Not to disrespect the National League, but I’m running out of time before the first pitch, so let me blaze through these.
1. Mets (95 wins)
Season comes down to the threesome of Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Mike Pelfrey. If those three can hold up and be as good as they’ve been in the past, look out for the Mets. This team would have won the NL East by 6 games, if games ended in the 8th inning. That won’t be a problem this year with K-Rod and Putz.
2. Phillies (92 wins)
Made ZERO improvements to the starting rotation as I still scratch my head on how they’re rotation held up last October without Hamels pitching every other night. Big fan of the Ibanez signing though.
3. Braves (82 wins)
Not enough offense in my mind.
4. Marlins (78 wins)
The sooner Cameron Maybin develops, the sooner the Marlins have a legit shot of becoming a contender. The reason this team won’t threaten is cause every hitter in the rotation loves striking out.
5. Nationals (63 wins)
Will be the worst team in baseball. Lots of “post-hype sleepers” roaming their outfield.
NL Central: In my opinion the evenly balanced division in baseball….
1. Cubs (97 wins)
Best rotation in the National League, and on top of that play in a very mediocre division. All that equals the team I think will have the most wins in the Major League.
2. Reds (83 wins)
Jumping on the hype train! Everyone’s darling going into the 2009 season has a GREAT young rotation. If Jay Bruce can have a break out year, this team is ready to make some noise.
3. Brewers (80 wins)
No CC, No Sheets. Still have Prince and Braun, but it will be a fall-off from the excitement of last season.
4. Astros (80 wins)
Some how this team always ends up winning +80 games.
5. Cardinals (78 wins)
Can you name me three Cardinals starting pitchers going into 2009? If you can, do you feel anywhere near confident in 2 of those 3? Probably not.
6. Pirates (63 wins)
I think the Bucs are heading in the right direction, with home grown talent and speed/defense. But the problem is the right direction for this team is backwards this season. They’ll be a punching bag all season long for this division.
NL West: who cares?
1. Dodgers (90 wins)
Kuroda is their opening day pitcher…oh-oh. Manny will be Manny and help them win the the NL West. But the lack of depth in starting pitching will hurt this team in the long run.
2. Diamondbacks (84 wins)
Strong rotation, but the big issue is the fact that their young lineup strikes out entirely too much.
3. Giants (82 wins)
They have the sort of starting pitching rotation that’s a dream for every General Manager in the league. Too bad your clean-up hitter is Benji Molina. Had they signed Manny, this would be my pick for NL Champ this season.
4. Rockies (78 wins)
Matt Holiday’s departure will sting from a morale stand point. Troy Tulowitzki needs to begin to move forward as the star short-stop people believe he can be.
5. Padres (74 wins)
Addition by subtract will not work in San Diego this season. A team who’s trying to get young at the drop of a hat look sad on paper and will look even worse, if and when they trade their star pitcher Jake Peavy.