Opening day is here and I can’t wait to get this marathon started. I figured what the hell I’ll throw out my season predictions for every team by division and see how painfully wrong I can be. Here we go with the National League.
This division is a bit under the radar here in the Midwest with all the fun things happening in the NL Central but the NL East is pretty loaded itself. 4 of the 5 teams have a real legitimate shot at winning the division and making some noise in the playoffs. They also have the benefit of playing the AL Central in inter-league play which definitely helps their cause for wild card spots, although it isn’t a huge deal.
- Washington Nationals – Yes Bryce Harper is gone, but honestly other than one year are they really losing that much? Combine that with the fact that they still have an outfield of Soto, Robles and Eaton and they really are in a great spot still. Dozier should contribute quite a bit offensively. Their pitching staff is really where they should be able to take 1st in the East. Scherzer Strasburg (if he stays healthy) and Corbin should be fantastic. Their bullpen is still very good as well.
- Philadelphia Phillies (WC) – I think the Phillies come very close but fall just short of the division and pick up a wild card spot. As much as I say adding Harper doesn’t hurt the Nationals a ton, it certainly helps the Phillies other hitters having him in the middle of that lineup. Nola will be fantastic, but is the rest of this rotation good enough to win this division? I don’t see it. Robertson and Dominguez have a lot of pressure on this pretty thin bullpen.
- Atlanta Braves – Just missing out as well are the Braves. This will be a very exciting team to watch and Albies and Acuna will certainly have outstanding years. The issue for the Braves to me is a starting rotation that really lacks a true ace to carry them. They also are relying on Donaldson and Markakis to have big seasons and both are getting up there in age. I have them just missing.
- New York Mets – The Mets have a top 3 starting rotation in all of baseball. DeGrom now extended and Syndergaard will be lights out. I love the Mets giving Pete Alonso the opportunity to play right away this season – service time be damned. The Mets simply do not have enough offense to last the entire season. If Nimmo, Conforto, and Rosario really play well it could be different, but they would need all of them to really outperform expectations. If this team gets to October with their starting pitching – look out. At the end of the day, the Mets will be the Mets.
- Miami Marlins – Not even going to waste my time with this dumpster fire.
The most competitive division in baseball got even better over the offseason. The Cardinals added a top 5 player in baseball and the Reds really made a huge leap to get back in it. The Brewers made a great signings with the addition of Grandal on a one year deal. The Cubs did nothing due to Tom Ricketts wasting his god damn money on development projects and Republican local candidates. I’m not bitter though.
- St Louis Cardinals – Adding Goldschmidt to me puts the Cardinals over the top, sadly. The real question is can their pitching stay healthy. They haven’t in the past. If they don’t, it changes everything. With their pitching healthy they will sneak by the Cubs and Brewers for the division.
- Chicago Cubs (WC) – I’m allowed to have a little faith in this club making the wild card game and losing aren’t I? The Cubs desperately need players to return to previous form (Bryant, Darvish, Quintana) and their bullpen will need to outperform expectations. Its a big year for the organization, if this season is an ultimate failure where do they turn?
- Milwaukee Brewers – This is a very good team, but they have a ton of real issues with bullpen injuries already. If they have bullpen issues this team is just not as talented top to bottom as the Cardinals or Cubs. Corbin Burnes looks like a real stud SP for the Brewers, but it’s a pretty underwhelming rotation. (Click here to read a Brewers season preview)
- Cincinnati Reds – The Reds had a fantastic winter. They did what they needed to to at least be relevant again. Their problem is this division. They won’t be able to get past the top 3 but will be much improved.
- Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates actually have a pretty good team, good enough to steal some games from the top teams in the division. Their rotation isn’t bad, but they lack on the offensive side to compete in this division.
NL West is a two horse race it appears, with the Rockies and Dodgers battling it out. The Rockies are a popular pick to win this division, but can they overcome the Dodgers spending power and depth?
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Dodgers will be the Dodgers. If they have issues with their team early they will foot the bill to overcome those issues. Seager is back healthy and they have depth. Kershaw’s years are running out, they want to win now.
- Colorado Rockies – The Rockies have a really solid lineup and should score tons of runs. Can their starting rotation repeat its ridiculous numbers from last year? They will be really fun to watch and it’s really a toss up which one will get in. They easily could end up with a wild card spot.
- San Diego Padres – I’m going to give them a bit of a bump here. They were aggressive with Machado and decided to bring Tatis Jr up right away. I think they are hungry to be competitive and will have a very good year. The rotation needs work, but they are just beginning their process of being really competitive. Mejia will have a big year as their new catcher once given the opportunity.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – A team lost in the middle of trying to win and blowing it up. This should end up being a 75-80 win club. They don’t have Goldschmidt anymore and are relying on Peralta, Escobar, and Lamb to pick up the slack. I don’t see it.
- San Francisco Giants – It’s time to blow the thing up and start from scratch for the Giants. Losing out on Harper all but solidified that.