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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Will the Dodgers rotation hold up in the playoffs?


The MLB regular season will conclude in the next two weeks and we have a pretty good idea which teams are going to make the playoffs. Barring any hot streaks or horrific droughts, the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Rockies should all advance. (Perhaps the Twins will make a run if Michael Cuddyer keeps hitting like Babe Ruth.) While all these teams have the bats, ask any manager and they’ll tell you that it’s their rotation that wins a series.

Neither of these clubs currently have a perfect starting four, but it’s the Dodgers that should be freaking out. After posting the best record in the National League for almost the entire season, Chad Billingsley has been demoted to the bullpen, Clayton Kershaw has a shoulder injury (non-pitching), and Hiroki Kuroda is trying to right himself after taking a line drive to the skull last month.

The most consistent teams in the regular season — the ones with good records and rested bullpens — tend to have three or four pitchers with at least 30 starts.

When the season ends in 14 days, the Dodgers may have only two.

This month, the mix-and-match Dodgers have relied heavily on two starters, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla, who arrived after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. And the key starters Colletti mentioned have missed at least one start apiece in recent weeks: Wolf, Kuroda and Kershaw because of injuries; Billingsley because of inconsistent performance and waning confidence.

Twelve pitchers have started three or more games for the Dodgers this season. Twelve. That’s a statistic one would expect from an also-ran, not a near-certain playoff team. But Padilla and Garland have performed beyond expectations, with a 6-0 record and 2.65 ERA over nine combined starts through Saturday.

The Dodgers are very fortunate to have landed Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland. Though both were having mediocre seasons on their prior teams, they are shining with the Boys in Blue and may very will be the key to the Dodgers’ postseason success. Fans were initially skeptical about former Giants Assistant GM Ned Colletti coming aboard, but he’s proven to be the savviest general manager the Dodgers have had in years. As far as pitching is concerned, Colletti picked up George Sherrill, Padilla, and Garland late into the season — all have been solid. And who would have expected Randy Wolf to evolve into the team’s ace? Wolf, who previously played for the Dodgers in 2007, had his best season with the Phillies in ’03, then struggled to regain his prowess. Still, Colletti must have seen something in Wolf this past offseason because, with a 10-6 record and 3.24 ERA, he’s surprising everyone. Expect Wolf to start the first game of the NLDS. After that, it’s anybody’s guess who the Dodgers will look to.

Ten Predictions for the MLB second half

The second half of the 2009 MLB season has kicked off and with that, I’m going to make some predictions that are sure to be proved wrong in a couple months.

Feel free to whip out your crystal ball in the comments section but before you do, please do everyone a favor and take off your favorite team prescribed glasses and be objective for once in your life, will ya?

1. The Blue Jays will trade Halladay…to the Phillies.
Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is reminding everyone who will listen that he doesn’t absolutely need to trade Roy Halladay – which he doesn’t. But the bottom line is that he’ll probably get more in return for the “Doc” this season than he would next when Halladay is set to become a free agent after the 2010 season. And despite Ricciardi stating that he’s open to trading Halladay within the division, he’s not stupid. He’s not going to trade Halladay to the Red Sox or Yankees and risk becoming public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Jays fans for not only getting rid of their best and most popular player, but also trading him to a division rival in the process. In the end, I think Ricciardi will trade Halladay to an NL team and my guess is that it will be Philadelphia that will eventually puts a package together to acquire him. Although they might balk at the $7 million that’s remaining on Halladay’s contract, the Phillies are built to win now and need more starting pitching to make another run at a World Series. They also have enough appealing prospects to entice Ricciardi to make a deal.

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MLB All-25 and Younger Team

There’s a different feel to baseball again – a good feeling.

Yeah, I know – there are probably still plenty of players who are cheating. But at least the league is (finally) making somewhat of an effort to clean up its image and for that, we as fans have hope that maybe someday the game will be juice-free again.

Those who have watched their fair share of baseball this season should be reveling in how the game is getting younger again. Instead of teams waiting for dingers in order to score runs, clubs are bunting, stealing and manufacturing scoring opportunities – the way the game is supposed to be played.

After watching how the Rays won last season, more and more teams are building their rosters by developing home grown talent rather than signing big-name free agents (save for the Yankees, of course) and it’s making the game exciting again. An onus has been made on youth and speed and for the first time in quite a while, baseball is once again a young man’s game.

That said, I’ve decided to have a little fun by constructing an entire 25-man baseball roster (I’ve named the team “Team Youthful Exuberance”) by using only players who are 25 years of age and younger. Rules and guidelines for the roster are below so enjoy and as always, feel free to make an argument for any players that I might have missed.

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2009 MLB Preview: #10 Los Angeles Dodgers

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Offseason Movement: The Dodgers were mostly quiet this offseason outside of adding Orlando Hudson, Guillermo Mota and Randy Wolf. Oh yeah, and after 4,958 days of painful back and forth negotiating, L.A. GM Ned Colleti was able to re-sign outfielder Manny Ramirez to a two-year deal.

Top Prospect: James McDonald, RHP
The Dodgers have a couple of top prospects, including OF/1B Andrew Lambo and INF Ivan DeJesus Jr., but McDonald is the closest to making the big league roster. The club has been in search for a fifth starter all spring and they could tab McDonald for the role if he continues to pitch well in exhibition games. McDonald doesn’t overpower hitters (his fastball only tops out at 92 mph), but he has a nasty curveball and his command is solid as well. It’ll be interesting to see if L.A. gives the 24-year old the fifth spot in the rotation or sends him down to Triple-A for more seasoning.

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