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Don't Fear The Giants. Fear The Padres

Dan Szymborksi released his ZIPS projections for the Padres and the Giants a few days ago.

The gist of it:

The Giants are pretty much screwed. They have one player, Barry Bonds who projects to have an OPS over .800 (Ray Durham is at .800 exactly). The rotation, however, is solid with no starter sporting an ERA under four, but only Jonathan Sanchez has an ERA over 4.50, and he's at 4.57. 2006 first round pick Tim Lincecum already projects to be a serviceable fifth or sixth starter 31.2 innings into his professional career. The bullpen is still a train wreck.

The Padres, on the other hand, appear to be a huge threat to the Dodgers. Compare the projections of the Padres starters to the Dodgers.

Russell Martin .279/.359/.432 C Josh Bard .281/.356/.424
Nomar Garciaparra .288/.354/.469 1B Adrian Gonzalez .289/.350/.475
Jeff Kent .272/.352/.473 2B Marcus Giles .276/.356/.406
Wilson Betemit .262/.328/.451 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff .279/.334/.452
Rafael Furcal .286/.358/.431 SS Khalil Green .253/.324/.418
Luis Gonzalez .248/.342/.412 LF Termel Sledge .260/.339/.436
Juan Pierre .299/.342/.385 CF Mike Cameron .251/.334/.446
Andre Ethier .296/.366/.463 RF Brian Giles .279/.386/.423
.279/.350/.439 AVG .271/.347/.435
Derek Lowe 3.84 SP Jake Peavy 3.23
Jason Schmidt 3.94 SP Chris Young 3.82
Brad Penny 3.95 SP Greg Maddux 3.90
Chad Billingsley 4.38 SP Clay Hensley 4.14
Randy Wolf (No Projection) SP Mike Thompson 4.65

While I'd say the Padres have a better offense and the Dodgers have a better pitching staff, the effects of Petco make the two teams nearly equal. I thought the Dodgers would have a vastly superior rotation, but according to these projections, they are behind the Padres, and not much better than the Giants after taking park factor into account. With similar starting players and an incredibly deep bullpen, the Padres appear to have the advantage over the Dodgers right now.

The one thing the Dodgers have on the Padres is depth. The Dodgers are far better equipped to handle injuries to key personnel than the Padres barren farm system is. Keep in mind that I've thought the Dodgers were a vastly superior team to the Padres the last two years. I'd hate to see what happens when I actually think the Padres are the better team.