Saturday, March 28, 2009

NL West preview: Infield

Here's my first in a series of previews for the NL West. Today I'll look at catcher, 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop, and 3rd base. I'll rank each player while trying to remain unbiased! (Not always easy...).

1. Russell Martin - Dodgers

2. Chris Iannetta - Rockies
3. Bengie Molina - Giants

4. Chris Snyder - Diamondbacks

5. Nick Hundley - Padres

Martin may wear down in the 2nd half of the year, but he still does a lot for the Dodgers. In addition to handling a staff with a good ERA, he has a good OBP and can steal 20 bases. Iannetta is a riser based on his flashes of power he showed in limited AB's last season. For those of you that watched the World Baseball Classic, you saw how good he could be. Molina had 16 HR and 95 RBI pretty quietly last season. He still can get the job done.

1st Base
1. Adrian Gonzalez - Padres

2. James Loney - Dodgers

3. Todd Helton - Rockies

4. Chad Tracy - Diamondbacks

5. Travis Ishikawa - Giants

Gonzalez is far and away the top player here. He continues to put up power numbers (36 and 119 last year) in a pitcher's ballpark. That plus his team around him really sucks. Loney had 90 RBI despite only 13 HR. Don't expect power numbers from him, but he can hit over .300. Helton came off an injury-plagued year because of his back, and who knows if he'll ever be the same. If he is healthy, he can still give the Rockies good AB's.

2nd Base
1. Felipe Lopez - Diamondbacks

2. Orlando Hudson - Dodgers

3. Clint Barmes - Rockies
4. David Eckstein - Padres

5. Kevin Frandsen - Giants

This is easily the weakest position, and barely worth talking about. Lopez and Hudson have each seen better days, but could also rebound this season if things go well. Barmes is still a good play at Coors, but definitely not on the road. Eckstein's best years are well behind him.

1. Troy Tulowitzki - Rockies

2. Rafael Furcal - Dodgers

3. Stephen Drew - Diamondbacks

4. Edgar Renteria - Giants

5. Luis Rodriguez - Padres

A torn quadriceps ruined last season for Tulowitzki, but when healthy in 2007, he posted 24 and 99. Give him the benefit of the doubt that he can return to those numbers with a clean bill of health and that darn ballpark. Furcal has been in and out of the lineup for the last 2 years, but when he's in, it's all good. A great combination of power and speed for an improved Dodgers' lineup. Drew can become a better hitter with more patience and less hacking, but can still hit 25 homers.

3rd Base
1. Garrett Atkins - Rockies

2. Mark Reynolds - Diamondbacks

3. Casey Blake - Dodgers

4. Kevin Kouzmanoff - Padres

5. Pablo Sandoval - Giants

Atkins has slowly regressed since his big 2006, and injuries are a concern. He gets the slight edge over Reynolds only because Reynolds strikes out and commits errors like it's his second job. Blake and Kouzmanoff are close to a wash, but Blake is in a better lineup to produce more. Sandoval hit .345 in 145 AB's last year, so he could shoot up the list. Or he could stay put if it was just a fluke.


Sam Stone said...

Pretty good list, but I think Troy Tulawitzki is a bit too high on this list.


LA Apts

Aaron said...

Ya I think Tulo-Raffy-Drew can all switch spots during the season. If the first 2 can stay healthy then they're really good, and Drew needs to be more selective as he gets more experience. I think playing in Coors is what gave the edge to him in my mind, but it could go many ways.