Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 National League Preview

Another regular season is upon us and that means that it is prediction time for a lot of writers across the inter-web. There will be surprise teams, surprise players, and even some other surprises along the way. The unknown and unpredictability of baseball is one of the most enduring qualities of "America's Pasttime."

Throughout the coming week, I will be making my picks for the National League and the American League, taking a closer look at the AL Central, and selecting awards for the Twins. Here is a look at the weekly schedule so make sure to stop in all week to get yourself primed for the season to come.

2015 Preview Series
  • National League Preview
  • American League Preview
  • American League Central Preview
  • Minnesota Twins Awards Preview
NL East Champions: Washington Nationals
The Nats have baseball's best rotation and an offensive that should be able to score enough runs to support that staff. Anything less than a World Series run will seem like a disappointment for this year's squad. Max Scherzer's addition for truckloads of money shows how serious this club is about winning now. Bryce Harper could be ready for a breakout season and a healthy Anthony Rendon could have his name in the NL MVP race. This could be one of the best team's in the history of the game and they seemed destined for greatness.

NL Central Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
This might be the most highly contested division in the National League since the Nats and the Dodgers are expected to run away with things. St. Louis seems destined for another trip to the playoffs after trading for Jason Heyward. Their line-up looks solid from top to bottom and this makes it tough to get outs. There are some question marks in the rotation as Adam Wainwright had off-season elbow surgery. Pittsburgh will be breathing down their throats but St. Louis has the stronger team and will have to match-up with the Dodgers in the Divisional Round.

NL West Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers and the Nats will be battling for the NL's top overall seed. With Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu anchoring their rotation, this team has one of the best trio of pitchers in the league. Off-season additions of Jimmy Rollins, Yasmani Grandal, and Howie Kendrick add some veteran leadership to go alongside young players like Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson. The Padres are improved and the Giants are the defending champions but it's hard not to imagine the Dodgers coming out as the division winner.

Wild-Card Winners: Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins
There's a strong chance the Pirates could sneak in and win the NL Central especially if St. Louis suffers an injury or two. Andrew McCutchen will be back in the MVP race and the organization has been running like a well oiled machine in recent years. Miami surprised a lot of people last season and their young players have one more year of experience under their belt. A Marlins playoff appearance would end an 11-year playoff drought. Jose Fernandez is back to anchor a rotation with five solid starters and Giancarlo Stanton could win his first MVP.

Wild-Card Game: Pirates over Marlins
Division Series: Nationals over Pirates, Cardinals over Dodgers
Championship Series: Nationals over Cardinals

National League Award Picks (Sleeper Pick)
MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins (Jason Heyward, OF, Cardinals)
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers (Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Nationals)
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Yasmany Tomas, 3B, Diamondbacks)

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