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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.