Fantasy Baseball: NL West Burning Questions

Jan 13, 2010

Now an early look at the NL West.

1. Will Chris Young continue to regress?
I’m not sure his average can dip any lower than .212 so I would expect that number to rise. Even if he gets up to his pathetic .235 career average, he’s useless unless he can get the HRs and SBs back. The problem is he didn’t steal a base after June last year. He did have 8 HRs in 108 September/October ABs (13.5 AB/HR). His numbers should be better than last year, but without a guarantee that he’ll get to at least a 20-20 level, I can’t justify taking on his average.

2. Can Troy Tulowitzki follow up his monster year with another one?

Absolutely. While he set the bar high with his .297, 101 Run, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB season, he already had a similar season in 2007. He absolutely punished the ball after the All-Star Break hitting .344 with 52 Runs, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 9 SBs in 259 ABs. If he can get off to a better start, he should easily have his best average to date. He should also have more Runs and RBIs. He hit a fair share of HRs and destroyed his previous SB total. I’m not sure he increases in either category. In fact, I expect him to steal fewer bases in 2010.

3. Will Jorge de la Rosa be a solid fantasy option in 2010?
I have no doubts that he’ll continue to rack up the strikeouts. He has averaged 9.17 K/9 the past two seasons. He was 0-6 through May and went 16-3 the rest of the way. What really impressed me though is how he got his ERA (3.39) & WHIP (1.29) in order after June. You may be able to get him at a value because of the Coors Field stigma placed on pitchers.

4. Will Manny Being Manny mean better numbers this year?

Manny started on fire, got suspended for steroids, and wasn’t nearly the same hitter when he returned. He still managed to hit 19 HRs in 352 ABs (18.5). What suffered the most was his batting average. He hit just .229 in September. He’ll turn 38 in the beginning of the year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll ever be that .320, 35, 120 guy ever again. He’ll still put up good numbers. He’s too good of a hitter not to, but make sure when you draft him, you’re not drafting him on name value.

5. Is Clayton Kershaw ready to become a star?
Kershaw did everything you would want out of a pitcher last year except win. His ERA (.279), WHIP (1.23), strikeouts (185), K/9 ratio (9.74), and BAA (.200) were all very impressive. However he managed to go just 8-8. With numbers like that, the Wins are bound to come. With a little more luck, he could double his win output in 2010.

6. Can Kyle Blanks hit 30 HRs this year for the Padres?
Blanks was impressive at times last year hitting 10 HRs in 148 ABs. While his foot should be healed for the upcoming season, I’m afraid 30 HRs may be too tall an order for the young slugger. Had he got more seasoning last year, it would improve his odds, but I still think he’s a long shot to hit even 25 HRs.

7. Will Adrian Gonzalez get traded?

Doubtful. He’s only due $10.25 million over the next two years. They still need to put butts in the seats so don’t look for Adrian to be gone anytime soon.

8. Will Matt Cain be overpriced in 2010?
Probably. If you’re drafting him on the 2.89 ERA he posted last year, you’re probably looking for trouble. While I think he should post a solid ERA, it will likely be at least a half a run higher in 2010. Even as brilliantly as he pitched last year he managed to win just 14 games. Even Tim Lincecum managed just 15 wins last year. The Giants just don’t have the horses on offense to win a bunch of ball games. What you’ll get is a guy who wins around 13 games, with a 3.30ish ERA, 1.25ish WHIP, and 180 Ks, which likely won’t justify where he’ll be drafted.

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