As promised, a while back, I stated that I’d recite my predictions of this upcoming MLB season division by division, then playoffs and then the World Series. To start off, you gotta start with my favorite squad, you gotta start easy, you gotta start with the team that’ll win the N.L Central and that is:
1. Chicago Cubs
Additions: Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly, Brandon Morrow, Tyler Chatwood
Departures: Wade Davis, Hector Rondon, Jake Arrieta
Clearly after watching my Cubs last year in the playoffs, one glaring weakness that we had was a bullpen to lead up to Wade Davis. Losing Wade Davis doesn’t help matters, but getting Brandon Morrow, a guy that can throw up to 100 MPH, could be the next best thing. Losing Arrieta also doesn’t help but given Yu Darvish and what his potential could be a good number 2 in the rotation behind either Lester or Quintana. There is the arguement that tis team can be better rounded and more consistent then the team last year. Given the fact that the young core of Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras etc are still on the team, there’s always a threat in the postseason. The Cubs play great offense and defense and even if they don’t make the NLCS for the 4th straight year, they will still top their somewhat weak division.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
Additions: Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Jhoulys Chacin
Departures: Jared Hughes, Lewis Brinson
The Brewers have shown that in this offseason, they want to win and they want to win now. Yelich and a revamped outfield should prove to be a great supporting cast to guys like Ryan Braun, Eric Thames and Travis Shaw. Now on offense and defense, the Brewers shouldn’t have a problem and they should be a contender for a wild card spot. The only issue left is an improvement on the pitching staff. If the Brewers improve a bit on the bullpen and get a proven ace that’s around Carlos Carrasco quality, expect the Brewers to become very scary. Until then, they’re snug behind the Cubs.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
Additions: Marcell Ozuna, Luke Gregerson
Departures: Aledmys Diaz, Juan Nicasio
The Cardinals landed a total bargain in getting the 27 year old outfielder Marcell Ozuna. This means the Cardinals will get a superstar outfielder in his prime and for their competition, that isn’t good. The Cards will have an improved offense with Ozuna but their pitching core won’t do them any good. Adam Wainwright hasn’t had a great year in years and their ace is Luke Weaver who had a decent second half but he isn’t ace material. Expect the Cardinals to be mediocre this year.
4. Cincinnati Reds
Additions- Jered Hughes
Departures: Zack Cozart
Really the Reds didn’t do much of anything. Giving up an All Star from last year certainly doesn’t help matters. That alone weakens the offense and defense. Now they’re looking to trade away Billy Hamilton which is the last major player they got left. The Reds are an all around weak team and they won’t make a dent in the division. Of course they won’t be as bad as the:
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
Additions: What’s that? Never heard of such a thing
Departures: Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, any shred of dignity
My goodness what happened here. Two years ago the Pirates looked promising, with a 98 win season. In 2015, they were a wild card team. Since that loss to the Cubs in the 2015 wild card game at PNC Park, the Pirates have just not been the same. By ditching their ace and arguably their best player, they have totally committed to the rebuild and the fans are pissed and rightfully so. Such a beautiful park will go to waste this season because of what happened this offseason. Hopefully the Pirates can have some sort of spark to fill the seats but honestly, I’m not counting on it.