So, in celebration of opening day (part 2 – because there was meaningful baseball in Japan, remember?), the MLB crew at Aerys Sports have put our thinking caps on and come up with three big questions that will need to be on the mind of every fan of every team.
And, here at Snakes on the Grass, we’ve compiled the three biggest questions surrounding each of the other teams in the NL West. It will depend on how each team answers these questions, as to how the race to win the NL West will play out.
Here we go:
- Dodgers (courtesy of Elise Meyers, Around The Horn)
- UNDER. NEW. OWNERSHIP! Life is looking up again in Dodgertown. Just over two billion dollars was the magic number that rescued the Dodgers from Bankrupt Frank McCourt and sent the Boys in Blue into the arms of Los Angeles Lakers Legend Magic Johnson and baseball mogul Stan Kasten. In the words of @MLBJesus: “Let thy Dodgers be reborn under Magical skies. Amen.”
- Dodger Stadium celebrates 50 years this season! Fifty years of palm trees, California sunshine, organ music, Dodger Dogs, and one of our favorite men in baseball, the lovable and compelling Vin Sculley. Stay tuned for special events throughout the season including a 50th Anniversary Fanfest on May 19th with autographs from current and former Dodgers, DJs, comedy sketches, and fun for all!
- Star Power: Despite his extravagant 2011 league-leading stats (115 runs scored, 353 total bases 39 home runs, 115 RBI, 10.0 WAR) Matt Kemp did not land the title of National League MVP, but this season may be his second shot at the running. If it is any indication of his ability, he was the first pick of the first round in my fantasy league draft, favored even over Jose Bautista among a flock of Blue Jays fans nonetheless! Ace Clayton Kershaw has already given Dodger fans a run for their money in Spring Training. The 2011 Cy Young winner will look to defend his title in the upcoming season. As if defending his title as a SoCal teen heartthrob wasn’t enough of a job.
- Giants (courtesy of Mac, 3rd Street Kings)
- How will Buster Posey‘s return progress? (And, with Stephen Drew suffering a similar injury, Posey’s recovery should be on the minds of all Dbacks fans.)
- How much playing time will Brandon Belt get this season?
- Just how good will Madison Bumgarner be this season?
- Padres (courtesy of Tamara, The Oaktown Breakdown [Oakland Athletics])
- The Padres farm system ranked in the top 5 of almost every expert’s lists this season, how many prospects will make it to San Diego this year?
- Cory Luebke had a great rookie year although his wins don’t reflect his actual success. Can he carry his success last year into his sophomore year and will the team give him the run support to get the wins?
- When the Padres traded Mat Latos to the Reds they lost the ace of the staff, will Edinson Volquez be able to fill that void or will a new pitcher emerge as their ace?
- Colorado Rockies
- The second man to take the hill for the Rockies this season will be 49 year old Jamie Moyer. While he’s looking to become the oldest man to win a baseball game, he’s also looking at a long season of pitching in a very hitter-friendly ballpark at age 49. How will he hold up?
- Jeremy Guthrie is going to be heading up this pitching rotation. He’s a bit of a mystery. He’s moving from the power-hitting AL East and the slightly pitcher-friendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards to the less offense-driven NL West, but to the hitter-friendly Coors Field. How will his repetoire play out over the course of the season?
- The NL does not have the DH (duh!), but with Todd Helton ensconced at 1B, the newly acquired Michael Cuddyer (who played 46 of his 139 games in 2011 at 1B last year in Minnesota, 8 at DH and only 77 in RF) will be a full-time outfielder. How will he adjust to the change? Will his body hold up to the rigors and allow him to provide consistent offense? And, how will he adjust to his first season not in a Twins’ uniform?
And, in terms of what I felt were the 3 big questions that were going to be the keys to the 2012 Diamondbacks‘ season:
- How long will Stephen Drew be MIA? And, will the creative combination of two guys who’ve never been considered every day players (Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald) be able to form an every day player?
- What one earth is the outfield going to look like on a daily basis? Where will Gerardo Parra find himself most nights – the bench? left field? center? The Washington Nationals?
- Will the “career years” of Ian Kennedy, Miguel Montero and Ryan Roberts be a flash in the pan, will the “breakout years” of Daniel Hudson and Paul Goldschmidt end up being “career years”, and are the Diamondbacks going to get the 2011 Diamondbacks version of Aaron Hill, or the 2011 Blue Jays version?
Alright, everyone. Let’s play ball.