Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No Cal Surrenders Before Season Begins

Hot off of their fifth-in-the-NL-West prediction from Sports Illustrated, the Contra Costa Times (a Northern California newspaper) unveiled its predictions for the NL West this year. The CCT predicts the Dodgers will win the division. The Giants are predicted to end up fourth.

Here's their Dodgers team capsule (gotta love that "Mr. Hamm"):

MANAGER: Grady Little (2nd season, 88-74; 276-210 overall)

• 2006 RECORD: 88-74 (2ND NL West, lost to New York Mets 3-0 in NLDS)

• KEY ADDITIONS: RHP Jason Schmidt, LHP Randy Wolf, C Mike Lieberthal, OF Luis Gonzalez, CF Juan Pierre,

• KEY LOSSES: 3B Bill Mueller, OF Kenny Lofton, INF Julio Lugo, RF J.D. Drew, RHP Greg Maddux, RHP Aaron Sele

• FANTASY WATCH: Buy -- Randy Wolf; Sell -- Jeff Kent

• OUTLOOK: If the bullpen were deep, and the lineup had a legitimate power threat, the Dodgers would be a slam-dunk favorite. As it is, they appear to be the class of the division. Furcal and Pierre should wreak havoc, Schmidt and Wolf make the rotation strong from top to bottom, the legs are mostly young and the farm system can offer much help. The Dodgers not only should get to October, they should cause damage when they get there.

Projected lineup
SS Rafael Furcal Worth every penny in first year of 3-year, $39 million deal
CF Juan Pierre Think Dodgers will hit-and-run just a little?
1B Nomar Garciaparra Mr. Hamm revitalized his career
2B Jeff Kent Had lowest power output (14 HR's, 68 RBI) in a decade
3B Wilson Betemit Switch-hitter hasn't proved he can hit from left side
LF Luis Gonzalez Dodgers just need him to be steady
RF Andre Ethier Late-season fade probably not a sign of what's ahead
C Russell Martin Dodgers were 71-43 when he started

Projected rotation
RHP Jason Schmidt Imagine him starting a one-game playoff vs. Giants
RHP Derek Lowe Has had his best years pitching for Grady Little
RHP Brad Penny He'd be easier to like if he'd just stop complaining
LHP Randy Wolf If he's finally healthy, this rotation will be deepest
RHP Brett Tomko Repeat, ad nauseum: He is what he is

Projected closer
RHP Takashi Saito He's not Eric Gagne, but he's not bad


Unknown said...

That "key loss" of Bill Mueller is really going to hurt with all that production he gave the Dodgers last year.

Steve Sax said...

Right on, Steven. I suppose up north they are still quite fond of Billy M.