When jzak and I started dividing these previews up, I snagged the AL East first because it is my favorite division, but I was hoping the NL West would come back to me.
The Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are supremely talented teams and two of my favorite sleeper picks also reside in this division.
I’m snagging San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and San Diego Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks in almost every draft. Why? they both have the power.
Let’s take a look at Sanchez’s team, Blanks’ team and the rest of the NL West (teams are ranked in order of fantasy strength):
Colorado Rockies: Picking one team out of this division was tough, but Colorado is oozing with talent. Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Brad Hawpe and Ian Stewart are only part of the equation. Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge de la Rosa and Jeff Francis will all be factors as starting pitchers and Huston Street is a plus closer when he’s healthy.
Diamondbacks: If Brandon Webb was healthy, it would be hard keep the Diamondbacks off the top of this division. Dan Haren is a top-10 pitcher, Edwin Jackson is just entering his prime and Arizona’s lineup is one to fear, too. Despite the fact we’re paying for a career year, Mark Reynolds is a supreme talent. Add Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Stephen Drew to post-hyper Chris Young and you have yourself the potential for a monster offensive team.
Dodgers: If Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier had more talent around them, or if Manny Ramirez hadn’t been de-roided last season, the Dodgers would get a higher rank. Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley are two of the brightest young pitchers in the game. Jonathan Broxton is a K machine at closer.
Padres: Ranked the Padres ahead of the Giants because they have far more offensive talent. Hitters play every day and pitchers typically only throw once every five days. Blanks is one of my faves for 2010. He isn’t the only late round target, though. Speedster Everth Cabrera, though he’s terrible at most everything else, could steal 40 bags easy this season. Will Venable, a 15-15 threat entering the spring, leads the Padres with four spring homers and nine spring steals. Chase Headley’s also an interesting upside pick late. Beyond closer Heath Bell, their pitching is shaky.
Giants: Quick, name three Giants hitters not named Pablo Sandoval… Time’s up. Not only is that an example of their lack of offensive talent, it’s a reason to be cautious when picking Sandoval. It’s hard to drive people in when nobody’s on base and it’s equally hard to hit homers if nobody’s pitching to you. However, San Fran’s got some arms. Sanchez paired with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain makes for one of the best rotations in baseball. Closer Brian Wilson, is an easy target for value hunters as well. He never gets picked as highly as he should.
The NL West’s best:
- Fantasy hitter: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
- Fantasy pitcher: Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
- Fantasy hitting MVP: Ian Stewart, 3B/2B, Rockies
- Fantasy pitching MVP: Jonathan Sanchez, SP, Giants
- Prospect: Kyle Blanks, OF, Padres
- Sleeper: Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
- Bust: Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
For more division previews and rankings, sleepers, busts and targets, check out our 2010 fantasy baseball rankings page.