Breaking Down the National League

30 Jan

images.jpgStarting Tuesday, and over the next week I’m going to go through the N.L. East starting at the bottom and work my way up to my predicted winner of the Division.  You can’t ever say that anything in this game is a lock, but the National League East is probably the easiest of the three in the N.L. to project.  The Central and West are going to be a little more competitive, especially the Central which is going to have a pretty interesting three horse race. 

If I had to call it today this is where I’d go with the National League Central.

1. Cincinnati Reds
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Houston Astros
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Much like the Phillies of 2006-07 the Reds are a team on the rise.  They have some home brewed talent and good pitching.  I’m probably going out on a limb, but I think that Aroldis Chapman might just be the Rookie of the Year in the National League. With Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, I think it’s likely that they will retain their Division Crown.

I don’t know how the Cardinals haven’t gone further in the last few years.  Since 2006 they have made the playoffs twice, with a World Series Championship in 2006.  They look pretty similar to last years team with the only notable addition being Lance Berkman who will probably be playing right field.  That should be interesting since Busch Stadium has a pretty large outfield, and Berkman is really a first baseman, What their GM was thinking this off-season, I don’t know.  Albert will cost them a lot if they re-sign him, but not doing anything this winter will cost them more. I think they’ll probably take the Wild Card

The Brewers made some impressive moves this winter trading for Zack Greinke, and Shaun Marcum, but with a new manager and system I think it might be another year before this team produces a playoff berth again.

The Houston Astros also did squat this off-season. They have a lot of talent on the farm that needs to grow up, because this team is getting old.  I smell a Carlos Lee/ Hunter Pence fire sale at the trade deadline. If not I’d expect to see Lee move to first base.  The Astros have not made the playoffs in years, so they need to do something too keep their fans interested because it’s getting pretty dull in Houston.

The best thing to see this year at Wrigley Field is once again, Wrigley Field.  Sure they got Matt Garza, and Zambrano is taking his meds, but this team has a new manager, and their outfield is old.  Carlos Pena should add a little pop, and Starlin Castro is great player in the making but once again Cubs fans, this isn’t your year.

PNC Park is one of the nicest Stadiums that I have visited in the Major Leagues, it’s such a shame that the Pirate‘s ownership doesn’t take the same pride in their team.  They’ve brought in Lyle Overbay as a free agent, and Clint Hurdle is their new manager, so hopefully they can make an impression on this otherwise young team.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the N.L. West. 

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3 Responses to “Breaking Down the National League”

  1. raysrenegade January 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Every division from top to bottom looks to have life and vitality from the front runners to the cellar.
    For some reason I am thinking that Wild Card squads this season might be close to .500 than ever before. A level of player parity seems on the horizon even in divisions where the top teams spent 100’s of millions.
    Going to be hard to honestly predict a lot this season….But I predict one of the closest contested seasons down to the wire in a long time……Bar none.
    Great post.

    Rays Renegade

    • the_phanatic_addict January 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

      That’s one of the things that makes this sport so much better than any other. Way more possibilities and scenarios. There are the usual “Haves” and “Have Nots” but we both know that anything can happen in 164 games. I’m beyond excited to get this season going.

  2. ronlang44 January 31, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I think the Cubs are going to either surprise teams and stay in contention all season or tank it from the start and fans will be screaming their heads off for Quade to be fired. Either way, it should be an interesting season for the Cubs. That’s just my take.


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