Wednesday, September 17, 2008

N.L. West Division Predictions

Oakland Polish Hammers (NL)
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Season 9: 4th Place (82-80)
Season 10 Prediction: 1st Place

The Skinny:
Now, I know why goodtymes was anxious to see my NL West predictions. He probably thinks he has the team to beat in the West this season and, believe it or not, I think he's right. I think the Polish Hammers will go from 4th to 1st Place. It's not as big a shock as some may think. Every team in this division finished above .500 last year so it's gonna be a free-for-all again this season, but I'm going with Oakland.
The Polish Hammers added Dave Sabathia and Micah Turner via free agency, but those guys aren't the big pieces this squad will boast about (although Turner is a nice player). Oakland has the best offense in the division and a couple of these guys (Norm Henry and Marc Wasdin) are still fairly young. There's a reason I desperately tried to acquire Wasdin a few seasons back - the guy's a stud. Combine those guys with Keith Grahe and Steve Burks and this is a pretty potent lineup. The pitching throughout the division is pretty good (well represented by Rex Frederick and Lefty Murphy here in Oakland), but the offense is why I give Oakland the edge in the division.

Season 9: 1st Place (91-71)
Season 10 Prediction: 2nd Place

The Skinny:
If Tacoma's gonna repeat and win the division again, they're going to ride their pitching all the way. Tacoma plays in a pitcher's park and they have the best pitching staff in the division. Harry Mateo is aging like a fine wine. Each year he gets older, his ERA gets even lower to the point where it was under 2.00 last season (1.95). While Mateo's ERA keeps dropping, Harry Holzemer is as steady as they come. His numbers over the last 3 seasons are almost identical. The only one that keeps increasing is wins and that's what makes dalailama12 happy. In addition to the solid starters, ownership went down to the local social security office and pulled Vinny Clement and Darrell Strange out of line. Retirement can wait, these guys still have plenty of innings left. Offensively, the loss of Geraldo Rios may hurt a little. He was the only 100 RBI guy on the Baymen last year, but the Baymen hope Emmanuel Montanez and Haywood Karl will replace some of that offense.

Fresno Silver Bullets (NL)
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Season 9: 2nd Place (90-72)
Season 10 Prediction: 3rd Place

The Skinny:
If Miguel Vazquez and Daniel Womack can stay healthy, this team has a chance to do better than I think. Along with David Santayana, they are the big RBI guys in Fresno and they'll need them all 3 of them to put up big numbers in order to contend this season. The pitching staff added Brian Wakeland from Portland, but they'll rely heavily on Luis Soriano and Ted Chiasson as well. Closer Bono Little is coming off a career year in which he tallied 50 saves.

Season 9: 3rd Place (84-78)
Season 10 Prediction: 4th Place

The Skinny:
I had a really, really tough time putting San Diego here, but someone's got to be here. Hey, maybe they can use it to motivate the players. One guy who doesn't need any motivation is Al Ramirez. Ramirez is coming off a spectacular season in which he went 21-8 with a 2.95 ERA. He could single-handedly keep this team in the race (and make my predictions look even more foolish).Cy Caruso is another solid starter and I find it hard to believe Darrin Roundtree will struggle like he did last season. The offense needs help as no one hit more than 17 home runs last year and they didn't have a 100 RBI guy either. Rookie Rich Mills was recently called up from AAA ball and if he stays in the lineup, he should easily surpass 17 home runs and make a run at 100 RBI's.

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