There is but one potentially great team in the National League, the Washington Nationals. They are the only team in the Majors that I could imagine winning as many as 100 games in 2015. There are about another half-dozen N.L. teams I can see making the playoffs, depending on the breaks they receive. The weakest division in the N.L., even with the inclusion of those Nats, is the N.L. East. Like wages in right-to-work states, it is essentially a race to the bottom in that division.
1) Nationals – It’s a pretty ridiculous pitching staff when Doug Fister is your 4th starter. Prediction: 98 wins.
2) Mets – Young and ready to rise above .500, and Matt Harvey adds swagger. If everything breaks right, a potential Wild Card contender. Prediction: 83 wins.
3) Marlins – In some ways, not really all that different from the Mets. The return to form of Jose Fernandez is key. Prediction: 81 wins.
4) Braves – May not finish in last place only because the Phillies are still allegedly a Major League baseball team. Prediction: 74 wins.
5) Phillies – May not finish in last place only because the Braves might be even worse than expected. Prediction: 69 wins.
1) Cardinals – Does this team ever have a really bad season? Not this year. Should rather easily win the Central Division. Prediction: 90 wins
2) Pirates – An outfield of McCutchen, Polanco, and Marte is one to salivate over. Should take a Wild Card slot, even with some pitching issues. Prediction: 85 wins.
3) Cubs – Lots of people pick the Cubs to grab a Wild Card slot this year. Could happen, but I’m betting their chances are better in 2016. Prediction: 83 wins.
4) Brewers – Really didn’t do much to improve their team in the off-season. Lost their de facto ace, Gallardo. Should be consistently mediocre. Prediction: 79 wins.
5) Reds – A franchise that appears to be moving in the wrong direction. Will Joey Votto and Jay Bruce return to form? Prediction: 73 wins.
1) Dodgers – Look very strong on paper. Would be hard-pressed not to at least make the playoffs, even if they somehow don’t win this division outright. Prediction: 93 wins.
2) Padres – Lots of upgrades in the off-season, but still not a shoo-in for a Wild Card slot, though I think they’ll grab one. Prediction: 85 wins.
3) Giants – The Giants are consistently the most difficult team for me to pick correctly. Bumgarner is a monster, but tossed a huge number of innings last season. Prediction: 83 wins.
4) Rockies – Car-Go and Tu-Lo, Corey Dickerson, Blackmon and Arenado provide a solid core of offense. If the pitching improves at all, this could be the surprise team of the N.L. Prediction: 80 wins.
5) Diamondbacks – Hard to envision this team not finishing in last place. May even be the worst team in the entire Majors this year. Prediction: 65 wins.
World Series prediction: Nationals over the Red Sox in seven games.