MLB Preview: National League

Kolten Wong of the Cardinals hit a home run yesterday on Labor Day as the Cards win 5-4 & take over the lead in the NL Central.

The Cardinals will be contenders again to win the National League.

Chris Moore| BKD TV Insiders

The Major League Baseball Season is upon us. Opening Night is tomorrow night as the Cardinals and new look Cubs kick-off the season. Then on Monday, Opening Day is here and the regular season gets underway. With that, today will be the unveiling of the National League predictions and tomorrow will bring the American League predictions and ultimate World Series winner.

NL East

  1. Nationals: 98-64
  2. Marlins: 86-76
  3. Mets: 79-83
  4. Braves: 75-87
  5. Phillies: 69-93

Barring injuries all signs point to the Nationals running away with the National League East. This team could easily win 100 games as they loaded from top to bottom in the field and in the rotation. The Marlins have been creeping their way up the ladder in the NL East and were in Wild Card contention last year up until Giancarlo Stanton’s injury. With Jose Fernandez back and the Marlins being active in the offseason, look for them to be wildcard contenders throughout the season.

NL Central

  1. Cardinals: 88-74
  2. Pirates: 87-75
  3. Brewers: 83-79
  4. Cubs: 78-84
  5. Reds: 76-86

In what could be the deepest division in baseball, the Cardinals are the team that make it so hard to pick against them. As an organization they have the depth and experience to win the NL Central again. The Pirates may find themselves in the wildcard game again this year. They lost Russell Martin which will hurt but AJ Burnett returns and the young talent on that team will continue to keep them as serious threats in the National League. Expect the Brewers to be very competitive again with Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun in the middle of that lineup. I look for the Cubs and Reds to be good ball clubs but struggle to keep pace with rest of the division.

NL West

  1. Dodgers: 101-61
  2. Giants: 83-79
  3. Padres: 80-82
  4. Rockies: 71-91
  5. Diamondbacks: 69-93

In a weak NL West, I expect the talented Dodgers to overwhelm the division. The Giants are in an even year off of winning a World Series; the last two times that’s happened they failed to finish above .500 the following season. The Padres may have gotten better in the offseason, however there are questions remaining regarding their outfield defense and infield talent overall. Bonus Prediction: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are traded by the Rockies at the deadline if they are not in contention.

NLCS: Cardinals over Nationals

I love what the Cardinals did this offseason in acquiring Jason Heyward. He’s a very good player with the talent to be a superstar. In St. Louis he won’t have to be the star like Atlanta wanted him to be. That comfort and calm in the organization will allow him to progress into the player he could be and will make him the difference for the Cardinals to get back to the World Series. Both St. Louis and Washington have excellent lineups and starting rotations. The question will come in which bullpen performs better. I expect the young live arms in St. Louis’ bullpen to outperform Washington and carry them to another National League Pennant.

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