Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 Season Preview: NL Central Predictions.

The NL Central is the most competitive division in MLB with all 5 teams having a reasonable chance to make the postseason, at least if everything goes right for them.

1.  St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals continue to have the best and deepest pitching in the division even after trading Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward.  I always pick the team with the best pitching.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates- The Pirates have one of the best young OF's in baseball led by superstar Andrew McCutchen, and their lineup is solid.  The pitching lags behind the Cardinals, though which is why I think they will again finish second in the division.

3.  Chicago Cubs- Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant should add firepower to the lineup.  The top 3 SP's of Lester, Arrieta and Hammel look solid and the bullpen is more stable.  They are not quite ready to contend and they will eventually need to trade some offensive talent for pitching or pay up in free agency, which they may well do, but they are good enough to move up to 3'rd place.

4.  Cincinnati Reds- The Reds window for contention is closing, especially on the pitching side.  This is the last year they can make a run for it before Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake hit free agency.  They need Billy Hamilton to improve his OBP and they need bounceback seasons from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.

5.  Milwaukee Brewers- The lineup is solid and they filled their hole at 1B, at least if Adam Lind can stay healthy, but I think the Brewers plan to build pitching through signing mid-level FA's is about to be exposed.  I am picking them to finish last, but in this division, that is not all that far from the top.

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