One of the weak spots for the Padres is starting pitching. Unfortunately, it’s one of the strong points for the other teams in the NL West. To end the 2012 season, the teams in the NL West finished like this in the NL: LA Dodgers (2), SF Giants (5), Arizona Diamondbacks (9), SD Padres (10), and Colorado Rockies (16). Here’s how I’m projecting the starting pitching to do this season in the NL West.
1. LA Dodgers
Projected rotation: C. Kershaw, Z. Greinke, J. Beckett, H. Ryu, A. Harang.
The Dodgers added Greinke and Ryu this off-season, making their rotation potentially one of the strongest in the MLB. Ryu had a career record of 98-52 with an ERA of 2.80 with his ball club in the KBO in Korea. Greinke went 15-5 last season with a 3.48 ERA. Beckett is looking to bounce back from a dismal 7-14 season as he plays his first full season with LA. Harang had a decent season last year, going 10-10 with an ERA of 3.61. And then there’s Kershaw, a favorite for the NL Cy Young award this season. He went 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA.
Predictions: Kershaw: 18-4, 2.50 ERA. Greinke: 12-6, 3.25 ERA. Beckett: 12-12, 4.50 ERA, Ryu: 10-13, 3.30 ERA, Harang: 12-8, 4.00 ERA
2. SF Giants
Projected rotation: M. Cain, M. Baumgarner, R. Vogelsong, T. Lincecum, B. Zito
The Giants didn’t make any changes to their rotation and they didn’t need to after a World Series Championship. Cain, just like Kershaw, is on the list of potential Cy Young winners for 2013. He 16-5 last season with a 2.79 ERA. Bumgarner certainly emerged as a solid starter last season, going 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA. Volgelsong will bolster down the middle of the rotation nicely. Last season he went 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA. Lincecum is hoping to return to the Lincecum of old after posting a 10-15 record with a 5.18 ERA. Zito will likely round out the rotation after going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA last season.
Predictions: Cain: 20-4, 2.45 ERA, Baumgarner: 15-10, 3.15 ERA, Volgelsong: 13-12, 4.00 ERA, Lincecum: 14-8, 3.75 ERA, Zito: 13-5 4.20 ERA
3. SD Padres
Projected rotation: C. Richard, E. Volquez, J. Marquis, E. Stults, F. Garcia
The Padres are a mediocre team with a mediocre rotation. Richard went 14-14 last season with a 3.99 ERA. Volquez went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA and struggled with his control throughout the season. After that, it’s really a toss up. Marquis had a record of 8-11 with an ERA of 5.22 and will likely settle in in the middle of the Padres’ rotation. Next is Stults. He has a good upside after posting an 8-3 record with a 2.91 ERA. He’ll just need to be consistent this spring. Garcia, the veteran on the staff and a non-roster invitee, will likely start the season as the Padres last guy but could see that spot fade away as the season goes on. He posted a 7-6 record with a 5.20 ERA with the Yankees.
Predictions: Richard: 15-12, 3.75 ERA, Volquez: 16-10 3.80 ERA, Marquis: 10-10, 5.15 ERA, Stults: 12-8, 3.90 ERA, Garcia: 4-6, 5.40 ERA
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
Projected rotation: I. Kennedy, T. Cahill, W. Miley, B. McCarthy, T. Skaggs
The D-Backs added McCarthy from the A’s this off-season and he’ll likely strengthen the middle of the rotation. He posted an 8-6 record with a 3.24 ERA last season. Kennedy will be the ace again after recording a 15-12 record and a 4.02 ERA. Cahill could be a solid number two guy in Arizona after he recorded a 13-12 record and a 3.78 ERA last season. Miley is a young guy hoping to make an impact. Last season he went 16-11 and posted a solid 3.33 ERA. Skaggs, another young arm, will round out the rotation likely. Last year he only had a record of 1-3 with a 5.83 ERA but will be looking for a fresh start this season.
Predictions: Kennedy: 17-8, 3.40 ERA, Cahill: 14-10, 3.80 ERA, Miley: 15-8, 3.50 ERA, McCarthy: 10-11, 3.60 ERA, Skaggs: 8-8, 5.50 ERA
5. Colorado Rockies
Projected Rotation: J. De La Rosa, J. Chacin, J. Nicasio, D. Pomeranz, J. Francis
The Rockies had the worst pitching staff in the NL last season. De La Rosa was sidelined with injuries last season and only managed to post an 0-2 record with a 9.28 ERA. Chacin went 3-5 with a 4.43 ERA last season. Nicasio had a record of 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA. Pomeranz went 2-9 and posted a 4.93 ERA. Francis, a veteran on the staff, went 6-7 with a 5.58 ERA. None of the projected starters had a winning record last season or an ERA below 4.40.
Predictions: De La Rosa: 9-12, 4.50 ERA, Chacin: 6-9, 4.25 ERA, Nicasio: 10-10, 5.50 ERA, Pomeranz: 4-13, 5.00 ERA, Francis: 9-8, 5.25 ERA
With solid pitching in the top end of the division, the other three teams will have to figure a way to step up or they’ll quickly fall behind the Dodgers and the Giants.