I’ve finally reached the midway point tonight with the 82-80 Arizona Diamondbacks.
In what’s considered a pretty wide-open division (at least for the next few minutes right up until Manny signs), the Diamondbacks are considered the trendy and maybe safe pick for the NL West.
Any good points about the Diamondbacks have to start with Brandon Webb. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball and so long as he’s healthy, he’ll be in that conversation for several more seasons to come. Then you throw in the rest of the young talent including Danny Haren, Justin Upton, Stephen Drew and Chris Young and it’s clear why people favor the Diamondbacks to be a solid team again in 2009.
Mark Reynolds accomplished a rare feat last year, leading the league in strikeouts and errors. Can you name the last player to lead the league in both categories in the same season?
3B Mark Reynolds is a strikeout machine. If I’m not mistaken, the Brewers (Rob Deer) and Indians (Cory Snyder) of the 1980s found out that a good power hitter who strikes out every other time he struts up tot the plate isn’t a recipe for success. I’m also not too high on Chad Qualls at the closer position. He’s done well for his career out of the pen and had some success last year for the Dbacks, but I’m not convinced Qualls can hang onto the lead 40 times a season for a contender.
For a team with so much talent last year, 82-80 wasn’t really a good record. Now the Diamondbacks are faced with a new season sans Orlando Hudson, Randy Johnson, Brandon Lyon, Adam Dunn and (presumably) Juan Cruz. On the other hand, Arizona brought Jon Garland, 41 year old Tom Gordon and the always moving (teams) Felipe Lopez in. Sure there’s enough talent here to be competitive in this division again, but if you want to know what’s wrong with Arizona for 2009, all you have to do is look at the Giants, Dodgers and Rockies, all of which made major moves (for better or worse) as an effort to win.
Zoilo Versailles had one of the strangest seasons on record in 1965 for the Twins. Versailles led the league with 122 strikeouts and 39 errors. He also managed to win the MVP and Gold Glove that year.
Based on the teams as they sit currently (I.e., Dodgers without Manny Ramirez), I think the Diamondbacks are the third best team in the division. On any given day (especially when Webb starts) they could be the best team in the division, but Webb and Haren can’t start 162 games, this isn’t 1909.
3rd Place, NL West, 80-82
Zoilo Versailles: http://www.facebook.com/people/Zoilo-Versailles/577849633