MMD Sports: 2014 AL West And NL West Baseball Preview

MMD April 7, 2014 0
MMD Sports: 2014 AL West And NL West Baseball Preview


Today we have a doubleheader as we break down both Western Divisions in which it seems like every pitcher is already hurt.  Nothing like being depressed before your team even starts depressingly playing like crap.  Play ball!


Prediction: 1st Place

Projected Lineup:
C – J.P. Arencibia
1B – Prince Fielder
2B – Jurickson Profar
3B – Adrian Beltre
SS – Elvis Andrus
LF – Shin-Soo Choo
CF – Leonys Martin
RF – Alex Rios
DH – Mitch Moreland

C – Geovany Soto
INF – Donnie Murphy
INF – Adam Rosales
OF – Engel Beltre
OF – Michael Choice

Projected Rotation:
Yu Darvish
Matt Harrison
Derek Holland
Martin Perez
Tanner Scheppers

RP – Joakim Soria
Alexi Ogando
Neal Cotts
Jason Frasor
Shawn Tolleson
Pedro Figueroa
Seth Rosin
Joseph Ortiz
Colby Lewis

Texas revamped their lineup in the offseason with a few big new additions.  They traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder, and also added Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios.  The Rangers have had one of the best lineups in baseball the last few years and those new additions could possibly make this the best group of bats in the game.  Add in a hitter-friendly ballpark and 18 games against the Astros and this team is going to score lots of runs. The problem for Texas is their top three starting pitchers all come into the season hurt, and Holland looks like he’ll be out for a while.  Hopefully a resurgent Colby Lewis can help shoulder the load early on, and if they can get through the first six weeks and get their pitching back in order, plus keep the world’s fattest vegan Prince Fielder away from the nacho vendors, I’d say they’re right up there with Boston, Detroit, and Tampa as favorites.

Prediction: 2nd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – John Jaso
1B – Daric Barton
2B – Alberto Callaspo
3B – Josh Donaldson
SS – Jed Lowrie
LF – Yoenis Cespedes
CF – Coco Crisp
RF – Josh Reddick
DH – Brandon Moss

C – Derek Norris
INF – Eric Sogard
INF – Nick Punto
OF – Craig Gentry
OF – Sam Fuld

Projected Rotation:
Sonny Gray
Scott Kazmir
Tommy Milone
Dan Straily
Jesse Chavez

RP – Jim Johnson
Luke Gregerson
Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle
Dan Otero
Evan Scribner
Drew Pomeranz
Fernando Rodriguez
Eric O’Flaherty

You gotta love watching the A’s.  First off, they have without a doubt the best uniforms in sports history (except for the 70’s and 80’s version of the A’s with that amazing yellow sock and green stirrup combination) and their secondary logo is an elephant balancing on top of a ball (get it? they’re athletic!)  Secondly, they don’t have the money the big-market clubs have and so they platoon at almost every position, and get the most out of what always seems like a roster full of role players.  Bob Melvin has been a perfect fit as manager and Billy Beane is always ahead of the statistical curve.  They’ll mix and match their way into contention as usual, in front of five people.

Prediction: 3rd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Hank Conger
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Howie Kendrick
3B – David Freese
SS – Erick Aybar
LF – Josh Hamilton
CF – Mike Trout
RF – Kole Calhoun
DH – Raul Ibanez

C – Chris Iannetta
INF – John McDonald
INF – Tommy Field
OF – J.B. Shuck
OF – Collin Cowgill

Projected Rotation:
Jered Weaver
C.J. Wilson
Garrett Richards
Tyler Skaggs
Hector Santiago

RP – Ernesto Frieri
Joe Smith
Kevin Jepsen
Michael Kohn
Fernando Salas
Sean Burnett
Dane de la Rosa
Brian Moran
Nick Maronde

This team is the greatest example of how not to spend money.  Obviously, teams with high payrolls have a bunch of star players and on a year-by-year basis they have a better chance of making the playoffs, if they allocate the money to specific areas of need, but some teams just seem to spend for the sake of spending.  Miami two years ago, Toronto last year, and the Angels over both those years are the best (worst) examples.  They just seem to randomly buy whatever superstars they can and fail miserably while spending insane amounts of money.  At least the Angels didn’t spend any more this year, but there are so many bad contracts on this team it will probably be years until they get out from under them.  The best thing that could happen to this team is for Pujols to get caught SELLING steroids and put in jail, and Josh Hamilton to get back on the pipe and get caught SELLING crack.  Then they can share a cell and star in a reality show that L.A. would enjoy ten times more than this train wreck of a team.

