Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 

Revisiting the Season Previews: NL West Shakeup

The news that Barry Bonds could miss half or all of the season makes me very angry, very sad, and slightly crack a smile at the same time. I am very angry, because I want to see him playing and hit homeruns and do everything that makes me happy to be a stathead. I am sad, because I fear everyone will now miss out on Bonds and start to devalue his contribution to the baseball world. But I am ever so slightly happy, because now the Giants will suffer the fate that their roster building has brought them to. For maybe the first time in my life, I think I am going to disagree with Peter Gammons, who said that the Giants depth will help them keep their winning ways. Last year, the Giants went 14-28 without Bonds in the lineup. They added Moises Alou, which will be a slight improvement (but not the huge boost some expect) and lost some offense with the addition (or should I say subtraction) of Mike Matheny to the lineup. I just don't see them playing at a winning level of baseball with the "improvements" to the lineup. Pedro Feliz has his uses, but he isn't Barry Bonds, and the team is built in a manner that coincides with having Barry Bonds in your lineup, so I just don't see it working. Maybe this will teach Brian Sabean a lesson in having young talent and using draft picks so you can save yourself with some in house callups rather than rely on guys like Vizquel, Matheny, and Alou when you want to support your star player. That way, you have a team full of real talent rather than one filled with "experience" meant to help you get along on the coat tails of Bonds. Then again, maybe Michael Tucker will save the day. After all, he was worth losing two draft picks.

This news means that the Dodgers and Padres will fight to the death for the division crown unimpeded other NL West teams. Let's take a look at the three lineups, sans Bonds.

LA Dodgers

1) Cesar Izturis
2) Milton Bradley
3) J.D. Drew
4) Jeff Kent
5) Hee Seop Choi
6) Jose Valentin
7) Jayson Werth
8) David Ross

SD Padres
1) Dave Roberts
2) Khalil Greene
3) Mark Loretta
4) Brian Giles
5) Phil Nevin
6) Ryan Klesko
7) Ramon Hernandez
8) Sean Burroughs

SF Giants
1) Ray Durham
2) J.T. Snow
3) Marquis Grissom
4) Moises Alou
5) Pedro Feliz
6) Edgardo Alfonzo
7) Omar Vizquel
8) Mike Matheny

The Giants have the better lineup in only one position; the leadoff spot. Bradley and Greene trump Snow, Loretta and Drew beat out Grissom (no knock against Marquis, he's just not a #3 guy), and even with more decline from Giles I'd take him over Alou at this point, and Kent definitely beats him out. The Giants lineup isn't pretty at all after the first 5 spots, and Feliz is trumped by Nevin and Hee Seop Choi (especially if there is a capable platoon partner for Choi in LA). If you want to talk pitching, the Giants don't really have the rotation to overcome losing the powers of the greatest player in all of the land. Jason Schmidt is Jason Schmidt, and I see improvement from Noah Lowry and Jerome Williams, but Kirk Rueter might have used up all of his luck and Brett Tomko will revert to mid-rotation Brett Tomko, not "I usurped the soul of the best month of Jason Schmidt's career down the stretch run" Brett Tomko. The Dodgers have their own pitching worries, but their lineup (and home ballpark) will help that issue, and the Padres have Jake Peavy to counter Jason Schmidt, and a better lineup to boot, along with their own little pitcher's park. If Bonds is not out too long, the Giants might be able to get away with it and stay in the race. If he really is out until midseason though, or the whole season, then its going to take some serious convincing to get me to change my stance.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?