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2013 NL Central Predictions – All Star Break Update

July 15, 2013

It is almost time for the All-Star Game, which is a good time to review the predictions that I made at the beginning of the season.  It is also a good time to make some mid-season adjustments.  Let’s take a look at how I had the NL Central finishing:

1   Reds
2   Brewers
3   Cardinals
4   Pirates
5   Cubs

OK, it looks like I’m 0 for 5 on that one.  There are some things that I did get right.  I predicted that the NL Central would be one of the more competitive divisions this year.  There is only one division where the top 3 teams are closer.  Also, there is only one other National League team that has a better record than the third place team.  I also predicted that both of the Wild Card teams would come out of the Central.

Now let’s take a look at my predictions for each team and see what happened.

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.  The Reds are on pace for 91 wins this season.  They are doing about what I was expecting them to do.  I still think that they will be a major force 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.  Where do I start?  The starting pitching has not gotten the job done, injuries have taken their toll, and there is the whole Ryan Braun situation.  The bullpen has improved and they are getting great results from All-Stars Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez, but that will not be enough to salvage the team this year.  

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.  The Cardinals just keep going.  Just when I thought that they were getting weaker they come back stronger than ever.  Although I don’t think that they will stay on a pace to win 100 games this season, I do think that they will be a major threat in the playoffs.

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.  The Pirates are having another strong start.  This may be the year that they finally break through with a winning season.  If that happens, watch for them to make a big splash in the playoffs.

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 Cubs are playing better than I thought they would.  With the Brewers playing as bad as they have been playing, it may be possible for the Cubs to avoid a last place finish.

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).  The top three teams do have a realistic shot at winning the division.  I was just wrong about who the top three teams would be.  This has become 2 races, one for first place and one for last place.  

Here is my updated prediction for the NL Central:

1   Reds
2   Cardinals
3   Pirates
4   Cubs
5   Brewers

I think that the Reds will maintain their pace and that the Cardinals will slip a little bit.  I also think the Pirates will not finish as strong as they started, but they will not repeat the collapses of recent seasons.  Both of the Wild Card teams will come out of the Central.

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From → Baseball, MLB

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