Thursday, April 2, 2009

NL West preview: Starting Pitching

Part 3 of my season preview will look at starting pitching.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb, RH

Dan Haren, RH

Doug Davis, LH
Jon Garland, RH

Max Scherzer, RH

It must be nice to have your 2nd starter as Dan Haren. Even with the departure of Randy Johnson to the Giants, this rotation is still really good. Webb and Haren are as good as you're going to get in the 1-2 spots. Garland and Davis have both done well in the past, but not so much now. Still, if one of them can put up good numbers, they'd take it. Scherzer was the phenom pitcher that came up last year who can be really good if he stays healthy.

2. San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum, RH

Matt Cain, RH

Randy Johnson, LH

Barry Zito, LH

Jonathan Sanchez, LH

I was close to slotting these guys in first, but I think the DBacks have a slight edge. Lincecum proved last year how dominant he is, and boy is he fun to watch. Cain seems like a guy who should be doing better, but just hasn't really broken out yet. He's still only 24, so that can change. The addition of Johnson is a good one, because with Zito still stinking up the joint, at least one lefty with a great past can still do some good things. Keep an eye on Sanchez, another young pitcher with great upside.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda, RH

Chad Billingsley, RH

Randy Wolf, LH

Clayton Kershaw, LH

James McDonald, RH

A lot could go right with this rotation... and a lot could go wrong. It depends on youth and health. Kuroda showed that he's a very solid pitcher in the postseason, so he's earned the Opening Day job. Billingsley had a breakout season where he showed the stuff of a staff ace. Wolf is back, and he's a high strikeout pitcher, and a high injury risk. Kershaw and McDonald have some nasty stuff, but who knows if that translates into getting hitters out consistently. If anything, they've shown flashes that it can happen.

4. San Diego Padres
Jake Peavy, RH

Chris Young, RH

Cha Seung Baek, RH

Kevin Correia, RH

Shawn Hill, RH

It's a little hard to believe that a staff with Jake Peavy can be ranked so low, but that's because 3-5 are big question marks. Young is a very good pitcher when healthy, which didn't happen at all last year. If he's fine, then that's a good 1-2 combo. However, that's where it ends. Baek, Corriea, and Hill all have some really ugly numbers. Playing in Petco Park helps, but the bottom line is that if you suck, you'll suck anywhere!

5. Colorado Rockies
Aaron Cook, RH

Ubaldo Jimenez, RH

Jorge De La Rosa, LH

Jason Marquis, RH

Franklin Morales, LH

Poor Colorado. It's practically an automatic that anything to do with pitching, they'll be near or at the bottom of the list. But, Cook and Jimenez really aren't that bad. Cook puts up good numbers without being flashy, and Jimenez has all the flash, just not nearly as much consistency. The bottom 3 guys either aren't good anymore, or never were to begin with.

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