The West is Not so Wild…The National League West: A Fan’s Perspective

As the Grapefruit League winds down and teams start to wave enthusiastically good bye to the palm trees of the Sunshine State, everyone delights in the curtain elevation for the 2012 baseball season. What will the new year bring to baseball fans, as they prepare to celebrate two annual fetes … baseball and the advent of warm weather?

Tim Lincecum.
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The New York Mets have been universally disrespected as bottom-feeders in the National League East, in the National League in general, and perhaps all of baseball. Most of these observers have been shown no evidence to the contrary, so they are to be believed until and unless a miracle emerges. The Mets have natural rivals in the National League West in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, teams they replaced in New York all those years ago. Every team in the West is more talented than the Mets. Here's a cursory glance at the West by expected position:

Los Angeles Dodgers - With apologies to the Giants and Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have spent the last couple of years playing below expectations…so much so that all the expectations are gone. They are far better than they've played. This year, Loney and Ethier return to form and join Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley as catalysts. Projected records: 91-71.

San Francisco Giants - Any team with this kind of pitching should win divisions. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are not enough alone, but there's considerable depth in the rotation and beyond. With Buster Posey back as a stabilizing lineup force, the Giants should flirt with first place all year.

Projected record: 90-72.

Arizona Diamondbacks - Sorry, it's just not credible this team can repeat. Last year, it was difficult to find any recognizable names on a team that never seemed to lose. They were opportunistic and poised all year. Back to earth is a term that comes to mind…can't imagine Ian Kennedy offering an encore. In fact, he might pitch just as well and be 11-11. Projected record: 83-79.

San Diego Padres- Wow, there's next to nothing here. The Padres are very, shall we say, Met-like, proceeding with lots of unproven talent, spending little. It will show. Projected record: 69-93.

Glenn Vallach has been a New York Mets fan since foolishly abandoning the mighty Yankees in his youth after Mickey Mantle retired. Since the fond, fleeting memories of the Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee years, he sits quietly yearning for a fraction of the success enjoyed annually by the team that inhabits the borough in which I was born…waiting and hoping…waiting and hoping.

Sources:

  • · Yahoo! Sports Los Angeles Dodgers page
  • · Yahoo! Sports San Francisco Giants page
  • · Yahoo! Sports Arizona Diamondbacks page
  • · Yahoo! Sports San Diego page
  • · Associated Press, Dodgers delighted by Magic move

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Updated Saturday, Mar 31, 2012