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Huston Street are all players that make a difference.

Does it really matter that the Rockies have had a quiet offseason with the talent they already have on their roster?

I don't think it does.

Now, for the Padres, well, they are the one sure thing in the NL West. San Diego will finish last, no questions asked.

But the other four teams could finish in any number of places. Therefore, before anyone becomes overly optimistic or incredibly pessimistic about their team's chances in 2010, why don't we look at the teams in the NL West (minus San Diego) and see how they compare position by position?

Here we go.

 

First Base:

Giants: Aubrey Huff    career OPS: .812     2009 OPS: .694    Defense: Below Average

Rockies: Todd Helton   career OPS: .994    2009 OPS: .904     Defense: Gold Glove

Dodgers: James Loney career OPS: .806.   2009 OPS: .756    Defense: Above Average

Dbacks: Adam LaRoche career OPS: .834.  2009 OPS: .843    Defense: Above Average

 

Second Base:

Giants: Freddy Sanchez  career OPS: .751  2009 OPS: .742   Defense: Above Average

Rockies: Clint Barmes     career OPS: .714  2009 OPS: .734   Defense: Below Average

Dodgers: Jamey Caroll    career OPS: .701  2009 OPS: .695   Defense: Average

DBacks: Kelly Johnson    career OPS: .777  2009 OPS: .692   Defense: Average

 

Shortstop:

Giants: Edgar Renteria   career OPS: .746  2009 OPS: .635   Defense: Below Average

Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki  career OPS: .831  2009 OPS: .930   Defense: Stellar

Dodgers: Rafael Furcal   career OPS: .758  2009 OPS: .711   Defense: Above Average

DBacks: Stephen Drew   career OPS: .771  2009 OPS: .748   Defense: Average

 

Third Base:

Giants: Pablo Sandoval  career OPS: .924   2009 OPS: .943   Defense: Above Average

Rockies: Ian Stewart     career OPS: .783   2009 OPS: .785   Defense: Average

Dodgers: Casey Blake    career OPS: .788   2009 OPS: .832   Defense: Average

DBacks: Mark Reynolds  career OPS: .839   2009 OPS: .892   Defense: Poor

 

Catcher:

Giants: Bengie Molina     career OPS: .726   2009 OPS: .727   Defense: Gold Glove/Stellar

Rockies: Chris Iannetta   career OPS: .807   2009 OPS: .804   Defense: Average

Dodgers: Russell Martin  career OPS: .774   2009 OPS: .680   Defense: Stellar

DBacks: Miguel Montero  career OPS: .776   2009 OPS: .832   Defense: Average

 

Left Field:

Giants: Mark DeRosa       career OPS: .767  2009 OPS: .752   Defense: Average

Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez career OPS: .752   2009 OPS: .878   Defense: Above Average

Dodgers: Manny Ramirez career OPS: 1.002 2009 OPS: .949   Defense: Poor

DBacks: Conor Jackson    career OPS: .792  2008 OPS: .823   Defense: Average

 

Center Field:

Giants: Aaron Rowand   career OPS: .788   2009 OPS: .738   Defense: Gold Glove

Rockies: Dexter Fowler  career OPS: .746   2009 OPS: .770   Defense: Above Average

Dodgers: Matt Kemp      career OPS: .826   2009 OPS. 842   Defense: Stellar

DBacks: Chris Young      career OPS: .745   2009 OPS. 711   Defense: Stellar

 

Right Field:

Giants: Nate Schierholtz  career OPS: .731  2009 OPS: .703  Defense: Stellar

Rockies: Brad Hawpe       career OPS: .875  2009 OPS: .903  Defense: Above Average

Dodgers: Andre Ethier     career OPS: .853  2009 OPS: .869   Defense: Above Average

Dbacks: Justin Upton       career OPS: .836  2009 OPS: .899   Defense: Below Average

 

Depth/Bench:

Giants: Juan Uribe           career OPS: .729  2009 OPS: .834  Defense: Average

Rockies: Ryan Spillborghs career OPS: .793  2009 OPS: .705  Defense: Average

Dodgers: Blake DeWitt     career OPS: .717  2009 OPS: .633  Defense: Above Average

Dbacks: Ryan Roberts      career OPS: .750  2009 OPS: .783  Defense: Above Average

 

Ace:

Giants: Tim Lincecum      career WHIP: 1.15   2009 WHIP: 1.05

Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez  career WHIP: 1.32   2009 WHIP: 1.23

Dodgers: Chad Billingsley career WHIP: 1.38   2009 WHIP: 1.32

Dbacks: Brandon Webb    career WHIP: 1.24   2008 WHIP: 1.20

 

No. 2:

Giants: Matt Cain          career WHIP: 1.25   2009 WHIP: 1.18

Rockies: Aaron Cook     career WHIP: 1.44   2009 WHIP: 1.41

Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda career WHIP: 1.19   2009 WHIP: 1.14

Dbacks: Dan Haren       career WHIP: 1.18   2009 WHIP: 1.00

 

No. 3:

Giants: Barry Zito             career WHIP: 1.30   2009 WHIP: 1.35

Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa career WHIP: 1.57   2009 WHIP: 1.38

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw career WHIP: 1.33   2009 WHIP: 1.23

DBacks: Edwin Jackson      career WHIP: 1.51   2009 WHIP: 1.26

 

Closer:

Giants: Brian Wilson           career WHIP: 1.34  2009 WHIP: 1.20  2009 SV: 38/45

Rockies: Huston Street       career WHIP: 1.04  2009 WHIP: 0.91   2009 SV: 35/37

Dodgers: Jonathan Broxton career WHIP: 1.16  2009 WHIP: 0.96  2009 SV: 36/42

DBacks: Chad Qualls           career WHIP: 1.20  2009 WHIP: 1.15  2009 SV: 24/29

 

Set Up:

Giants: Jeremy Affeldt        career WHIP: 1.45  2009 WHIP: 1.17   HLD: 33

Rockies: Rafael Betancourt  career WHIP: 1.12  2009 WHIP: 1.11   HLD: 20

Dodgers: George Sherill      career WHIP: 1.24  2009 WHIP: 1.12   SV: 21/26. HLD: 11

Dbacks: Aaron Heilman       career WHIP: 1.34  2009 WHIP: 1.41   HLD: 10

 

Now what does this all mean exactly? Well, out of all the comparisons, let's see who comes out with the best player at each position.

Giants: Three (best ace, second baseman, third baseman)

Dodgers: Four (best all around catcher, left field, center field, best No. 3)

Rockies: Five (best first baseman, shortstop, right field, bench, closer)

Dbacks: One (best No. 2)

Set up was pretty much a wash between Affeldt/Sherrill/Betancourt.

Now granted, I left out number four and five starters which clearly benefit my beloved Giants over anybody else.

But that said, on paper I'm only going to be cautiously optimistic in my hopes for the Orange & Black to make the playoffs.

Why? Because the Rockies are the favorites for the division and rightfully so when you look at their entire roster. Clearly they are the top dogs on paper to start 2010.

Plus, despite the ownership issues, the Dodgers have gone to the NLCS two years in a row. While I picked them to finish fourth in the division behind the Giants, they always have the ability to bounce back and prove everyone wrong with their potent lineup.

And with the additions the Diamondbacks have made, you can't count them out of the race either.

So I must let my fellow Giants fans know that before you start talking playoffs, you might want to think about lowering your expectations.

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