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NL West Report: Preseason Prediction Audit After One Month

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I expect Los Angeles and San Francisco to fight it out for second place, with the Dodgers taking the surprising upper hand... I'm placing San Diego at a competitive fourth, hovering right around .500....Vegas has the Diamondbacks' line at 72.5 wins, which seems about right. Either way, don't worry too much about Arizona.

Those were pulled from my preseason predictions for the NL West, with the implication that the Rockies would win the division by several games. I also projected someone from the Giants' rotation to get injured, Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres to offer much less, the Giants' defense to be a weakness, and Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to bounce back. So after a month, so far, so good.

NL West Standings

Colorado 16 7 .695 0 Won 2
San Francisco 12 12 .500 4.5 Won 1
Los Angeles 13 13 .500 4.5 Won 1
Arizona 11 13 .458 5.5 Won 1
San Diego 9 16 .360 8 Lost 2

(updated 4.29.2011 at 11:41 AM MDT)

I seem to have overestimated the offensive additions in San Diego with the possible exception of Cameron Maybin, as I really thought Brad Hawpe and Will Venable would prove to be better weapons. With Mat Latos winless in 2011, some improvement there could make the division shake out as I envisioned.

Is it too early to pat myself on the back for predicting the division well? You bet. This may be the only chance I get to look smart, so I'm taking it. But I'm also sticking to my guns.


Divisional rival team capsules nach der Pause.

NL West Report

Arizona (11-13, 4th, W1, 5.5 GB)

Last Week: 2-4. 0-3 @ Mets. 2-1 vs. Phillies. 1-0 vs. Cubs.

You Should Know:  The Diamondbacks have lost just one series (St. Louis) against a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, they have won two series from the Reds, one from the Phillies, and split a road series with the Rockies.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.0 game to first place Colorado.

This Week: Finish 3 games of 4 games home series vs. Cubs. 3 game home series vs. Rockies

News: Daniel Hudson looked like a steal last season after his acquisition from the Chicago White Sox. 2011 hasn't treated the young right-hander as well. Peripherals suggest his true talent level is centered in between his 2010 and his heretofore 2011.

Daniel Hudson

#41 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Mar 09, 1987

2011 - Daniel Hudson 1-4 5 5 0 0 0 0 30.1 30 20 19 2 12 32 5.64 1.38

General Manager Kevin Towers admitted to manipulating the radar guns while GMing the San Diego Padres. Specifically, the organization made sure to mess with Brad Penny. Where's the outrage, Brian Sabean? Well, it's a prevalent tactic. It might actually be going on at AT&T Park.

Matt Williams has finally returned to duty as Arizona's third base coach. He missed about a month with a broken foot as a result of playing with his children.

Nick Piecoro caught up with one of the early Diamondbacks, outfielder David Delucci.

Transactions: Called up IF Josh Wilson (4/25).

Injuries:  Placed UT Willie Bloomquist (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list Monday. He is on track to return in early May. RHP Aaron Heilman (shoulder tendinitis) and LHP Zach Duke (broken hand) both threw 30-pitch side sessions Tuesday and should return sometime in May. Geoff Blum (knee) underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday and will be out until sometime around the All-Star Break. 

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Zach Duke hand 03/22/2011
Geoff Blum knee 03/22/2011
Willie Bloomquist hamstring 04/22/2011
Aaron Heilman shoulder 04/14/2011

Los Angeles (13-13, t-2nd, W1, 4.5 GB)

Last Week: 3-3. 2-1 @ Cubs. 1-2 @ Marlins.

You Should Know:  Andre Ethier has started all 26 games for the Dodgers and has a hit in all but the second game. That counts for a 24-game hitting streak, an MLB April record, and it is still running. Only one other player (Ryan Zimmerman in 2009) has recorded a hit in 25 of his team's first 26 games since 1977.

Divisional Change: Moved into a tie for second place in the division, yet lost 0.5 games to first place Colorado.

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Padres. 3 game home series vs. Cubs.