Prediction: 4th Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Mike Zunino
1B – Justin Smoak
2B – Robinson Cano
3B – Kyle Seager
SS – Brad Miller
LF – Dustin Ackley
CF – Abraham Almonte
RF – Corey Hart
DH – Logan Morrison

C – John Buck
INF – Willie Bloomquist
INF – Nick Franklin
OF – Michael Saunders
UT – Stefen Romero

Projected Rotation:
Felix Hernandez
Hisashi Iwakuma
Erasmo Ramirez
James Paxton
Taijuan Walker

RP – Fernando Rodney
Danny Farquhar
Yoervis Medina
Charlie Furbush
Tom Wilhelmson
Stephen Pryor
Hector Noesi
Joe Beimel

The M’s haven’t made the playoffs since 2001.  Recently the main problem has been pitching – other than King Felix this is one of the worst pitching staffs in the majors.  So good thing they gave $240 million to second baseman Robinson Cano.  Look at the names of their relief pitchers – they just sound like made up names, I’m pretty sure Seattle doesn’t have any money left to fill out a bullpen so they just made up a bunch of names to put on their roster.  Farquhar? Yoervis? C’mon I call bullshit.  Considering his cut of Cano’s deal, they might as well just let Jay-Z pitch.

Prediction: Relegated to Pacific Coast League

Projected Lineup:
C – Jason Castro
1B – Jesus Guzman
2B – Jose Altuve
3B – Matt Dominguez
SS – Jonathan Villar
LF – Robbie Grossman
CF – Dexter Fowler
RF – L.J. Hoes
DH – Chris Carter

C – Carlos Corporan
1B/OF – Marc Krauss
INF – Marwin Gonzalez
OF – George Springer
OF – Alex Presley

Projected Rotation:
Scott Feldman
Jarred Cosart
Brett Oberholtzer
Dallas Keuchel
Lucas Harrell

RP – Josh Fields
Jesse Crain
Chad Qualls
Matt Albers
Jerome Williams
Brad Peacock
Anthony Bass
Kevin Chapman
Chia-Jen Lo



Prediction: 1st Place

Projected Lineup:
C – A.J. Ellis
1B – Adrian Gonzalez
2B – Dee Gordon
3B – Juan Uribe
SS – Hanley Ramirez
LF – Carl Crawford
CF – Matt Kemp
RF – Yasiel Puig

C – Tim Federowicz
INF – Justin Turner
INF – Chone Figgins
INF – Alexander Guerrero
OF – Andre Ethier
UT – Scott van Slyke

Projected Rotation:
Clayton Kershaw
Zack Greinke
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Dan Haren
Paul Maholm

RP – Kenley Jansen
Brian Wilson
J.P. Howell
Jamey Wright
Chris Perez
Paco Rodriguez
Brandon League
Chris Withrow
Chad Billingsley

The Dodgers were two wins away from the World Series last year and you know Donnie Baseball wants in.  Hanley Ramirez seemed to be in a good mood last year and when that happens he usually hits over .300, Gonzalez is a beast and Puig looks to be a sure bet future all-star.  Even if Kemp doesn’t return to his M.V.P. form this will still be one of the best lineups in the N.L.  The one question I have is why do they seem insistent on playing Carl Crawford over Andre Ethier?  There is just no argument you can make based on statistics for that one.  It shouldn’t matter much though because Ethier will get his playing time.
The Dodgers have an excellent and deep pitching staff, so they seem to have no weakness and be a championship contender.  There are only two things that can stop them – one is if Clayton Kershaw’s preseason problems carry-over into the regular season.  He had an abysmal spring and a bad back will force him to miss Opening Day.  When healthy he is the best pitcher in baseball and without him L.A. lacks an X-factor that sets them apart.  The other is if fans actually start staying until the end of a game, confusing the Dodger defense into leading the league in errors.

