Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2012 MLB Preview: Day 1 – NL West

Welcome to the Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2012 MLB preview.  Over the next week you will get a team by team look at its key players, new faces, their potential MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year candidates, their possible starting lineup and rotation as well as a quick summary.

For the second year in a row we will select a MVP candidate and Cy Young candidate for each team no matter what their predicted team outcome is.

This preview was sculpted over a two month period in the off season with some mild tweaking as we went along prior to publication.  It comes from a culmination of reading many baseball magazines, periodicals, articles and websites.

I hope you enjoy this look at the upcoming season.  I know everyone will not agree with me and that’s fine put it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.  I can assure you I’ll most likely have an argument for each and every objection that you could possibly raise.  It was a lot of work but a lot of fun compiling this preview and starting today we will take a look at the National League West.  The rest of the schedule follows with a different division being profiled each day and the final day will bring you my winners, my award selections and a list of managers who have a lot to prove in 2012 if they want to be on the bench in 2013.

Tomorrow you will get the American League West preview followed by the NL Central, AL Central, NL East and AL East.

To continue reading, click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

National League West

San Francisco Giants1. San Francisco – Manager Bruce Bochy (6th year/18th overall)

Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants looks on after being taken out by manager Bruce Bochy against the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Cubs won the game 6-0.You could almost list the entire Giants lineup as “key players” as they each need to have a good year for the team to succeed.  The starting rotation once again looks really solid and should help carry the team which at times will have problems scoring runs.  But when you team the rotation up with the back end of the bullpen and closer Brian Wilson they will be in most games and once again contend for the division title.

Key Players: 1B Brandon Belt; C Buster Posey; SS Brandon Crawford; P Tim Lincecum

MVP Candidate: C Buster Posey

Cy Young Candidate: P Tim Lincecum

ROY Candidate: OF Gary Brown

Key Additions: CF Melky Cabrera (Trade-KC); OF Angel Pagan (Trade-NYM); RP Takashi Saito (FA-MIL); INF Ryan Theriot (FA-STL); RP Clay Hensley (FA-MIA)

Possible lineup: Cabrera CF; Sanchez 2B; Sandoval 3B; Posey C; Huff LF; Schierholtz RF; Belt 1B; Crawford SS

Possible rotation: Lincecum; Cain; Bumgarner; Volgelsong; Zito

Arizona Diamondbacks2. Arizona – Manager Kirk Gibson (3rd year)

Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a solo home run in the third inning off pitcher Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Miller Park on October 7, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking to go back to the playoffs again after winning the division last year in Kirk Gibson’s first full season as manager.  Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt form a formidable 3-4-5 in the middle of the lineup while Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy form a nice 1-2 starting punch while newly acquired Trevor Cahill adds some rotation depth.

Key Players: RF Justin Upton; 1B Paul Goldschmidt; LF Jason Kubel; CF Chris Young; P Ian Kennedy

MVP Candidate: RF Justin Upton

Cy Young Candidate: P Ian Kennedy

ROY Candidate: P Tyler Skaggs

Key Additions: SP Trevor Cahill (Trade-OAK); RP Craig Breslow (Trade-OAK); OF Jason Kubel (FA-MIN); RP Takashi Saito (FA-MIL)

Possible lineup: Drew SS; Hill 2B; Upton RF; M. Montero C; Goldschmidt 1B; Kubel LF; Young CF; Roberts 3B;

Possible rotation: Kennedy; Hudson; Cahill; Saunders; Collmenter

Colorado Rockies3. Colorado – Manager Jim Tracy (4th year/11th overall)

Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies walks off the field during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 29, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.Lots of new faces in the Rocky Mountains as Dan O’Dowd went about business this winter reshaping the roster.  Trades with the Angels, Cubs, Rangers, Orioles and Red Sox brought in more depth and he followed that up with some free agents, C Ramon Hernandez and OF Michael Cuddyer.  It looks like a possible three team race with Colorado challenging San Francisco and Arizona for the division title.