News:    Great news for fans in the NL West. Even after the MLB takeover, GM Ned Colletti will be allowed to make moves without MLB approval, as long as the move does not put the Dodgers over budget. That will become an issue in the draft, where Los Angeles has made a practice of paying above slot for strong first round talent (Kemp/Kershaw/Lee etc), but day-to-day moves will run as normal. Tom Schieffer just wants to help.

Writes Bill Plaschke: "It appears Colletti will be able to unilaterally make any roster changes within the confines of the current budget, with Schieffer acting as a gatekeeper only for those requests that exceed the budget." Of course, going over budget isn't a locked door. The Nationals got approval from MLB when they were under MLB control, and of course, there's that Cliff Lee thing with the Rangers.

Our own Troy Renck said the Dodgers "the Dodgers have become an embarrassment to the sport."  Tell me how you really feel. For other reactions around the country to the MLB takeover, click here.

Jonathan Broxton is struggling again, and the Dodgers are left confusing everyone about their closer situation. Maybe it will end up being Vicente Padilla. What? Do you really want to see Carlos Gonzalez facing an eephus pitch in the ninth? Actually...Padilla was used as the closer in the Dodgers' most recent game...

Jonathan Broxton

#51 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Jun 16, 1984

2011 - Jonathan Broxton 1-1 11 0 0 0 5 1 10.1 12 7 5 2 7 8 4.35 1.84

Clayton Kershaw could be in for a big financial windfall after the season. The Dodgers have a strong 1-2-3 core in Kershaw, Ethier and Matt Kemp, and Jon Heyman expects the Dodgers to find a way to lock all three up.

Perhaps the best source, after Bill Shaikin, for the Dodgers' news is TrueBlueLA's Eric Stephen.  Stephen did an interview with Colorado Biz magazine about the takeover.

Hey...what if Magic Johnson owned the Dodgers?

Transactions: Optioned C A.J. Ellis to AAA Albuqueque. Xavier Paul was claimed off waivers by the Pittsbirgh Pirates. Paul was DFA'd last week.

Injuries:  Activated C Dioner Navarro from the 15-day DL. Placed 3B Casey Blake on 15-day DL after being hospitalized with an infected elbow. Hong Chih-Kuo is on a rehab assignment with a back strain and has not been very encouraging. Juan Uribe has missed five straight starts with a tight thigh. OF Jay Gibbons (vision) is still on a AAA rehab assignment

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Juan Uribe thigh 04/28/2011
Jonathan Broxton elbow 04/28/2011


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jay Gibbons eye 03/26/2011
Casey Blake elbow 04/25/2011
Rafael Furcal thumb 04/12/2011
Hong-Chih Kuo lower-back 04/14/2011
Hector Gimenez knee 04/09/2011


San Diego (9-16, 5th, L2, 8.0 GB)

Last Week: 1-5. 0-3 vs. Phillies. 1-2 @ Braves. San Diego scored just 10 runs in their last two series (7 games). Five of those came in a 13-inning win on Monday.

You Should Know:   It isn't just PetCo Park. The Padres are bad bad bad at the plate. That team slash line .208/.289/.310 just doesn't play in any environment, and their team wRC+ of 73 in the worst in MLB.

Divisional Change: Lost 2.5 games to first place Colorado.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Dodgers. 3 game home series Pirates.

News: The Padres' rotation was supposed to keep San Diego competitive, even with a poor offense. The ace of that staff has not done his part, though. The Padres have lost all four of Mat Latos' starts, and he has only reached the seventh inning once. His last start was his "best," as he was charged with one earned run in five innings. However, he allowed a two-out error by Brad Hawpe to rattle him, and Atlanta blew open the chance for a five run inning (all unearned).

Mat Latos

#38 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





Dec 09, 1987

2011 - Mat Latos 0-4 4 4 0 0 0 0 21.2 19 17 12 5 10 25 4.98 1.34

Ryan Ludwick has been a disappointing addition in San Diego, but Ludwick's walk-off home run Monday helped Bud Black's club win their only game in the last seven days.
The contending Padres of 2010 look to be completely gone, and it won't be long before the Heath Bell trade speculation reaches full speed. Bell will almost certainly be dealt this season, but Buster Olney says the price for Bell would be steep right now.