Prediction: 2nd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Wilin Rosario
1B – Justin Morneau
2B – D.J. LeMahieu
3B – Nolan Arenado
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
LF – Carlos Gonzalez
CF – Drew Stubbs
RF – Michael Cuddyer

C/1B – Jordan Pacheo
INF – Charlie Culberson
INF – Josh Rutledge
OF – Brandon Barnes
OF – Corey Dickerson
OF – Charlie Blackmon

Projected Rotation:
Jorge de la Rosa
Juan Nicasio
Brett Anderson
Jhoulys Chacin
Tyler Chatwood

RP – LaTroy Hawkins
Rex Brothers
Matt Belisle
Adam Ottavino
Boone Logan
Franklin Morales
Tommy Kahnle
Wilton Lopez
Chad Bettis

The Rockies have had a nice young team for the last few years and I think this is the year they break out.  Wilin Rosario has already established himself as one of the best catchers in the game.  This year prospect Nolan Arenado takes over third.  If Tulo can stay healthy, combined with Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, this is a lineup no pitcher will be itching to face, especially in the thin air of the mile-high city.  For some reason they seem set on using 87 year old LaTroy Hawkins as their closer instead of Rex Brothers because of experience, but that shouldn’t stop them from contending.  I so hope a Rockie gets caught smoking weed, then returns to win M.V.P.

Prediction: 3rd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Buster Posey
1B – Brandon Belt
2B – Marco Scutaro
3B – Pablo Sandoval
SS – Brandon Crawford
LF – Michael Morse
CF – Angel Pagan
RF – Hunter Pence

C – Hector Sanchez
INF – Joaquin Arias
INF – Ehire Adrianza
OF – Gregor Blanco
OF – Juan Perez
OF – Tyler Colvin

Projected Rotation:
Madison Bumgarner
Matt Cain
Tim Lincecum
Tim Hudson
Ryan Vogelsong

RP – Sergio Romo
Santiago Casilla
Jeremy Affeldt
Javier Lopez
Heath Hembree
George Kontos
Jean Machi
David Huff
Yusmeiro Petit

The Giants were mediocre last year so they added Michael Morse and Tim Hudson, which is as mediocre as free agent additions get.  Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum have regressed to mediocrity, Angel Pagan is a poor-man’s Shane Victorino (i.e. mediocre) and Pablo Sandoval has done a mediocre job on his off-season diet.  I see this team finishing smack in the middle of a mediocre division.  The mediocre of the mediocre, if you will.

Prediction: 4th Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Miguel Montero
1B – Paul Goldschmidt
2B – Aaron Hill
3B – Martin Prado
SS – Chris Owings
LF – Mark Trumbo
CF – A.J. Pollock
RF – Cody Ross

C – Henry Blanco
INF – Eric Chavez
INF – Didi Gregorius
INF – Cliff Pennington
OF – Gerardo Parra
OF – Alfredo Marte

Projected Rotation:
Wade Miley
Trevor Cahill
Bronson Arroyo
Brandon McCarthy
Archie Bradley

RP – Addison Redd
Brad Ziegler
J.J. Putz
Oliver Perez
Josh Collmenter
Joe Thatcher
Matt Langwell
Chaz Roe
Randall Delgado

Patrick Corbin is out for the year and that is a huge blow for the D-backs.  I’d go into depth further, but you’ll probably want to find me and kill me if I make you read the word mediocre ten more times.

Prediction: Last Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Yasmani Grandal
1B – Yonder Alonso
2B – Jedd Gyorko
3B – Chase Headley
SS – Everth Cabrera
LF – Carlos Quentin
CF – Will Venable
RF – Chris Denorfia

C – Nick Hundley
1B/OF – Kyle Blanks
OF – Seth Smith
OF – Cameron Maybin
OF – Xavier Nady
UT – Alexi Amarista

Projected Rotation:
Andrew Cashner
Ian Kennedy
Josh Johnson
Tyson Ross
Eric Stults

RP – Huston Street
Joaquin Benoit
Alex Torres
Nick Vincent
Dale Thayer
Tim Stauffer
Don Roach
Robbie Erlin

The Fathers are always expected to be pretty bad and this year is no different. At least they have brought up a nice group of young talent to try and turn things around.  Jedd Gyorko looks like a stud, add him to Yonder Alonso and Andrew Cashner and the Monks are on to something.  This will actually be a fun team to watch as they appear to have a bright future.  Their gargantuan stadium is going to help any young pitcher that comes along and might even help Josh Johnson find his game and get the Friars out of the cellar.  You also gotta love a team that wears camouflage despite being named after jesuit priests.


Article By: Anthony Schiano

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