This is the picture for the Diamondbacks’ 2010:
Why?: This is the one team where the quality of the stars lost beats the quantity of the additions gained. The losses of Brandon Webb, Adam LaRoche, and Mark Reynolds are big as all three have played major roles in the Diamondbacks organization. Without LaRoche and Reynolds, the big strength of the team, it’s power, is considerably weakened.
I just don’t think that they will be able to win if they cannot score runs like they used to. Even if they do well in the pitching aspect of the game. I like the fact that they are trying to change the culture of the free swingers. Now if only they can get rid of Chris Young.
I do wonder how they will rebuild, though.
Predicted Record Range: 60-65 wins. Well if they won 65 with LaRoche and Reynolds, then they should win a bit less if not more.
Up Next: Nobody. Wohooo. Finally I’m done. Two weeks into the season isn’t that bad, right?
“So Donny, how’d ya think you’ll do in your first year”
How do You think they did?
Why?: Yet another team that lost and gained many players. Except as you can tell by the grade, they gained some more than they lost. They some power behind the plate and in the outfield but unquestionably improved their rotation replaced all the talent in the outfield and then some and stabilized their bullpen.
There is still much instability in what happens with the McCourt divorce case and how that will affect the team. Wow! Just as I wrote that sentence, a news story flashed on SportsCenter saying that MLB has taken over the operations of the Dodgers. This does have a bit of foreshadowing pointing to forced sale of the team. This to me means, the team is one or two years away from financial and emotional stability.
Until there is more news on this situation i have nothing more to report.
Predicted Record Range: 80-85 wins. I actually have little idea because they have talent to win more but as I said the whole McCourt situation is very enigmatic.
Up Next: Arizona Diamndbacks
This time they were just too far behind to get into the playoffs.
Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez, Matt Lindstrom, Joe Crede, and Willy Taveras.
Octavio Dotel, Jeff Francis, Miguel Olivo, Manny Delcarmen, Yorvit Torrealba, Joe Beimel, Melvin Mora, and Clint Barmes.
Why?: They are another one of those teams that lost a lot of players but managed to replace them talent wise. One example of the many would be that they lost Melvin Mora but replaced him with Joe Crede.
I have no real concerns or things that I see can elevate this team. One thing of interest will be to see how Chris Ianetta plays out as the starting Catcher now that Yorvit Torrealba is on the Rangers and Mr. Kidney Stone Miguel Olivo has left. The other thing of note is seeing how Ubaldo Jimenez does this year. Was the first half the real him or was it the second half.. I wish I would have paid more attention to why he did poorly in the Second half but personally I think if you can get six inches of movement on a 95-98 MPH fastball you will do well in even the MLB.
Predicted Record Range: 83-88 wins. I think that they got off to a bit of a slow start last year and can win an extra few games if they start quicker out of the gates.
Up Next: Los Angeles Dodgers
For every team that makes the playoffs there are 4.33 teams that don’t. The Padres were the first third of a team to not make the playoffs. Anyone remember how dominant they were in the West through the first part of the season and the team the Giants beat in the last game of the season to get into the playoffs:
Aaron Harang, Cameron Maybin, Dustin Mosely, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, Gregg Zaun, Chad Qualls, and Jorge Cantu.
Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, Matt Stairs, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tony Gwynn Jr., Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland, David Eckstein, Scott Hairston, and Cesar Ramos.
Why?: In this case, it is in fact the loss of one man that brought them down a couple of letter grades on his own. Let me put it this way, WITH him they had the second lowest Batting Average of.246 in the league and he hit .298. With him they had the fifth lowest runs per game and he scored 81 runs and drove in 101. The second closest player in both categories was Chase Headley with 77 runs and 58 RBIs.
I don’t know about last year but the year before last he drove in over 33% of the team’s runs. That is a big percentage in Basketball where there are 5 players that can produce points but even more so in Baseball where there are nine different players.
In addition to that they did lose a variety of starters to the offseason. I also think that they will still have their great bullpen but the starters will not do as well with an offense that might even be worse than that of Seattle last year.
Predicted Record Range: 70-75 Wins. All I have to say is that you can’t win if you don’t score runs.
Up Next: Colorado Rockies
Not much better than winning the World Series:
Though like many champions, the players wanted more money.
Why?: Let us just say that they were a few players away from an F. They lost 3 starters from their World Series team and also overpaid for some of the players they kept. The reason they didn’t get an F was, they let the right players go.
Renteria was overpaid and is still deteriorating (which kills me as he is a fellow countryman of mine). Uribe was also a good player to let go because of his absolute lack of patience. He is underrated as a defender but it is good that the Giants are trying to rid themselves of the culture that put them last in the league in OBP in 2009 and in 19th last year.I also like the fact that they kept Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. Even if they did overpay for them. The biggest thing all these transactions do is, enter in a new era of offense to win more championships with that outstanding staff
The Pitching will continue to improve. That’s right IMPROVE. The front three I don’t see regressing and Jonathan Sanchez can actually improve by just cutting down on balls. Barry Zito may or may not figure it out (he won’t be in the rotation but the pitcher I want to focus on is, Madison Bumgarner. Remember that last year was essentially his rookie year. The only thing I see getting in his way this year is how much he pitched last year with the unexpected playoff run. Unless this affects them, I actually see the Giants Pitching as well as the Phillies this year.
Predicted Record Range: 89-94 wins. Pitching wins championships but I see them not moving up that much because they lost all that offense (for them it’s a lot).
Up Next: San Diego Padres
Lyle Overbay, Scott Olsen, Matt Diaz, Garrett Atkins, Jose Veras, and Joe Biemel.
Joe Martinez, Brandon Moss, Brian Bass, Delwyn Young, Zach Duke, and Chan Ho Park.
Why?: The best way to describe the offseason is, eh. Not fantastic but not devastating. They lost some faces of the past and solid players but also gained solid players. Although unlike other teams, the Pirates gained and lost the talent in different places. They might have lost
some stability in the outfield but also became stronger in the infield.
Right now they are in the seemingly never ending stage of rebuilding. I warn Pirates fans that for this particular organization this stage will never end until they invest some into the ball club. What the Pirates ownership is doing at the moment is cost cutting and making money off of the league’s revenue sharing. This may be a way to beat the system and make a profit but it does not do them well when it comes to winning.
Predicted Record Range: 60-65 wins. Just put in the last part of my last paragraph of “Why?” here. The Pirates will not win until the ownership stops trying to beat the system.
Up Next: San Francisco Giants
They were doing well until:
From then on out not much winning.
Matt Garza, Carlos Pena, Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, and Todd Wellemeyer.
Tom Gorzelanny, Xavier Nady, Christopher Archer, and Mason Tobin.
Why?: I understand that the Cubs did give away a lot of prospects for Matt Garza but I don’t exactly remember the quality of those prospects so I will judge the Cubs’ offseason just by the number of prospects and the net talent.
They got: front-of-the-line starter, set-up man, power hitting lefty, outfielder, and solid bullpen pitcher. They lost: middle-of-the-rotation starter, solid hitting righty and a bushel of prospects. To me, this evens out to a B grade but again, I don’t know how good the prospects were so I can’t judge this that well.
Predicted Record Range: 77-82 wins. This is one of those overhyped big market situations… I think. They only reason I can see them improving is if the pitchers previously on the team (mainly silva and Zambrano) stabilize and become more consistent.
Next up: Pittsburgh Pirates