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Saturday, September 26, 2009

NL WEST: Season 6 Preview

Last Season: 76-86 (2nd)
Season 6 Prediction: 85-77
Losses: Daniel Wilkinson RP
Additions: Walt Sanders RP, Livan Gil 2B, Johnny Cambridge 3B

Omaha is a team of extremes. Their pitching staff finished last season ranked 1st in the National League in WHIP and 2nd in ERA. All five starters are back and each is under the age of 27. As crazy as it sounds, the staff should be even better this season with the free agent acquisition of Walt Sanders and a healthy Izzy Green in the bullpen. The other extreme is of course their sputtering offense. As a team, Omaha hit 119 home runs in Season 5, the lowest total in the majors. To put that into perspective, Albert Wall of the Chicago Whales hit 74 last season. The addition of Livan Gil to the lineup should help, but this remains a team who will have to win with pitching.

Last Season: 82-80 (1st)
Season 6 Prediction: 78-84
Losses: Howard McFeely SS
Additions: Jaime Helton 1B, Quinton Palmer 3B

The success of Honolulu this year depends on how quickly the young team can find their groove. Most of their roster lacks ML experience and it could result in a step back in the standings. They will have six rookies in the lineup, two in the bullpen, and one starter. To call this a young team is an understatement. The good news for Honolulu fans is that the rookies are quite talented. Jaime Helton 1B and Quinton Palmer 3B could very well finish first and second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. With some time to develop, this team will be a headache to face down the stretch.

Last Season: 69-93 (3rd)
Season 6 Prediction: 74-88
Losses: Andre Trammell C, Carl Gaillard RP, Tony Bocachica SP
Additions: Johnny Durbin CF, Socks Lansing SS, Bob Lankford SP

Oakland could be the dark horse in this division. They're coming off a disappointing year and have retooled at some key positions. Just prior to the season, Oakland pulled off a pair of deals with the Richmond Diamonds to acquire Johnny Durbin CF and Socks Lansing SS. It cost the Oaks some talented prospects, but there is no denying that Durbin and Lansing give them proven ML caliber players in two key positions. The Oaks also promoted starting pitcher Bob Lankford to the big league club. Since being selected sixth in the Season 2 draft, Lankford has plowed his way through the minors and appears ready to be a major contributor for many seasons to come. Going along with the theme of this division, Oakland is a team on the rise.

Last Season: 65-97 (4th)
Season 6 Prediction: 63-99
Losses: Billy Leonard LF, Pat Dunston RP
Additions: Fonzie Puffer 2B, Rico Mateo RF

San Diego enters the season at a crossroads. Like Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs", the team is becoming something. We're just not sure what yet. They aren't strong in any area, so I believe new owner Ewchippe when he says it will be a 3-4 year rebuilding project to turn things around. In the minors, Carlos Andujar and Dave Fischbach are well on their way to being future stars for the Aces. With some solid moves over the next couple seasons and the emergence of these prospects, maybe the turnaround will happen sooner rather than later.