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2015 National League Predictions

March 31, 2015

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NL East

Washington – The Nationals finished 2014 in first place with an NL best 96 wins, 17 games ahead of the Braves and Mets. They were the best team in the National League in 2014 and they got stronger in the off season. They added P Max Scherzer to an already stacked rotation to make it arguably the best in baseball. Injuries are about the only thing that can derail this team. OF Denard Span is starting the season on the DL, and 3B Anthony Rendon and OF Jason Werth may not be ready for opening day. Prediction: 1st place 

Miami – The Marlins finished 2014 in fourth place with 77 wins, 19 games behind the Nationals. Their offense looks good, as long as OF Giancarlo Stanton can come back from a horrible injury to his face last season. They have a rebuilt infield that has added 1B Michael Morse, 2B Dee Gordon, and 3B Martin Prado to SS Adeiny Hechavarria. The rotation looks good and will get better when P Jose Fernandez comes back from his Tommy John surgery. Prediction: 2nd place

New York – The Mets finished 2014 tied for second place with 79 wins, 17 games behind the Nationals. The Mets have a solid rotation, even without P Zack Wheeler, who is out for the season Tommy John surgery. They are counting on 3B David Wright to come back from a nagging shoulder injury. P Matt Harvey is coming back form Tommy John surgery and has looked good this spring. Prediction: 3rd place

Atlanta – The Braves finished 2014 tied for second place with 79 wins, 17 games behind the Nationals. Adding OF Nick Markakis helps the offense, but without a solid power hitter it will be hard for the Braves to compete. Their rotation can be good, and closer Craig Kimbrel will shut the door when they have a lead. The question is whether or not they will score enough runs to have a lead late in the game. Prediction: 4th place

Philadelphia – The Phillies finished in last place with 73 wins, 23 games behind the Nationals. They are in full rebuild mode. P Cole Hamels is the only solid starter, P Jonathan Papplebon is their best reliever, and they are both being shopped around. 1B Ryan Howard has been fading for the last few seasons and is another year older. Prediction: 5th place

NL Central

Milwaukee – The Brewers finished 2014 in third place with 82 wins, 8 games behind the Cardinals. They spent 150 days in first place before they collapsed in late August and September. OF Ryan Braun underwent a procedure to fix a nerve issue in his thumb. If that works, he should be back to his old self. They traded for 1B Adam Lind to shore up a huge weakness at first base. Their rotation looks good even after trading away P Yovanni Gallardo. Their biggest weakness is the depth at starting pitching. They do not have a sixth starter at this point. Prediction: 1st place

St. Louis – The Cardinals finished 2014 in first place with 90 wins, 2 games ahead of the Pirates. They are perennial front runners in the NL Central. They have one of the best rotations in the league. The one problem that they do have is a lack of power (105 home runs in 2014, last in the NL). C Yadier Molina is the unquestioned leader of this team. Prediction: 2nd place

Cincinnatti – The Reds finished 2014 in fourth place with 76 wins, 14 games behind the Cardinals. Their offense should be better with the addition of OF Marlon Byrd and having 2B Brandon Phillips and 1B Joey Votto healthy. Their rotation looks pretty good, especially when P Homer Bailey comes back. Prediction: Tied for 3rd place

Pittsburgh – The Pirates finished 2014 in second place with 88 wins, 2 games behind the Cardinals. OF Andrew McCutchen leads one of the most well rounded offenses in the league. Replacing C Russell Martin is not going to be easy, both at and behind the plate. Their pitching staff should keep them in most games. Prediction: tied for 3rd place

Chicago – The Cubs finished 2014 in last place with 73 wins, 17 games behind the Cardinals. They hired Joe Madden to manage and added P Jon Lester to lead their rotation. The Cubs could finally get over .500, but that may still mean a last place finish the the NL Central. Prediction: 5th place

NL West

Los Angeles – The Dodgers finished 2014 in first place with 94 wins, 6 games ahead of the Giants. They have one of the best 1-2 starting pitchers, with P Clayton Kershaw and P Zack Grienke. SS Hanley Ramirez, 2B Dee Gordon, and OF Matt Kemp left town, but they were replaced by SS Jimmy Rollins and 2B Howie Kendrick. Prediction: 1st place

San Diego – The Padres finished 2014 in third place with 77 wins, 17 games behind the Dodgers. The Padres upgraded their team this off season. They added a complete outfield with OF Matt Kemp, OF Justin Upton, and OF Wil Meyers. On top of that, they added P James Shields, C Derek Norris, and 3B Will Middlebrooks. Prediction: 2nd place

San Francisco – The Giants finished 2014 in second place with 88 wins, 6 games behind the Dodgers. They made the playoffs as a Wild Card and went on to win the World Series. Their rotation could be a little shaky this year, with P Madison Bumgarner throwing 217.1 innings in the regular season and adding 52.2 more in the postseason and P Matt Cain and P Tim Hudson are coming off of surgery. They lost 3B Pablo Sandoval, but the picked up 3B Casey McGehee and they still have C Buster Posey. Prediction: 3rd place

Colorado – The Rockies finished 2014 in last place with 64 wins, 30 games behind the Dodgers. If SS Troy Tulowitski and OF Carlos Gonzalez can stay healthy, the offense will score some runs. The question is whether or not the pitchers can keep the other teams from scoring more. Prediction: 4th place

Arizona – The Diamondbacks finished 2014 in fourth place with 66 wins, 28 games behind the Dodgers. The only thing that kept them from finishing in last is a Rockies team that only won 64 games. If 1B Paul Goldschmidt and OF Mark Trumbo stay healthy, there is plenty of power on the team. Pitching will be a problem for them this season. Prediction: 5th place

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