Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 Predictions: NL West

As Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. These predictions for upcoming season are going to be pretty quick and dirty. You don't want to spend a lot of time reading them anyway, do you? Unlike other prognosticators, though, I'll revisit these to see how badly I did.

Since baseball games are the product of runs scored and runs allowed, I'm going to focus on those two metrics in developing my 2014 predictions. The NL Central is here. The NL East is here. And here's the American League WestCentral, and East.

Los Angeles Dodgers - 92-70 in 2013, 4.0 runs scored per game (15th in MLB), 3.6 runs allowed per game (3rd in MLB): They're returning pretty much the same lineup as last year, with Cuban import Alex Guerrero taking over at second at some point and Dan Haren added to the rotation. This could be a really strong team if Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp can stay healthy and Juan Uribe and Yasiel Puig can be as good as last year. Do you think that's possible? I don't. Prediction: More runs scored and allowed, 94-68.

Arizona Diamondbacks - 81-81, 4.2 runs scored per game (14th in MLB), 4.3 runs allowed per game (21st in MLB): Can they keep their streak of finishing with an exactly .500 record, where they finished in 2012 and 2013 intact? I don't think so. They were lucky last year (as I pointed out here, their 34-21 record in one-run games was the best in the league last year, and that figure tends to drift toward .500). They're moving their best defensive outfielder, Gerardo Parra, to the bench in order to get Mark Trumbo's bat in the lineup. And their big free agent pickup, Bronson Arroyo, has a bulging disk. Prediction: Same number of runs scored, more allowed,  78-84.

San Diego Padres - 76-86, 3.8 runs scored per game (23rd in MLB), 4.3 runs allowed per game (20th in MLB): I don't have a great feeling. 1B Yonder Alonso has hit 11 HR per 600 plate appearances in his career. LF Carlos Quentin and SP Josh Johnson are trips to the disabled list waiting to happen. Here are 3B Chase Headley's home run totals the past five years: 12, 11, 4, 31, 13. Can you spot the fluke?  At least they presumably won't lose their shortstop, Everth Cabrera, to the Biogenesis scandal again this year. Prediction: Fewer runs scored and allowed, 77-85.

San Francisco Giants - 76-86, 3.9 runs scored per game (21st in MLB), 4.3 runs allowed per game (19th in MLB): The Padres and Giants both play in pitchers' parks, so their below-average rankings in runs allowed says a lot about their key problem, pitching. The Giants added Tim Hudson, who's 38 and coming off a gruesome ankle injury, but he's been healhty in spring training. The rest of the team's unchanged other than the addition of Michael Morse in left. Morse was terrible last year (.215/.270/.381 slash line) and his best position is probably DH but he spent most of the season in Seattle, where everybody's bat seems to turn to mush, so he's a bounceback candidate. Prediction: Same number of runs scored, fewer allowed, 80-82.

Colorado Rockies - 74-88, 4.4 runs scored per game (9th in MLB), 4.7 runs allowed per game (28th in MLB): The team's offense will depend in large part on Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, clearly the two best players on the team, staying healthy, and 35-year-old Michael Cuddyer, the 2013 NL batting champ who had the best year of his career at the plate (yes, even taking Coors Field into account), not getting old. Brett Anderson, acquired via trade from Oakland, would seem to be a good candidate for success at Coors, as he throws a lot of sliders (a good Coors pitch) and generates tons of grounders, but he's in his sixth year and has topped 100 innings in a season only twice. Prediction: More runs scored, same number allowed, 77-85.

No comments:

Post a Comment