April 1st, 2014
Yesterday I shared my predictions for the American League pennant races. Today, I look at the National League.
National League West
Los Angeles Dodgers- This isn’t a perfect team. There are flaws. But there is enough pitching to win the West. And the hitting isn’t too shabby either. Ryu can become a real star. I hope Dee Gordon can stick. Age and injuries a concern. 91 wins
San Diego Padres- Here’s my surprise. This team can play. If the pitching can stay healthy, I see lots of hope for a big future. They’re short a big bat. Quentin? Nope. He’s um…….hurt and on the disabled list. Don’t know if he’ll ever be able. 84 wins.
San Francisco Giants- A lack of firepower will catch up with them. I think Belt and Pence will have huge years. Not so sure the pitching is anywhere close to the past. I’ve always found Bumgarner a bit inconsistent. Could be boom or bust with them. 83 wins
Colorado Rockies- If they were the Cleveland Rockies or Detroit Rockies I’d love em. But I don’t think Cy Young could pitch at Coors. It takes so much good fortune and inducing ground balls to win there. Good hitting as usual. Suspect pitching, as usual. 80 wins
Arizona Diamondbacks- I see very thin pitching in the rotation and the pen. At Chase Field, the gaps are wide and the balls fly out of the park. Pitching, pitching and more pitching is required. On offense, I see Goldy, Trumbo and and then who? 78 wins
National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals- The most balanced team I’ve seen with fabulous pitching and a formidable offense. And depth at every position-but especially on the mound. I have a concern about balls getting by at shortstop and hurting the pitchers. Still great. 92 wins
Pittsburgh Pirates- I wish they would have fortified their rotation with at least one starter. However, help is on the way in Taillon. Glasnow down the road a bit. And Gregory Polanco is close. McCutchen is fabulous. Balanced Wild Card team. 85 wins
Cincinnati Reds-Lots is riding on Billy Hamilton’s ability to get on base. Almost too much IMO. Not enough depth in offense or pitching. Injuries could kill them. I do think the rotation is solid if they stay healthy. They’ll miss Choo and Arroyo. 82 wins
Milwaukee Brewers- Again, a lack of depth hurts this club. No real 1B option and no help at 3B if Aramis Ramirez goes on the DL (again). Pitching has some promise with prospects near being ready. Braun returns with a solid offensive year. 75 wins
Chicago Cubs- I see no 2014 hope for this club. And I see way too much pressure on the prospect core to “save the day” when they arrive. Pitching is beyond thin. Castro has to produce. Baez is in the wings. Maybe Bryant, too. Have to pitch to win. Nope. 68 wins
National League East
Washington Nationals-Maybe not quite as balanced as the Cardinals, but very close. They can sustain an injury or two. I look for Bryce Harper to continue to get better and better and lead the club. Pitching is superb in rotation and pen. No issues. 92 wins
Atlanta Braves- The distance between the Braves and the Nationals is like the Grand Canyon. Braves took a huge rotation hit and may not recover. I think they will take a major dip in wins this season. Have to really score some runs to hang in. 83 wins
Miami Marlins- This is a club on the rise in a weak division. The prospect pitching is outstanding. Position players will mature. Stanton needs protection, and I don’t see it. Yelich has to start to hit like he can. Fernandez is my #2 pitcher in baseball. 77 wins
New York Mets- Not much here until they get Matt Harvey back in 2015. Then they’ll have Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard. Nice. Offense seems non-existent to me. Pitching wins games, but where will the runs come from? Next year’s better. 75 wins
Philadelphia Phillies-I really like Cliff Lee. The end. I don’t see an influx of young blood to take over for the Howard, Utley, Rollins trio. Pitching was once strong. Now the depth has disappeared. I think the outfield is very weak and infield is aging. 68 wins
National League Champion- Washington Nationals
Most Valuable Player- Andrew McCutchen
Rookie Of The Year- Oscar Taveras
World Series Champion: Washington Nationals
Thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. And please don’t be angry with me if I didn’t rate your team as highly as you might have wanted. It’s just one person’s opinion. I mean, we’re still friends, right? That’s what’s wrong with making predictions. People are passionate about their team and they take it personally. I get that.
That’s it. I’m done.