First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. I am super pissed Stephen Strasburg is not pitching in his hometown of San Diego this week. #FAIL Nats. Should’ve lined that rotation up better. Yet, where there is failure, there is opportunity. And so we shall look at the glass half full and see that out of San Diego’s loss comes Los Angeles’ gain.
Strasburg will now start in a prime time, Saturday night matchup with the Dodgers and Matty Kemp. He likes it when I call him Matty. Now, I suppose since I do REALLY want to see Strasburg pitch and LA is not that far from SD, I could drive up the 5 to check that ish out. But then, you consider traffic and yeah, no. Not happening. So, I’ll pull up a stool at a nearby local brewery house, pub, eatery type thing and watch the heavy-weight fight. Kemp v Strasburg. 50/50 v 100mph.
Let’s do some analysis (don’t worry, no WAR reports… grrrr…. grumble grumble):
2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (HITTING)
HR: 9 – Matt Kemp -1st
RBI: 22- Matt Kemp -1st
AVG: .474 Matt Kemp -1st
Hits: 27 Matt Kemp -1st
Runs: 17 Matt Kemp -1st
Note: I could go on, but you get the point. He predicted 50/50 (50 HR/50 SB) this season. He’s on pace for about 90HR currently. He’ll need to start hitting singles doubles and triples if he wants to get to 50 SBs. Currently on pace for 12. Run Matt, Run.
2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (PITCHING)
ERA: 1.08 Strasburg -5th
K: 25 Strasburg -4th
IP: 25 Strasburg -9th
Note: He could easily be first in both IP and K, but the Nats have Strasburg on a serious pitch count. 95 pitches and or the 6th inning seems to be about it.
Oh and by the way, this match up will also feature currently the two best teams in the National League, with the Dodgers leading the NL West at a 12-3 record and Washington leading the NL East at 12-4. It looks like it will be Chad Billingsly opposing Strasburg, but don’t rule out a possible Clayton Kershaw v Strasburg match up.
And poop on my Diamondbacks who are now below .500 and without Daniel Hudson and Chris Young for a few weeks. Not good.
Let me preface this entire post by first saying I lived 99.99% of my life in Arizona. My blood is thin. With that out of the way, it was freezing last night at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Temperature: 58 degrees. Wind: 12MPH, blowing from the West, aka the Pacific Ocean. AKA, cold as balls. It felt like 40 degrees.
I’m surprised the Arizona Diamondbacks were able to play under such severe conditions. And most of the players on the field had short sleeves on. What are they nuts? The Arizona bullpen was bundled head to toe in long sleeve jackets and hoodies. I always knew pitchers were the smart ones. And speaking of the Diamondbacks bullpen, another solid performance from them. Clearly, they are one of the strengths of this team. 3 IP, 4K, 1BB, 0 H, 0 ER, 1S. That’s how you get it done boys. And thank God, because if they had blown that lead and made us sit in the Southern Cali blizzard for extra innings I would have been pissed!
Chris Young continues to carry the D’Backs so far this season. Ho hum, just another homerun for CY at Petco, where he seems to hit one every game. Last night was a solo shot to extend the D’Backs lead t0 3-1, which against the Padres, is essentially 15-1. If San Diego doesn’t keep the opponents below 2 runs, they pretty much have no shot at winning. It really is sad. I feel bad for Padres fans. I’m just glad I’m not one of them.
Arizona is now 5-1 and heading to Denver to take on the Colorado Fossils. Daniel Hudson on the mound. Let’s get it done, DHud and make the good guys 6-1.
Here at WestSide Culture, we like to save the best for last. So, our final Cactus League Spring Training Preview will be the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last year, the D’Backs came from nowhere, pulling the worst-to-first rabbit out of their 59FIFTY caps. This year Los Diamondbacks have el gigante target (yo no se the spanish word for “target”) on their backs.
Arizona’s pitching staff is stacked like the dishes in my sink. Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter have all proven themselves at the big league level to be very, very good. Kennedy was in the running for the NL Cy Young a season ago. His record of 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA is downright disgusting. Others to watch on the AZ staff are prospects Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, who apparently has 9 big league pitches. Both feature top-notch, ace like stuff. Joe Saunders will eat up innings, probably some doughnuts, too. The bullpen is lights out with David Hernandez and closer J.J. Putz.
Expect the D’Backs offense, which finished 2011 ranked 9th overall in runs scored, to be even more powerful this year. Justin Upton (not to be mistaken for Kate ‘meow’ Upton) is an MVP candidate. J.D. Drew will be back from an injury which forced him to miss much of 2011. His bat, along with new D’Back Jason Kubel’s stick, give the Snakes serious venom.
NL Manager of the Year, Kirk Gibson, promises his team will remain hungry. I say, “If hungry is what they need, than let them fast.” D’Backs win over 95 games and repeat as NL West Champs.
Bet on it. Just don’t blame me if you roll Snake eyes.
MLB.com recently came out with a list of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks have 3 of the top 21 best prospects and they all are pitchers. It would have been 4 in the top 25, but the D’Backs traded away their best prospect, Jarrod Parker. Parker, the #8 overall prospect, was sent to Oakland in exchange for the former ace of the A’s staff, Trevor Cahill.
The top prospects in the D’Backs organization are as follows: Trevor Bauer (#9 overall in MLB), Archie Bradley (#20 overall) and Tyler Skaggs (#21 overall). Add them to the mix with dominating righties Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter and Daniel Hudson and you begin to see why the D’Backs are becoming known for their pitching.
Trevor Bauer is from North Hollywood, CA and went to UCLA. The D’Backs drafted him with the #3 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft and he has a very good chance of making the big league club this season. Find out more about him on twitter @baueroutage.
Tyler Skaggs is from Santa Monica, CA and was originally drafted by the Angels. Skaggs along with Joe Saunders were sent to Arizona in exchange for Dan Haren. Skaggs started the 2011 All-Star Futures game in Phoenix, along with Paul Goldschmidt. Follow him on twitter @TylerSkaggs23.
Archie Bradley was drafted with the #7 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, which along with Bauer, gave the D’Backs two of the top 7 overall picks. Bradley is all kinds of nasty and is big. He throws 98-99 MPH and check out this breaking ball. Unlike Skaggs and Bauer, he is just 19 and not quite major league ready. Bradley’s twitter handle is @archiebradley7.
These 3 players legitimately give the D’Backs 6 potenital aces, including Cahill, Kennedy and Hudson. Provided they all can stay healthy and the prospects live up to projections, Arizona has an incredible front line of arms, unmatched by the rest of the NL West.