My predictions here will probably be pretty boring as they’re porbably going with the consesus. I’m going to stick with just analyzing the teams I think will make the playoffs.
NL West: Winner – Los Angeles Dodgers:
I think the West is pretty much the Dodgers to lose. The have a solid offense led by Yasiel Puig. The lineup has no thumpers, but it’s deep. It should do enough to back up the best pitching staff in the West. Clayton Kershaw anchors a solid rotation, and they have an elite closer in Kenley Jansen. The injury of Hyun-jin Ryu hurts, Â but Kershaw and Zack Greinke are a nice one two punch at the top and should carry the rotation. As for the bullpen, it has some good peices along with Jansen, J.P. Howell and Brandon League, who all had good seasons last year. If those guys can repeat their seasons, the bullpen will be fine.
2nd Place and Top Wild Card Candidate – San Diego Padres:
I like the Padres makeover, as well as the James Shields signing. Makes me (and everyone else) wonder if new GM A.J. Preller got any sleep during the off-season. Sure their outfield offense might be an adventure, but the combo of Upton/Kemp/Myers should bring a definite boost to the offense, and that’s what the Padres needed. The aforementioned Shields signing strengthens a rotation that already had pretty good pitchers in Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. Joaquin Benoit leads a solid if unspectacular bullpen. Overall, I think the Padres have a legitimate shot at the WC, and an outside shot to beat the Dodgers for the division title.
Apologies to the San Francisco Giants.
NL East Winner:
This one is so obvious I won’t go into much detail. That offense is solid, but here it’s all about that rotation. Nobody can match it, and if it performs anywhere near expectations, the Nats win the division walking away, and possibly even get 100 wins or more.
2nd Place and Top Wild Card Candidate – Miami Marlins:
I love their outfield of Yelich/Stanton/Ozuna. Gordon, if he imppoves his OBP, could be interesting, and Martin Prado is a solid third baseman. Their rotation is solid but not spectacular, as is the bullpen, though Steve Cishek, if he doesn’t regress, is a good closer. The rotation really misses Jose Fernandez though. If they can stay in the thick of things until Fernandez comes back, and he pitches like he did before his injury right away (a big if), the Marlins have a decent shot at the WC.
That’s my 2 cents.
As always, thanks for reading.