NL WEST PREVIEW
The NL West was won by Seattle last season. They changed the team name from the Mariners to the Boo-Yahs(in memory of the last...great Stuart Scott from ESPN) . That alone has gained my utmost respect . I am a little bias toward bbwinksdaddy, as we both are going through/ went through various forms of Cancer. We have to stick together :) I do think Seattle will repeat as division champs this season. I think they will also better the record of 92-70 they had last season. They will be tested at times from Salt Lake City, but that is just about all in the division. Scottsdale lost many key players this off season. Colorado Springs is still floating around in the "mountain air" in Colorado.
Seattle won the division last season. They did lose Bradley ( 40 HRS 113 RBI'S) to free agency. They also lost Halter ( 18 HRS 71 RBI'S) Espinoza (21 HRS RBI'S) Terry (52 innings 3.02 ERA) and Slocumb (13-14 220 innings) last season. They managed to replaced the missing parts with Cousins (21 HRS 55 RBI'S) Vizcaino (9 HRS 52 RBI's and very good defense) Takahashi (28 HRS 86 RBI'S) and promoted stud prospect Patton ( 14-6 214 innings in AAA) . The team still has Jackson ( 27 HRS 84 RBI'S) Matos ( 33 HRS 89 RBI'S) Merritt (14 HRS 61 RBI'S) Aquino 12-16 230 innings) Estrella ( 17-5 210 innings) Wall ( 11-6 215 innings) and Hernandez 5-6 37 for 41 in save chances. The starting rotation will continue to eat many innings. I think they will have another fine year.
PREDICTION 95-67 FIRST PLACE!
SALT LAKE CITY UTES
Salt Lake City is coming off a 83-79 season. Last season they were lead by black ( 28 HRS 100 RBI'S) Burke ( 28 HRS 86 RBI'S) Coleman ( 37 HRS 102 RBI'S) Limon (19 HRS 65 RBI'S) Millwood (41 HRS 97 RBI'S) Pan ( 25 HRS 67 RBI'S) BOYD (11-13 243 innings) and Villa 19-9 215 innings) .Boyd had a sparkling ERA of 2.43 so he should have had a better record last season. With ample run support 20 wins is not out of reach for him this season. Baez was 29 for 32 in saves as well last season. He will remain a solid piece of the bullpen for Salt Lake City this season as well. They signed Ozuna (28 HRS 91 RBI'S) I think the key addition this off season was Soriano (8-9 15 for 19 in saves) He could be the closer, or a set up guys who pitches a ton of innings. I almost for got Martinez 9 13-12 218 innings last season. They have a solid rotation that will keep the bullpen fresh.
PREDICTION 88-74 SECOND PLACE!
Scottsdale finished last season 78-84. The Bourbon drinking, hooker pleasing , flu fighting, over worked owner is back for another go around this season. Scottsdale lost many key players to free agency this off season. They managed to sign a few pitchers off the rule 5 draft to help fill some holes. They lost Okajima (33 HRS 97 RBI'S) Greenwood (25 HRS 87 RBI'S ) Collins (7-13 198 innings) Krause ( 3-2 48 innings) Lawrence (4-5 79 innings) Jefferies ( 7-6 5 for 7 in saves 80 innings) and Rivera ( 5-2 90 innings). They shocked the world by trading 5 time fireman of the year Yoshi (37 for 39 in saves). That right there is a big hole to fill. They still have Gruber (11-7 184 innings) Schmidt (10-11 198 innings) and Hughes (12-9 192 innings) They snatched Simon ( 5-2 4 for 5 in saves in AA) Osuna ( 3-1 73 innings in AAA) and Ramirez 5-2 75 innings) in the rule 5 draft. The signing of defensive catcher Cervelli will help the pitching staff out. I think they lost way too many key players to rebound this season.
PREDICTION 75-87 THIRD PLACE!
COLORADO SPRINGS BANDITS
Colorado is coming off a 4th place 62-100 season. They did manage to get some decent pieces in the off season. Uehara (11-2 95 innings) Alomar 2-2 4 for 5 in saves in 25 innings) Olivares ( 15 HRS 44 RBI'S very good defense) James (7-4 in 134 innings) Wainhouse (9-5 154 innings) and Pedersen (11-6 in 164 innings in AAA) . They also promoted Rauch (24 HRS 89 RBI'S) and traded for injury prone Early ( 9 HRS 44 RBI'S) . Early hits the cover off the ball when he is in the line up...The problem is the ball boy spends more time on the field than Early does. If he can stay healthy he could be a nice addition. Colorado Springs also trade Scott (17 HRS 50 RBI'S....already blew up his hamstring for the new team) They lost Brea (7-1 82 innings ERA over 7) Alomar (4-12 25 for 33 in saves) and traded Almonte ( 28 HRS 89 RBI'S) during the off season. The division is not going to be nice to them this season. They will look good at times this season. All in all I see another fourth place finish again this season.
PREDICTION 66-96 FOURTH PLACE!