Transactions:   Recalled LHP Wade LeBlanc and optioned RHP Pat Neshek to AAA Tucson (4/24). Recalled RHP Evan Scribner and optioned LHP Wade LeBlanc to AAA Tucson (4/25).

Injuries: Activated Kyle Blanks from the 15-day DL and optioned him to AA San Antonio. LHP Joe Thatcher will have exploratory surgery on his shoulder Tuesday.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Joe Thatcher shoulder 03/22/2011
Jarrett Hoffpauir quadriceps 03/22/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Baxter thumb 03/22/2011


San Francisco (12-12, t-2nd, W1, 4.5 GB)

Last Week: 2-4. 0-3 vs. Braves. 2-1 @ Pirates. It was a rough week for the Giants, who followed their thrashing at Coors Field Wednesday with a home sweep at the hands of the Braves. They then squeaked out a series win in Pittsburgh despite going 2-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the series.

You Should Know Ryan Vogelsong won his start yesterday, his first MLB win since 2004, a streak of 2,412 days.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games to first place Colorado.

This Week: 4 game road series @ Nationals. 3 game road series @ Mets.

News: Who saw this coming? Miguel Tejada has become a defensive and offensive and offensive sore spot for the Giants at shortstop, and the alternatives (Mike Fontenot, Emmanuel Burriss) are underwhelming. He has the 9th lowest wRC+ and 14th lowest fWAR in MLB. I mean, who would have thought signing a near 37-year-old (47?) shortstop with no back up plan could have backfired? Of course, Bruce Bochy is sure Miguel Tejada will hit. Sounds like the empty hopeful predictions from Troy Renck about Garrett Atkins to me.

Miguel Tejada

#10 / Short Stop / San Francisco Giants





May 25, 1974

2011 - Miguel Tejada 22 81 5 17 5 0 1 9 5 7 0 1 .210 .250 .309

One way or another, the Giants are sure to give Tejada a shot to turn things around by the All-Star Break. Brian Sabean isn't liable to admit a mistake this quickly. But come the trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal thinks the Giants will be players for Jose Reyes, Marco Scutaro or J.J. Hardy.
Barry Zito is no longer on crutches, but there is still no time table for his return. If Ryan Vogelsong pitches as he did yesterday, that might not hurt the Giants too badly. It will, however, mean less pictures of Zito's pornstache.
Jerry Crasnick tweets that Nate Schierholtz is being made available. And yes...that Nate Schierholtz. The right-fielder is out of options and Andres Torres will return soon. Of course, the more obvious course of action is to simply option Darren Ford.
The Giants won't be able to trade Mark DeRosa any time soon, as he just landed on the disabled list. The Marlins were kicking the tires on DeRosa before the oft-injured utility man was once again felled by his wrist. Such a trade would have relieved the bottleneck on the roster, allowing Schierholtz to stay longterm.
The Giants will no doubt option Ford, but eventually, Brandon Belt will be coming back to the bigs, making a Schierholtz deal almost inevitable.  Bochy thinks his line-up needs more left-handed bats, and Belt is hitting .429/.579/1.000 in his first 14 ABs in AAA.
Tim Dierkes examines Brian Sabean's offseason to-do list as related to the current roster. Six men will be free agents, one (Jeremy Affeldt) has a pricey option, and 11 will be arbitration eligible.
Tim Lincecum will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time this offseason. He's already making $13million, and with a 2.70 ERA, is primed for another big year. Jon Heyman suggests Sabean lock up Lincecum to a longterm deal to avoid a potentially huge arbitration award.

Transactions:   Recalled IF Emmanuel Burriss from AAA Fresno (4/28).

Injuries:  UT Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day DL with left wrist inflammation. He is out indefinitely. RHP Santiago Casilla (elbow) and CF Andres Torres (achilles) is rehabbing in Arizona and will return in the next two weeks.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Santiago Casilla elbow 04/01/2011
Barry Zito foot 04/17/2011
Mark DeRosa wrist 04/25/2011
Andres Torres achilles-tendon 04/10/2011