And finally, we have the NL East. This one is a tough pick. The Braves took the division without any challenge at all last year. I don’t think that will happen this year. In fact, I am going to pick the Washington Nationals to win this division. Injuries killed the Nats last year and just looking at the depth chart, I feel they have a better starting pitching rotation and the bull pens about even. I also think that the Nats’ offense is stronger than the Braves this year. So I do think that the Braves will take second and contend for a wild card birth. That puts Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta challenging for 2 wild card slots.
I think the Phillies will play a little bit better than they did last year, but only good enough for third place in the East. They need to stay healthy and pitch way better than they did last year. That puts the Mets in fourth place in the division although I do see improvements with them. Not quite ready to contend, but they seem to be heading in the right direction. Obviously the Marlins are bringing up the rear, as they were last year. I can’t quite see what direction the Marlins are going; we’ll have to see how well their young players perform this year.
So to recap the National League. I have the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Nationals winning the divisions. The Pirates, Diamondbacks and Braves will contend for the two wild card spots. It’s always fun to see how many I get right. It’s hard to pick this early, but it’s also a fun exercise.