Monday, June 22, 2009
Season 13 Division Predictions: N.L. West
Season 12: 3rd Place (74-88)
Season 13 Prediction: 1st Place
Sometimes I look at a division and immediately know who is the team to beat. The N.L. North is not one of those divisions. The N.L. North appears to be a crapshoot. The Fighting Skeletons probably have the best pitching in the division. Al Ramirez is a proven starter and winner and 24-year old Earl Scheffer has all the makings of a very good #2 or #3 starter. The offense isn't the best in the division, but there's enough pop to stay afloat in the division. Vancouver will rely on Victor Vargas and Edgardo Pichardo to drive in the bulk of the runs here.
Breakout Performer: SP Earl Scheffer
Season 12: 4th Place (73-89)
Season 13 Prediction: 2nd Place
The biggest change with this franchise was the relocation from Honolulu to Arizona, however, with that change is a renewed hope. Offensively, Norberto Oropesa is hoping to top 100 RBIs in his 2nd full season as he fell just short of that mark in his rookie campaign. The Wildcats are in need of a pure power hitter as Jesse Haney is the closest to it in this lineup, but he's currently on the DL. Victor Swindell is the ace on this pitching staff, but we think Del Johnson will eventually need to crack the rotation if Arizona wants to hang in this race.
Breakout Performer: RP Del Johnson
Season 12: 1st Place (89-73)
Season 13 Prediction: 3rd Place
The angeldynasty won the division by a comfortable margin last season, however, their pitching staff is completely different in season 13. 3/5 of the rotation is elsewhere due to free agency and 14-game winner Willie Jose is out for the season with a torn labrum. That leaves 17-game winner Malachi Rogers and he's posting an 0-fer so far in season 13 (0-3 in 4 starts). Offensively, I think Carlos Barcelo is a future MVP in the making. He and Lou Combs should provide enough punch to keep Anaheim in the race.
Breakout Performer: SP Benny Sojo
Season 12: 2nd Place (79-83)
Season 13 Prediction: 4th Place
goodtymes31 has made it clear that he's building for the future, but until the Polish Hammers are able to move guys like Marc Wasdin and Norm Henry, this is still the best offense in the division. They don't necessarily have the best pitching in the division, but if Osvaldo Mantalban can get on track and Harry Cairo can continue to throw strikes, they have as good a shot as anybody.
Breakout Performer: 1B Ted Gonzales