2010 MLB Preview: NL West

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Last up is the NL West.

1. Colorado Rockies (7)
Before I wax poetically about the youthful Rockies, I have an axe to grind about the television broadcasting crew of Drew Goodman, Jeff Huson and George Frazier. Those three form one of the most biased, nonobjective broadcasting teams in baseball history. I’m not kidding. The Rockies never get the same calls as their opponents do. The Rockies never get the national recognition like everyone else does. The Rockies are the greatest team to ever walk the planet and if they played a roster compiled of Jesus, Moses, God and the 12 apostles, Colorado should win 5-4 in extras nine times out of 10. If not, the Rockies beat themselves, because there’s no way Jesus and the gang were better. Don’t believe me? Just ask Goodman, Huson and Frazier. All right, now that that’s out of the way – the Rockies are a damn fine club and should leapfrog the Dodgers in the division this year. Their core – Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez – are all 27 years old or younger and that doesn’t include 26-year-old stud Ubaldo Jimenez, who is absolutely filthy when he’s on. Throw in key veterans like Todd Helton (a perennial .300 hitter) and Jeff Francis (who could win 15-plus games filling in for the departed Jason Marquis), and Colorado has the tools to make a deep run. The question is whether or not starters Francis and Jorge De La Rosa will keep their ERAs below 5.00 and the young offensive players can move forward in their development and not backwards. But outside of the ultra-annoying broadcast team, I love the Rockies from top to bottom this year and believe they can do some damage in 2010.

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Doctors rule out surgery for Webb


The Arizona Diamondbacks and his fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief, as multiple doctors have ruled out the possibility of Brandon Webb having season-ending shoulder surgery. The D-Backs ace recently completed a three-city trip in which he saw shoulder specialists in each, all whom said surgery is unnecessary.

Instead, Webb will hold off on throwing for the next four to six weeks while going through an exercise regimen designed to stabilize his shoulder and strengthen the rotator cuff area.

All three of the doctors examined multiple MRIs taken of Webb’s shoulder and put him through tests to gauge its strength.

“Meister said he has seen pitchers with MRIs that look 10 times worse than mine and they are pitching without problems,” Webb said.

Webb said he first began to feel some stiffness in the shoulder during Spring Training and the doctors believe that it was a teres major strain. The teres major is a muscle located outside the shoulder joint. As a result of that injury, they told him, his shoulder became weak and what he is experiencing now is an internal impingement in the shoulder.

“Yeah, I feel a lot better,” he said. “I’ve had some of the best doctors in the world for this stuff look at me and they all say pretty much the same thing. Hopefully I can get this shoulder stronger, then start throwing a little and be back to make a few starts in September. The doctors said that’s a realistic goal.”

While I doubt the D-Backs will be in the playoff hunt come September, Webb can help breathe some life into the organization. Teammate Dan Haren has been excellent all year, but like Zack Geinke, he’s the only active pitcher on his team that is guaranteed to give you a good performance. When Webb returns, he and Haren will try to get back the good thing they’ve had in Arizona.

Although Webb’s contract expires at the end of this season, the D-backs hold an option for 2010 at $8.5 million or they can buy out the option year for $2 million. How he pitches upon his return will be a good indication whether or not the Diamonbacks will want to pony up or allow Webb to become a free agent.

Webb out at least six more weeks


Arizona Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb is off to a remarkable start. He’s done remarkably well in damaging the D-Backs’ chances of winning the NL West and has performed even better in ruining the pitching for my fantasy team. What was originally a “precautionary” stint on the DL, Webb is now full-on sidelined for at least six weeks with a strained teres major muscle.

Arizona’s ace experienced tightness in his right shoulder playing catch before a scheduled bullpen session on Friday. He was immediately shut down and examined by team doctor Michael Lee later that afternoon. In the home dugout before Saturday’s game against the Giants, Webb explained his status and said he hopes to start throwing in three weeks. He expects a few bullpen sessions and at least one rehab start before pitching for the big league club.

The pitcher will start by taking one week off followed by two weeks of exercises to strengthen the shoulder.

“Obviously, I’m not real happy and it’s not what we wanted to hear,” Webb said. “Dr. Lee said it was a three-to-six-week deal whenever you strain your shoulder. We went on the three-week side of it first and now we are going to go with the six-week side of it.”

