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2013 NL Central Predictions

March 31, 2013

The National League Central may prove to be one of the more competitive divisions this year.

1  Reds – The Reds are coming off of a 97 win season looking for a repeat.  A key trade with the Indians sent Drew Stubbs away, with his high strikeouts, and brought to them Shin-Soo Choo.  There is no reason to believe that they will slip much, if at all.  They are all set for a deep run in the playoffs.

2 Brewers – The Brewers are coming off of a disappointing season.  They led the league in home runs, stolen bases, and blown saves.  They overhauled the bullpen, and John Axford returned to form late in the season (converted 18 of his last 19 save opportunities).  With their offense largely in tact, they could be looking at a serious run at the division title.

3 Cardinals – The Cardinals squeaked into the playoffs last season after an 88 win season.  They were quiet in the offseason.  They have a lot of depth to go along with the talent that is coming back this season.  It is quite possible that both wild card teams will come out of the Central this season.

4 Pirates – The Pirates had another disappointing finish.  After starting 63-47, they faded down the stretch and ended up with just 79 wins.  They still have Andrew McCutchen to lead them.  They also signed catcher Russell Martin, who is a vast improvement over Rod Barajas.  The Pirates may be a contender, but there are three teams for them to overtake in this division.

5 Cubs – The only thing keeping the Cubs from being the worst team in the National League last year was the Astros, and they moved to the American League this year.  The Cubs will probably not be as bad this year, but they will probably not improve enough to finish anywhere but last.

The top three teams all have a realistic shot at winning the division, and the Pirates are not that far behind (as long as they don’t have another late season swoon).

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