Sunday, April 05, 2009

Mr. Trend's Professionally-Amateur Baseball Predictions - The National League

Following up the better league, er, American, League predictions, here are my guesses for the NL this year.

NL East

1. New York Mets 93-69
2. Philadelphia Phillies* (NL Wild Card) 91-71
3. Atlanta Braves 84-80
4. Florida Marlins 72-90
5. Washington Nationals 70-92

Yeah, I know the Mets have collapsed on the last day of the season two years in a row, after being picked each year to win the division. Yet they made it to the last day of the season last year with what was effectively no bullpen, and there's no way you can't say K-Rod and the (not exactly confidence-inspring-ly named) Putz are an improvement over last year, even if they aren't as perfect as some think. Although I think the man is a cancer in terms of attitude, the Sheffield pickup is also huge, helping plug the Mets' right field questions, and Daniel Murphy looks really good in left. The Phillies are also terrifyingly good, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a switch here, w/Philly in first and the Mets in the Wild Card. Atlanta will be middling, and Florida and Washington are definitely going to be duking it out for the worst record in the division, and perhaps the league. They do have a lot of young players who will be interesting to watch and see how they pan out, but this is probably the least equitable division.

NL Central

1. Chicago Cubs (92-70)
2. Cincinnati Reds (86-76)
3. St. Louis Cardinals (84-78)
4. Milwaukee Brewers (80-82)
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (75-87)
6. Houston Astros (69-93)

There's just something about the Central divisions. This one looks nearly as "meh" as the AL Central. I think the Cubs will run away with it (and, not surprisingly, again falter in the playoffs). It's insane, but I like the Reds - I think the biggest obstacle to that team's success is Dusty Baker, who has a great baseball mind but is a terrible manager, and I genuinely worry about the long-term health of the young starters. Still, this prediction is just for this year, and not the long-term, so the Reds I'll peg as a pleasant surprise. The Cardinals' record will be better than their team actually is, thanks to Pujols. The Pirates I think are finally starting to turn around, but not enough to lock in their record-setting 17th consecutive losing season. The Astros look....well, just bad. But hey - sorry Astros fans, there is no "but hey".

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers 90-72
2. Arizona Diamondbacks 88-74
3. San Francisco Giants 83-81
4. Colorado Rockies 77-85
5. San Diego Padres 67-95

There isn't a division I care about less than the NL West. I refuse to participate in the "Manny-drama" building. The best part of this division will probably be watching Tim Lincecum pitch in the same rotation as Randy Johnson. The Diamondbacks are good on paper, and could take the division, but I think they have more question marks than the Dodgers (who have their own fair share of question marks). The Rockies are bad, and the Padres are worse, with pitching the biggest concern and hitting (or lack thereof) the second biggest. I'll probably forget to care about this division until August, but I imagine things will look pretty much like they do now.