Where’s the D’back advantage?
With almost half, 47 percent, of all games against division opponents this season, it’s vital to know what advantages you have against other teams in the division. For the D’backs, that means comparing themselves against the Dodgers, Padres, Giants and Rockies.
With that in mind, I’ll take a look at all eight fielding spots, the starting rotation, the bullpen and the coaching staff of those teams and rank them over the next month in NL West primers if you will.
This is the second of eleven posts as I take a look at first baseman. The catcher primer is here.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez had a bad year last season – a bad year for him. He hit .299 with 18 home runs and a 47 doubles and got on base at a .344 clip. Look, his power is now where it was supposed to be but 47 doubles is nothing to sneeze at. He also stayed patient at the plate and is a presence in the middle of the lineup. And there is always a possibility that he gets back to hitting 30 home runs a year. Even if not, he still compares pretty well to the next guy on this list.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt did pretty much the opposite of what I, and many, thought he’d do last season. I thought he’d have huge power but not get on base very much. Instead, he hit a solid yet unspectacular 20 home runs and got on base at a .359 clip. He did hit 43 doubles on the season and walked 60 times for a .359 OBP. The fact that Goldschmidt showed that plate discipline is a good sign going forward, though. Goldschmidt will hit more home runs soon. Will it be this year? Not sure. He may regress just a bit this year and hit 15-18 home runs with a little lower average. He may also hit 35 home runs with another .280 average, solidifying him in the second spot here.
This is another big drop off here in the division. And this is completely a gut call by me. I think Brandon Belt will have a “big” year for the Giants this season. Belt came on late in the year in 2012 and I’m betting he will continue it into this season with something like a .285/.350/.460 type numbers for San Fran.
This is another gut call but I like Yonder Alonso. Petco Park really depresses hitters’ numbers but Alonso is set for somewhat of a breakout year. He won’t have the power numbers to compare at home but his road numbers may be pretty impressive, giving him the fourth spot over the next guy.
I hate to do this, but Todd Helton is done. It’s incredible how long Helton has been able to play at a productive level but it’s about time for Helton to hang up the spikes. Helton only played in 69 games for the Rockies last season – but in that time he struggled. He only hit .238 with seven home runs. At Coors, those are not good. And it will probably continue into this season, putting the Rockies at a severe disadvantage in the NL West.
Second base primer will be out on Friday.