MLB: NL West Season Preview Mar 24th, 2008
By: Sportsbook.com MLB Handicapping
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MLB: NL West Preview
The NL West is the most evenly matched division in baseball with four teams having a great chance to come out on top.
The common denominator for each of these squads is strong pitching with all five teams among the NL’s Top 8 in ERA last year. Click here for a list of all the future odds at Sportsbook.com.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles is 3:2 to win the NL West, 6:1 to win the National League, and 17:1 to win the World Series. Their Over/Under win total is 87 games.
The Dodgers have a couple of big, new additions on the team, but the biggest upgrade is Manager Joe Torre coming over from the Yankees to replace Grady Little.
Torre will rely heavily on a starting rotation which was bolstered by Japanese signing Hiroki Kuroda. If Jason Schmidt can return healthy soon, then the Dodgers will have five solid starters. Offensively, L.A. is hoping that free agent acquisition, Andruw Jones, can jumpstart a lineup that features a good mix of veterans and young players.
Overall, it appears that the Dodgers have all the pieces to compete for a pennant, now Torre has to work his magic and put the puzzle together.
Arizona is 9:5 to win the NL West, 8:1 to win the National League, and 25:1 to win the World Series. Their Over/Under win total is 87 games.
Arizona won the NL West last year with a 90-72 record, but they certainly didn’t rest on their laurels in the off-season.
The Diamondbacks traded a number of good prospects to Oakland for starter Dan Haren, giving them a great one-two punch to go along with Brandon Webb. The offense only finished 26th last year in MLB, and while there were no big additions, they should improve with another year of experience for their slew of young players.
The key to the whole team could be the status of lefty Randy Johnson. If he can stay healthy, the team’s chances of success improve dramatically.
Colorado is 7:2 to win the NL West, 12:1 to win the National League, and 25:1 to win the World Series. Their Over/Under win total is 84 games.
Colorado had a great run to the World Series last year before being overmatched by the Red Sox. Can they do it again?
The Rockies scored the 5th most runs in baseball last year. Part of the reason was due to playing in Coors Field and part of it was because they have some really good hitters. The pitching staff in 2007 was a marked improvement over recent years, and they hope to improve again with a full season from number two starter Aaron Cook.
If Cook comes through in a big way, Colorado could not only return to the World Series, but this time they could be leaving as victors.
San Diego Padres
San Diego is 7:2 to win the NL West, 12:1 to win the National League, and 30:1 to win the World Series. Their Over/Under win total is 84.5 games.
Surf is up in Southern California, but Padres fans are more concerned about how their beloved team is going to do this season.
San Diego lost their final three games last year to miss the playoffs. To avoid a similar fate this season, Jim Edmonds was added to patrol centerfield and he will try to add some punch to a mediocre batting lineup. The starting pitching staff remains the gem of the team with Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Greg Maddux leading the rotation.
If former Cub, Mark Prior can return to the team in June and be healthy, then these 7:2 odds to win the division start looking a lot more attractive.
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco is 18:1 to win the NL West, 40:1 to win the National League, and 100:1 to win the World Series. Their Over/Under win total is 72 games.
The Barry Bonds era is over and while that makes the anti-steroids crowd happy, it doesn’t make San Francisco a better team.
Sure, you can make the case that Bonds was just a shadow of his former self, but he still had an OPS of 1.045 last year. The bottom line is that a poor hitting team just got worse. Fortunately, there is some good news on the pitching front with Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Tim Lincecum forming a very respectable trio at the top of the rotation.
The Giants finished 71-91 last season and in last place. Last place looks like a lock again this year, and their Over/ Under win total of 72 is looking overly optimistic.
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