Key Players: LF Carlos Gonzalez; SS Troy Tulowitzki; RF Michael Cuddyer; P Jorge De La Rosa; P Tyler Chatwood

MVP Candidate: LF Carlos Gonzalez

Cy Young Candidate: P Jorge De La Rosa

ROY Candidate: 3B Nolan Arenado

Key Additions: SP Tyler Chatwood (Trade-LAA); C Ramon Hernandez (FA-CIN); OF Tyler Colvin (Trade-CHI); INF DJ LeMahieu (Trade-CHI); OF Michael Cuddyer (FA-MIN); 3B Casey Blake (FA-LAD); INF Chad Tracy (Trade-TEX): INF Marco Scutaro (Trade-BOS); SP Jamie Moyer (FA-PHI); P Guillermo Moscoso (Trade-OAK); P Josh Outman (Trade-OAK); P Jeremy Guthrie (Trade-BALT)

Possible lineup: Fowler CF; Scutaro 2B; Gonzalez LF; Tulowitzki SS; Helton1B; Cuddyer RF; Hernandez C; Blake 3B

Possible rotation: Chacin; Guthrie; Chatwood; Moscoso; Moyer

Los Angeles Dodgers4. Los Angeles – Manager Don Mattingly (2nd year)

Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pumps his fist as he rounds first base after hitting a two-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.The Dodgers are still in a mass state of confusion as they await the sale of the team to someone who will hopefully restore the luster to this once proud franchise.  Manager Don Mattingly will be looking for some production from leadoff man Dee Gordon and the back end of the rotation in free agent pick ups Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.  Rookie C Tim Federowicz I expect will see significant playing time to see if he is the everyday answer behind the plate.

Key Players: SS Dee Gordon; CF Matt Kemp; C Tim Federowicz; P Clayton Kershaw; P Aaron Harang; P Chris Capuano

MVP Candidate: CF Matt Kemp

Cy Young Candidate: P Clayton Kershaw

ROY Candidate: C Tim Federowicz

Key Additions: IF Jerry Hairston (FA-MIL); SP Chris Capuano (FA-NYM); SP Aaron Harang (FA-SD); RP Alberto Castillo (FA-ARI); C Tim Federowicz (Rookie); C Matt Treanor (FA-TEX); 2B Mark Ellis (FA-COL)

Possible lineup: Gordon SS; M. Ellis 2B; Kemp CF; Either RF; Loney 1B; Rivera LF; Uribe 3B; Federowicz C

Possible rotation: Kershaw; Lilly; Billingsley; Harang; Capuano;

San Diego Padres5. San Diego – Manager Bud Black (6th year)

San Diego Padres' Jason Bartlett follows through on an RBI double during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, in New York.The Padres should once again struggle to get to .500 this season, they’ll have trouble scoring runs as the only real bopper is newly acquired RF Carlos Quentin.  With a new general manager it will be interesting to see if Bud Black can survive the year or does Josh Byrnes want his own guy in charge?

Key Players: SS Jason Bartlett; 1B Yonder Alonso; RF Carlos Quentin; P Edinson Volquez; RP Huston Street

MVP Candidate: RF Carlos Quentin

Cy Young Candidate: P Edinson Volquez

ROY Candidate: 1B Yonder Alonso

Key Additions: RP Huston Street (Trade-COL); C John Baker (Trade-MIA); SP Edinson Volquez (Trade-CIN); 1B Yonder Alonso (Trade-CIN/Rookie); RF Carlos Quentin (Trade-CWS); 1B Mark Kotsay (FA-MIL); P Micah Owings (FA-ARI)

Possible lineup: Venable LF; Bartlett SS; Headley 3B; Quentin RF; Alonso 1B; Maybin CF; Hudson 2B; Hudley C

Possible rotation: Stauffer; Volquez; Richard; Luebke; Mosely

Tomorrow: The American League West

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII

Photo credits: Getty Images, Getty Images, Getty Images, Getty Images, AP Photo

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