Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Late Predictions: Part 2

Again, sorry for the lateness.

NL East- Mets- I think this is finally the year where they break the streak of chokes. They did very well shoring up their bullpen and their offense has never been a problem for them. The tandem of Putz-Rodriguez is probably the best we've seen since Rivera-Wetteland (off the top of my head at least). The core of this team is very strong. Santana, Wright, Reyes, and Beltran are all top tier players. The only visible weakness on this team is the rotation. After Santana things look very bad. They need to hope for big improvements from Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey. They were very lucky last year and still weren't great. The Phillies could easily win the division though. Their first four guys are all good pitchers and Brad Lidge is a top closer. So, they're a good bet to repeat if they can get in. Personally, I'll be rooting for them. The Braves revamped their rotation but still aren't good enough to hang with the Phillies and Mets in my opinion. The East is clearly the best divison in both leagues this year.

NL Central- Cubs- I don't think even the most optimistic Cardinals fan is picking anyone other than the Cubs here. They dominated the division last year and now the Brewers don't have that killer 1-2 combo of Sabathia-Sheets anymore. The Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers aren't bad but the Cubs are going to run away with the divison again. Even losing Kerry Wood isn't going to stop these guys. The only thing they need to watch out for is a let down from Ryan Dempster. That won't be enough either though. They are the only team in the NL with a realistic chance at winning 100 games.

NL West- Diamondbacks- I'm going out on a limb here and going against the Dodgers. Losing Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux is going to hurt them and their's no way Manny will repeat what he did for them last year. I`m afraid Jonathan Broxton may become one of Joe Torre's whipping boys as well. The D'Backs have an excellent rotation as well. Brandon Webb and Dan Haren are both aces in the truest sense of the word. Their young offense is also very nice. The only mistake they made was letting Randy Johnson go to the Giants and replacing him with Jon Garland. If it wasn't for that, they'd be the clear favorite for the divison. Adam Dunn is also a tough loss for their lineup to take. However, I think they really have a shot.

NL Wild Card- Dodgers- This should come down to a battle between the Dodgers, Braves, Phillies, and another random team that will inevitably surprise everybody and make a run (Marlins maybe?). Both the Braves and Phillies are better than the Dodgers. However, they're going to beat up on each other and bring their records down. The Dodgers do have a very nice young team and if they get in they'd be a serious World Series candidate.

One more short part in this series is coming for awards, playoffs, and other random stuff. I'll do it either later tonight or tomorrow morning.