I thought I'd compare my outlook on the 2009 season. Toward the end of last spring. With my outlook on the 2010 season at roughly the same point in the year. I wasn't a member of TBLA or any other Dodger blog or forum last year. I didn't even know of their existence. So I certainly don't know what your projections for the year where. This is just how I felt.
As the last week of spring training 2009 was rolling around. I was very optimistic. I think it's hard not to be when your coming off a season that ended in October. Manny was back. Casey Blake and Furcal returned. I expected Kemp, Ethier, Loney, and Martin to all improve. I was disappointed that Dewitt didn't get a chance at second, but I was excited to have Hudson on the team. I expected Billingsley and Kuroda to have roughly similar seasons to 2008. I felt Kershaw would continue to slowly improve, and I expected Wolf to have a solid year. My hopes were high for JMac and I thought he was up to the task. While I liked Broxton for the closer role. I wasn't completely sold on him. Not because of the NLCS at all. I just wasn't sure yet. Kuo was a question that I never counted on. I hoped Wade could repeat. Beyond that I didn't think much of our bullpen. I didn't even know Belisario made the club until his first appearance. I thought we would battle with Arizona all season. But I felt we had a good chance at a repeat.
Well, I didn't see a 50 game suspension coming. The day after a record setting hot streak (always thought that was a little to much of a coincidence). Martin struggled to start, and never really went anywhere let alone improve. Kuroda went down day one, and JMac just couldn't throw strikes. Furcal wasn't quite what he was in the past, but we got him for a full year. Loney basically photo copied 2008. After Hudson's hot start, he reverted back to the basically the same guy his was in Arizona. Solid, but not quite who he was in Toronto. Billingsley didn't quite do what I hoped, but he was a big part of our success in 2009. Wade's arm fell off. Where these guys fell short. Kemp and Ethier proved they still had room to grow. Wolf and Blake had career years. Kershaw just.... well he was Kershaw. Broxton showed he was the real deal. Mota(eventually), Weaver, and Belisario came out of almost no where and turned up the jets in the blue. Along with all of that we got some very solid contributions for the fill in pitchers through out the year. These guys (I'm not listing them all) pitched a lot of innings, and were good enough to help give us the best team ERA in the league. Add to this several mid-late season additions. That may or may not have been necessary, but they helped the team. At least in 2009. On March 27th 2009 I did not expect the Dodgers to win 95 games. I did think they had a chance at another world championship title though.
Today I am even more optomistic. Manny looks like he got his swing back. Kemp and Ethier look to be in good form. I'm hopefull that Blake hasn't lost anything with his beard. And that Furcal can get some of his old self back. I see no reason to think that Loney won't at least repeat what he did the last two years. He may not be Howard, but i'm not saying no to 90 RBIs. We'll just have to see with Martin. I don't even know what to expect anymore. It almost seems like he just does the opposite of what I think he will (that might be good for the team). Same with Kershaw. I didn't think he could improve that much in one year. I don't know quite what to expect, but I'm almost certain I will be very pleased. I think Billz will be fine, and if he can finally get a change up going. He might leap into a whole other relm. If Kuroda can stay healthy I have no worries about his ability to pitch. Padilla...... well I really like his stuff. We'll see where he puts it. #5 starter(see 2009). I'm a little worried about the pen. But I didn't go into 2009 thinking it would become our greatest weapon. We're going to need a good one, but I think we can piece one together. He have a lot of good pieces they're just a little spread out at the moment.
I don't think the division change at all. Arizona under performed last year and over achieved in 2008, Even if they get half a season of a Cy Young Webb. I don't think it's enough. The Rockies did even less than we did. In the off season. Even at 100% I can't see Francis being any better than Marquis was last year. I still think they over achieved last year(maybe we did too). I can't see them winning the division though. The Giants have pitching........ and a few guys that like to swing the bat, but shouldn't. They're going to need Zito and Sanchez to figure it out it they wan't a winning record. 4th place. San Diego......... No. (maybe a thorn in our side, but no).
I didn't really address our bench. Mostly because It was kind of forgettable last year. I think we're improved. We might on occasion miss Pierre's speed(off the bench), but I think better defense will make up for it. It should be interesting to see if they Platoon Ethier at all and how much Manny gets rested. And how much time Belliard and Carroll really get. If DeWitt ends up starting. I really think, short a major injury to a starter or possible even two. We win the division hands down. You never know who might stumble, or get hurt, or suspended for 50 games, OR... who might make a giant leap in ability.
BUT...... that's just my opinion.