Yesterday I did a quick and dirty preview for the AL, so now it’s time to look at the NL. Once again, before I show you my predictions, I’ll give you my thoughts on each team.
Astros: Their lineup isn’t that impressive, other than a few keys pieces. If Myers has a good year, then they have a strong front of the rotation with him, Oswalt and Rodriguez.
Braves: I am bullish on these guys this year, their lineup is better than people realize, and I like their pitching staff. It’s too bad they have to look up at the Phillies. I think they’ll be in the Wild Card fight all year long.
Brewers: Their lineup is better than people realize, it’s more than just Braun and Fielder, that’s for sure. But their pitching staff is a mess beyond Gallardo.
Cardinals: The class of the central, they’ve got enough pitching, they’ve got Albert and Holliday, plus some other key pieces. It’s gonna be hard to beat them for the division.
Cubs: They are flying under the radar at the moment, but remember, their lineup is strong up and down, and they have 3 pretty good pitchers up front.
Diamondbacks: I’ll start by saying that without Webb their pitching staff is in trouble. But I think he’ll be pitching by early May, and I really really like the lineup. Upton is very good and Montero, Drew, Jackson, and Johnson are all underrated. If LaRoche and Young show up, too, this team could be dangerous.
Dodgers: I think they’ve got a nice combo of a strong lineup and a decent starting rotation. But the talent beyond Kershaw and Billingsley scares me, and I don’t know if the rest of the rotation is quite strong enough. Matt Kemp is set to become a star.
Giants: Their lineup isn’t impressive, but they have a strong, relatively deep pitching staff. They should be in contention through the season.
Phillies: Really built for now, despite their reluctance to deal some of their young guys. If they stay healthy, they are real impressive.
Marlins: What a pitching staff they’ve got, and it’s only gonna get better for them next year. Which is probably good, because I don’t love their lineup.
Mets: Built for now, but it’d take a miracle for them to win now. Beyond Santana, Maine and Pelfrey will both need to be spectacular, while their lineup has to stay healthy and we haven’t seen that for years.
Nationals: You never know, right? Yeah, you do. It’ll be fun from a fan’s perspective to watch the development of Desmond, Strasburg, Storen and hope that Zimmermann and Wang can both come back strong.
Padres: Their pitching staff isn’t very good, and beyond Gonzalez they don’t have much of a lineup either. But man, Adrian Gonzalez is good!
Pirates: They have a really pretty stadium, I went and saw it last year. Ummmmmmm…. Andrew McCutchen should be good? Let’s move on.
Reds: Many people have been saying for years that this is finally their year. I say wait until next year, regroup, and we’ll see then.
Rockies: They have a strong if not spectacular lineup anchored by Tulo and Helton. Their pitching staff has two strong young guys in Jiminez and De la Rosa, although I like Cook and Francis less than most do. They are a popular pick to win the West, and I think they have a strong chance.
Here are my final predictions, including those for the AL from yesterday:
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Athletics
AL wild card: Rays
ALCS: Yankees vs. Twins
NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Diamondbacks
NL wild card: Dodgers
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks
World Series: Cardinals over Twins
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
AL Cy Young: Brett Anderson, A’s
AL Rookie: Brian Matusz, Orioles
AL Manager: Bob Geren, A’s
NL MVP: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, Giants
NL Rookie: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
NL Manager: Bob Melvin, Diamondbacks