Ross Parcel
July 4, 2012
Mr. Fantasy Freak

        The NL West Will Once Again Run Through Arizona

At the beginning of the season, the Dodgers seemed to be the favorites to win the NL West. They got out to the largest lead of any division, and looked like they would run away with it. On the other hand, I didn't necessarily think they would keep it up. Their superstar, and arguably the best player in the game Matt Kemp, has had two stints on the DL, and Andre Either has also been shelved this season. Those are the only two players that can really hurt you as an opposing team. Because of their struggles to stay healthy, and just on pure talent alone, I am making a prediction: The Diamondbacks will once again win the NL West.
What I like the most about the Diamondbacks are its' rotation. The potential for greatness, not only now but also in the future, is very noticable. The way Wade Miley has stepped in and took the ball every fifth day is incredible. Last season, manager Kirk Gibson had to rely on starters such as Armando Galarraga and young Jarrod Parker to produce for them. Neither really did. This year they added Trevor Cahill, who has succeeded in the Majors in years past. They have also called up phenom Trevor Bauer, who has gotten his feet wet with two starts. Cahill has a 3.63 ERA and 6 wins so far this season. With the emergence of Ian Kennedy last season, and young Daniel Hudson who is on the shelf right now, this rotation looks like one that could hold its' own come August an September.
Adding Jason Kubel this offseason was a great move in my opinion. Being a Royals fan, I have seen Kubel play in person quite often with the Twins in years past and he can really hit. His .295 average is well above his .273 career clip. He has swatted 13 home runs and driven in a ridiculous 55 runs so far. What a great move! They have added him to the mix of young superstar Justin Upton and Chris Young, along with a young star-in-the-making Paul Goldschmidt, and they have all the pop they need. If Stephen Drew, who is finally healthy, can produce for them, there is no reason why they can't hoist up another division banner.
Kubel is hitting .295 with a team high 13 HR

Now I will give you reasons why other teams won't be able to overtake them, although they sit in third place at the moment. We'll start with the Giants. The thing that always drove the San Fransisco bus to success is the thing that is really hurting them: the rotation. Tim Lincecum's struggles have been well documented this season. He will have a few starts where you think that he is turning it around, and then he will fall on his face. This offense doesn't produce enough to win home run derbys. They have got to have their ace right to anchor the rest of the rotation. His 101 strikeouts give him a chane, but his 63 earned runs definitely do not. Everyone else, including Barry Zito is pitching well. But without the Freak, i don't see enough there.
The Dodgers really proved a lot of people wrong in April an May. After finishing under .500 last season, things really looked up. And they still will finish around .500, definitely an improvement. Dee Gordon already has 17 errors. Guys, this is the most important defensive position not named catcher out there! He has always had a hard time with errors dating back to his minor league days. Is his .228 average worth putting out there every day at short? I think some seasoning in the minors could help out this young player. He has a chance to be real good down the line. Mark Ellis is coming back soon. I would like to see some chances to that double play combo.
The Rockies aren't quite there yet. They have really fallen off as of late, and it looks like this might be a long season. However, hope is on the horizon. The young pitchers that mangement has been grabbing away from other teams has a chance to be special. Look out for an article about them in the near future. You obviously have the stars in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Charlie Blackmon is still young and Tyler Colvin is earning more playing time with his 10 bombs and .300 average. And prospect Nolan Arenado is coming quick.
The Padres are the furthest away from contention at this point. They traded for Edison Volquez, which will help them down the road. I see him as a possible ace. Add in injured pitchers Andrew Cashner and Cory Luebke, along with quietly successful Clayton Richard, and the Friars have the makings for a respectable staff. They are obviously counting on Yasmani Grandal and whoever they get back for Carlos Quentin at the trade deadline to produce, and soon. Two years from now, this team could surprise some people.
I went through all the teams in the NL West and gave you reasons why the top team come October will be the Diamondbacks. The only teams I see contending in this division are them, San Fransisco and Los Angeles. This division has been a little soft dating back to when the Padres won it in 2006. Look out for an interesting finish between the top three teams though, with Arizona coming out on top.

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