Most, if not all of us here at Venomstrikes think the Arizona Diamondbacks will be in for some big things during the upcoming 2012 season. This is not because we write a site dedicated to them. There are legitimate reasons why we feel this team could be special, from Justin Upton, to the depth of the pitching staff to the outstanding 1-2 management punch of Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers. Oh, and don’t forget they won 94 games and the National League West in 2011. Yet, it would be fun to offer an opposing view, one that has the D-Backs crashing back down to Earth, something along the lines of a. 82-80 record and third place in the division. It would go something like this.
The division will be stronger. The San Francisco Giants were World Series Champions two seasons ago. They know how to win. Buster Posey should be 100% healthy and expect closer Brian Wilson to bounce back as well. There are is also those two starting pitchers, fellows by the names of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the 2nd half a strong 41-28 and possess two of the game’s elite players in Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Hiroki Kuroda is gone but Chris Capuano could fill his void nicely. A bounce-back year is in order for former All-Star Chad Billingsley. So much went wrong for the Colorado Rockies in 2011. You can not discount a team with two offensive forces in Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. If their young starting pitching matures quickly, this team will give contenders fits. The San Diego Padres have wheeled and dealed the past two offseasons and the results could be interesting for 2012. Former All-Stars Carlos Quentin and Edinson Volquez are ready to jump-start the franchise to bigger and better things.
Production could drop for several players. We know Ian Kennedy is an excellent pitcher but if you had to choose between Kershaw and Kennedy to win 21 games again, who would you put your money on? Kennedy could still be a force and still win only 16 or 17 games. Trevor Cahill is nice but his career ERA was almost 4.00 pitching half of his starts in the cozy confines of the Oakland Coliseum. The health of J.J. Putz is always a concern. Opposing NL hitters may figure out Brad Ziegler the second time around. If Stephen Drew is not fully recovered from his ankle injury, Shortstop will be a concern for Arizona.
You don’t go from 69 wins one season to 94 wins the very next one without a good deal of luck. Some of that luck may evaporate during 2012 for the D-Backs. Arizona could still play well enough for 88 victories but that could very well result in a second place finish and out of the wild card mix this season. What we can say with certainty is that the future is bright for the team in the Valley.
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