07 April 2006
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I'll do the AL in a few days...when I do, I'll calculate wins and losses at the same time.
1. New York Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals
You heard it here- the Mets are for REAL! Pedro looks healthy and, regardless of the speed of his fastball, will continue to dominate opposing lineups. David Wright will turn out to be one of the best players of his generation, Delgado and Beltran will rake all year, and Billy Wagner gives the team what it has been most lacking- confidence in the 9th inning.
The Phillies have the firepower, but do they have the pitching? Look for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to mash all season.
The Atlanta Braves may have a decade and a half streak going, but with the young lineup, lack of a brilliant pitching coach, and John Smoltz no longer closing, the team won't see the post-season for the first time since in a long time.
The Florida Marlins will be better than people predict, but remember- people aren't predicting that much to begin with. The talent is there, but it's raw. Will Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera be there in 2007?
The Washington Nationals have problems...many of them. They may lose close to 100 games.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Houston Astros
5. Cincinnati Reds
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
The St. Louis Cardinals will ride Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Chris Carpenter to the division title.
THe Milwaukee Brewers, however, are my pick for "suprise team of the year". In fact, I'm taking a shot in the dark that they may even represent the NL in the world series. Doug Davis is supremely underrated, and Ben Sheets is healthy. Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins, Prince Fielder, and Richie Weekes add up to a solid offensive attack. Derrek Turnbow is awesome.
Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood, and Greg Maddux COULD theoretically form the best 1-2-3-4 starters in baseball...that is, IF Prior and Wood could stay off the DL! Zambrano will be great, Maddux steady, and Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez will hit homers. But injuries will dominate and the Cubs will fall short...again.
The Houston Astros will be good, but outside of Lance Berkman won't provide enough offense to support the brilliant pitching of Roy Oswalt and the very good pitching of Andy Pettitte.
The Reds will score runs, that much is for sure. Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn, and Felipe Lopez provide for an excellent young core, and Ken Griffey Jr may stay healthy enough to bang out 25 or so. But pitching is a severe lack, and thus the Reds won't contend.
The Pirates have a few very talented youngsters in their rotation, but outside that, not enough to make much noise.
1. San Diego Padres
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies
The NL West may be the worst division in baseball, but the race for the top could be an intriguing one. The Padres should win it based on their pitching staff, headed by a simply awesome Jake Peavy. Baseball reference states his best comparison as Pedro Martinez...has anyone else realized that?
The Dodgers, if healthy, could make it a hot summer for SD. But with an offense that severly lacks, the absense of a true ace, and the suddenly perpetually unhealthy Eric Gagne, they will fall short.
What is San Fransisco going to do without a productive Barry Bonds? Probably float around the bottom half the standings, that's what. Once Bonds is either in jail or pitched around, not much on the Giants' lineup causes fear in the opposing pitcher.
In about 5 years, Arizona may be the best team in the NL. Their farm is absolutely unbelievable, and as a few of their higher touted guys will make the jump this season (Conor Jackson! S. Drew?), they may prove interesting. Outside Brandon Webb, however, there isn't too much here.
Will the Colorado Rockies ever amount to much? In this writer's humble opinion, no. While it's a blast to watch the balls fly out, pitchers don't want to sign here, leaving the team almost entirely inept. Additionally, even good hitters develop bad habits when placed away from Coors, thus nullifying the home field effects on good bats.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
Runners Up: David Wright, Bobby Abreu, Ryan Howard
NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano
Runners Up: Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy
NL Rookie of the Year: Prince Fielder
Runners Up: Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham
NL Comeback Player: Austin Kearns
Runners Up: Lance Berkman, Carlos BEltran
This post was written by: Franklin Manuel
Franklin Manuel is a professional blogger, web designer and front end web developer. Follow him on Twitter