Sunday, February 25, 2007

National League 2007 Predictions

Taking a break from the Pinstripes just for a moment. I thought it would be appropriate to focus on who the Yanks may be squaring off against come Fall Classic time.

East: Atlanta Braves. The more things changed, the more they are going to appear to be the same again. Forget all the talk surrounding the Mets and the Phillies. The Braves pitching staff is far superior than both of those teams, maybe the entire league. John Smoltz, Mike Hampton, Tim Hudson, and a promising 2nd year starter in Chuck James (11 wins last year as a rookie) makes up a solid starting 4 and the bull pen has added rising star Mike Gonzalez and known brand Bob Wickman. The offensive lineup is not great, but with names like Chipper and Andruw Jones, and Edgar Renteria it is above average and will be enough for the Braves to return to the familiar position of Eastern Division Winners.

Central: Chicago Cubs. This is not even going to be close. The Cardinals lost pitchers and will enjoy the Peyton Manning dubbed "pass" for this season's under performance due to winning it all last year. Cubs spent a lot of jack and will now for the first time in a long time have pressure to actually perform. Pinella is a proven winner (ex-Tampa stint). An offensive lineup that has Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, and Arm Ramirez could be the best big three combo in baseball. Pitching is a question mark but has the very real potential of being great. Zambrano, Marquis, Lilly, Prior, and Wade Miller are known names for the starting rotation, and the experiment with Wood will likely be a huge success if he stays healthy.

West: Arizona Diamondbacks. I'm not sure this division actually matters as I am convinced that the NL rep to the World Series is coming out of the East or Central. The D-Backs were in first place prior to the drug related scandal mid-season last year. Once that broke, the team collapsed. So, assuming there isn't another distraction, on top of a happy Randy Johnson, maybe they'll be back to first place again. I don't know, but I hate the Giants and regardless of evidence of talent in a talentless division, I cannot bring myself to pick them.

Wild Card: Philadelphia, Cincinnati, or Los Angeles. Take your pick - For me though, I'd like to see Griffey Jr. return to greatness for a full season, and lead his team to the postseason. I think it would be a great story.


old professor said...

Before you make a run at who the Yankees will be squaring off against in the Fall Classic, it might be a good idea to analyze who they will have to go through to get to the Fall Classic.

Toronto is greatly improved and Boston has made some interesting additions. Detroit has the same young arms that silenced the Yankee bats last year.

On a somewhat related issue, Pavano suffered his first injury of the Spring. Bone bruise to his instep. Is it my imagination or is this guy living under a black cloud. Hopefully he doesn't go outside during a thunderstorm

Anonymous said...

AL hypothefications are coming soon....

Crash said...'re an idiot. Did you just pull those teams out of a hat and try to guess as to how you can justify it. The only thing I can guarantee is that those 3 teams will not be in the playoffs...let alone win their respective divisions. Here is the way things will shake out:

East: Has to go through NY. Starting Pitching is a question mark but it's the same question mark everyone else has in the East. The Braves do have Smoltz, James needs to avoid the Soph jinx, Hampton is coming off surgery and doesn't sound confident (in a recent interview he sounded like he was scared of hurting himself again) and Hudson hasn't been the same since leaving Oakland. The Marlins may have the best staff potentially but they are also young and need to prove they can do it again. If they can, they may make a run at NY. I think NY just has too much offense, they will win the division and will be bounced early again come the playoffs.

Central: Until proven other wise it's going to be St Louis. The Cubs need Prior to stay healthy for one full year. That hasn't happened yet and don't look for it to start this year. Call me crazy but Ted Lily just doesn't have what it takes to be a #2 or 3 guy. They will make it a race though as will the Brewers. Cinci won't be a factor. Despite having the best pitching prospect in the game today (yes some say even better than Hughes)he won't be there to help. Outside of Aaron Harang and Arroyo they have no pitching. By the way did anyone see that Bubba Crosby ended up on the Reds?

West: Arizona is too young and RJ is not the type of guy you want leading young players. The West is a crappy division. Look for it to be a tight race all year, with even the Rockies staying in it for a little while. It will come down to LA and SD battling it out the last week of the season.

The NL Wild Card will prove to be the best race of them all. The Marlins, Brewers, Astros, Cubs, and everyone in the West go down to the wire, basically only Pittsburgh and Washington are officially eliminated as of now. I'm calling for the Brewers to surprise everyone and take the wild card.

Anonymous said...

Let's put an end to the debate, right here right now - there is no way, and the rock means, NO Way, the Mets win the NL East.

The Scooter said...

Mets would have to seriously stub their toe not to win the East. Lineup is very good to great (depending on the year Delgado has) and the bullpen is probably the best in the division. Yes, the starting pitching sucks, but what they lack in quality they make up for in depth. Plus if you think Omar is not going to go out and get a hurler by the trading deadline than your nuts.

Hey, trust me, I'm not Mets fan, but I can't see any of the following being strong contenders to their NL East Crown:

The Braves (pitching issues of their own, without the lineup strength of the Mets)

The Phillies (pitching vastly improved with the addition of Garcia and expected growth of Hammels...but its Howard, Utley and Rollins and then a bunch of triple A talent in their lineup)

The Marlins (their best player is unhappy and the season hasnt even started yet; their best pitcher will be elsewhere by the trading deadline; and their best manager is working at YES)

Crash said...

Nicely put Scooter.

Middle Relief said...

The Mets will finish 3rd at best.

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