This disheartening news comes as a huge blow to the Diamondbacks organization. Not only do they have an already flimsy batting order and pitching rotation, but they lack an even mediocre replacement for Webb in Yusmeiro Petit. Add these problems to starting shortstop Stephen Drew’s hamstring troubles and the D-Backs aren’t looking too hot.

Luckily, Dan Haren has been his usual stellar self, but a second starter can only take you so far. Here’s hoping Webb returns fully healthy as soon as possible and can invigorate a desperate organization.

On a side note, I wanted to address all fantasy owners out there: I’m new to the world of fantasy, so what do you guys recommend doing with Webb? Keep him or try to use his recognition to score healthier players?

Top 10 active ERA leaders

As far as pitchers’ statistics in baseball, earned run average (ERA) is the batting average of those stats. ERA is how many earned runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings, and anything under 4.00 is pretty good while anything under 3.00 is very good and anything under 2.00 is bordering on sick. So here is a list of your Top 10 active pitchers in ERA:

1. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (2.28)—You want to know why this guy comes in and shuts the door every time he’s brought in for a save? Look no further than this statistic. Mo has been the most dominant closer in the game for over a decade and shows no signs of slowing down.

2. Pedro Martinez, free agent (2.91)—Sure, he’s not the same guy he was in Boston or even Montreal, but Pedro’s a gamer and it’s hard to believe he still isn’t on a major league roster right now.

3. Johan Santana, New York Mets (3.10)—You have to watch this guy work to fully appreciate his art of pitching. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but he locates all his pitches beautifully and his change-up sometimes makes batters swing out of their shoes. He’s like a lefty Greg Maddux.

4. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros (3.14)—At 31, Oswalt has a lot of career left, and he has one of the game’s best fastballs.

5. Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres (3.26)—Peavy was rumored to be traded to the Cubs about 12 times in this past off-season. If you close your eyes, you can someday picture him in Yankee pinstripes.

5. John Smoltz, Boston Red Sox (3.26)—One of the game’s good guys, and as a Mets’ fan, that is not easy for me to say. I’m just glad he’s now in the American League.

7. Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks (3.27)—At 30, Webb is another of the game’s bright young stars and he’ll be in contention for many more Cy Young Awards.

7. Randy Johnson, San Francisco Giants (3.27)—The Big Unit is 45 years old and creeping up on 300 wins. And yeah, he’s racked up an incredible 4801 strikeouts. But his 3.27 ERA over 22 seasons is just awesome.

9. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (3.50)—Is it possible that Carlos Zambrano is only 28 years old? Yes, and he’s going to be dominant for quite some time.

10. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (3.48)—He’s battled injuries, but when he’s on top of his game, Hudson is one of the best in the game. And he turned out to be the best among that awesome young trio in Oakland that included Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.

Source: Baseball Reference

Diamondbacks place Webb on the DL


After missing his second start, Brandon Webb has officially been placed on the 15-day DL. Though the move is retroactive to April 7th, Webb will still miss his next start.

Brandon Webb still is not concerned about his right shoulder, but the D-backs ace is on the 15-day disabled list.

The team elected to put him on the DL, retroactive to April 7, after he still felt some soreness in his shoulder while playing catch Sunday morning.

“I want to make sure we’re 100 percent when I go back out there,” Webb said.
The right-hander began feeling some stiffness following his final start of the spring. He was roughed up a bit on Opening Day, as he allowed six runs in four innings to the Rockies.

Webb was scratched from his next start, which would have been Saturday against the Dodgers, and a precautionary MRI showed no structural damage. The diagnosis from team physician Michael Lee was that Webb was suffering from bursitis, and some fluid in the shoulder might not be allowing for full range of motion.

The Diamondbacks kicked off the 2009 season in their usual mediocre fashion. Webb, who has only once been placed on the DL in his entire career, did not look his usual self in the D-backs opener against the Rockies. The former Cy Young winner doesn’t seem too concerned, however, which is great for Arizona’s flimsy pitching staff.

Still — come on Brandon! I took you in the second round of my fantasy league based on the fact that you’re a 20-win pitcher who never gets hurt. Pair that with Geovany Soto’s recent ailments and I’m getting killed. Come back soon — if not for the Arizona Diamondbacks, then for me.

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