National League West Predictions

National League West Predictions
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
March 23, 2006

Passan: Gazing into the crystal ball

Division Predictions: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

 MLB Division Predictions: NL West
Proj Team (Projected 2006 Record)
 1 Los Angeles Dodgers 88-74
Overview: Two years, two overhauls. Difference is, this one is going to work. New GM Ned Colletti had a lot of undoing to fix the mess Paul DePodesta made, and he managed to make quite a dent in one offseason. Three quarters of the infield is new, with Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra the biggest signings, and getting Jae Seo from the Mets for a pair of relievers was one of the offseason's best moves. If things look good now, remember this: The Dodgers might have the best farm system in baseball.
 2 San Francisco Giants 86-76
Overview: Looks like this is the last run for Barry Bonds and his Aged Marauders. OK, the Giants are younger this year, with Lance Niekro at first base and Randy Winn for the whole year in center field. Left-hander Noah Lowry has such a good changeup he could be among the 10 best starters in the NL by year's end. His development, along with Matt Cain's, is paramount, though neither will cover the Giants' gaping weakness: a bullpen that is rife for exposure.
 3 San Diego Padres 80-82
Overview: After winning the division last year, the Padres were swept out of the playoffs by the Cardinals in embarrassing fashion. That they made the postseason in the first place was a testament to the true horror of the West last season. GM Kevin Towers overhauled the team, and while the acquisition of Mike Cameron, Mike Piazza and Chris Young are upgrades, the rest of the division has caught up. One young player worth watching: second baseman Josh Barfield, Jesse's son.
 4 Arizona Diamondbacks 75-87
Overview: By the end of the season, the Diamondbacks will have Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, Conor Jackson and Chris Young in the big leagues. Justin Upton, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft, looked tremendous this spring and could force Arizona to bring him up next year. In the meantime, the Diamondbacks will live through another year with subpar pitching and an aging outfield with Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green.
 5 Colorado Rockies 70-92
Overview: So, the Rockies have some pitching. Aaron Cook's sinker is one of the best pitches in the big leagues, and Jason Jennings and Jeff Francis have shown they can win in Colorado. Now it's up to the Rockies' lineup – did anyone ever think those words would be uttered? – to hold up their end. Matt Holliday hit last season, as did third baseman Garrett Atkins, who has hot prospect Ian Stewart on his tail.

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Updated on Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 1:43 pm, EST

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