Over the next week, The Redbird Daily writers will be participating in a few roundtable discussions on the upcoming Major League Baseball season. We would love for you to join the discussion by commenting below with your picks! Today we will tackle the National League.
National League West
Kyle Reis – The obvious answer is the Dodgers, and as long as Clayton Kershaw is pitching they’ll make the playoffs. I’m awfully bullish on the Rockies and the Diamondbacks, with the DBacks finish right above .500. The Rox have a minor league system with a ton of depth. Per usual, their starting staff is a terrible question mark, but the lineup is deep for days and their bullpen has the potential to be as lethal as the 2015 Royals. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they get a wild card berth.
Ryan Massey – The Giants and Dodgers rivalry will continue in 2017. I know it’s not an odd ending year, but I see the Giants winning the NL West. This division could become one of the toughest in the National League, as I expect Colorado and Arizona to be above .500 teams. The easiest prediction of 2017… The San Diego Padres will not win the NL West.
Austin Lamb – I also believe that the Giants will win the NL West in 2017. The Dodgers rotation is a pretty big question mark, especially considering Kershaw’s injury issues last season. The Giants have a solid lineup, good defense, and a deeper rotation than the Dodgers. I also like the Dbacks and Rockies, but do not see them winning the division. For years the NL Central seemed to be the toughest division in NL, but that time seems to have passed.
Allen Medlock- It’s difficult to pick against the Giants. The division will be close with San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the improved Rockies, but the Giants have the winning formula.
Clay Beyersdorfer- Every year I want to say “This is Colorado’s year” but they can’t put a starting rotation together to save their lives. Hence, I will pick the Dodgers, and be super lame about this..
Rusty Groppel – The consensus pick seems to be the Dodgers. Kershaw makes them a contender and they managed to keep Jansen on the back end. Will Turner continue to produce? Is there enough starting pitching behind Kershaw? I don’t know. What I do know is that I love the top 2 of Madbum and Kung Fu Johnny in San Fran. Matt Moore rediscovered his cutter after being traded there last season and could be a legitimate top of the rotation force. That trio plus an offense that always finds a way and someone that can actually finish games off in Mark Melancon, that Giants take it.
Colin Garner- I think the Giants and Dodgers engage in another nail biter down the stretch. I think the Rockies will be improved, but they simply don’t have the pitching to hang with LA or San Francisco. I think the Dodgers reign in the NL West comes to and end, and the Giants win the division. Dodgers are the second wild card.
National League Central
Kyle Reis – It’s the Cubs. They are still the best team in the central, even if they are a shell of their 2016 selves. I’m tempted to go with the Pirates as the second best team in the Central, but I think there bullpen is suspect and I don’t think Gerrit Cole will stay healthy long enough to make the impact they need. I’ll go all-homer and say that the Cards lock up the 1st wild card. Also, man, are the Reds bad.
Ryan Massey – The Chicago Cubs continue to have superior pitching, hitting and fielding. However, they could have some World Series hang over and falter early. If the Cardinals have any chance of taking the NL Central back, they need to beat up on the rest of the devision. Unfortunately, the Cardinals are competing for a wild card spot this year.
Austin Lamb – The Cardinals fan in me wishes I could write that they will win the NL Central. However, this is unfortunately not the case as the Cubs are still the team to beat in the Central. Their rotation and lineup are both very dominant, and their trade for Wade Davis will keep a dominant stopper at the backend of the ‘pen following Chapman’s departure. The Cardinals will again be competing for a wild card, and I’m not truly confident they will secure one of those spots either.
Allen Medlock – Chicago may win the division, but it’s going to be incredibly close. The Cubs have never had to play the favorite and won’t get the same luck with injuries in 2017. I’m bullish on the Cardinals. I’m hoping that STL can flip the script and get in as a W.C. and eliminate the Cubs.
Clay Beyersdorfer – The St. Louis Cardinals are not going to win this division. They’re going to win 84-5 games and hope to God that gets them in the Wildcard. We did not improve enough over the off-season, and anyone who says otherwise is delusional. The Chicago Cubs did get better, still have the best line-up in the division, and feature one of the best game managers in baseball.
Rusty Groppel – I’ll do it, I’ll be the homer that picks the Cardinals by a hair. Why not? It’s more fun this way. I might be a little to bullish on the rotation. I’m pretty confident that Wacha holds up for the entire year and pitches like a #2. Lynn will be Lynn, Leake will be Leake, and Waino just needs to be a solid 5th starter. The Cubs rotation is bound to regress. Kyle Hendricks is not what he was last year. Lackey is ancient and it was starting to show. Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery in the 5th spot? You’re a bold man Joe Maddon. They had incredible luck with rotation health last year. It won’t happen again. Wade Davis is due for serious arm issues, and had some last year. Kyle Schwarber is not an outfielder, Heyward is not going to bounce back, and “You go, we go” Fowler plays for the good guys now. Cards take it 95 wins to 94. File this under BOLD predictions.
Colin Garner- The NL central will be the best race in baseball come September. I think the Cardinals are better than most people think. The vibe I got yesterday was that their confident, and have a chip on their shoulder. In the end, the Cubs firepower will win the division, even if it takes until the last weekend. Cards are a wild card.
National League East
Kyle Reis – I don’t know what to think of the Mets. Is Matt Harvey healthy? How does the lineup and rotation shake out? They’ll be just outside of a playoff spot. If #Natitude doesn’t win the division it’ll be the biggest upset in baseball for the 2017 season. Also, the Marlins, Phillies, and Braves aren’t as bad as you might think. This might end up as the best division in baseball by the end of 2017.
Ryan Massey – The Nationals will 100 games this year. They have added a great hitter in Adam Eaton this past offseason and continue to have a great starting rotation. Their biggest variable will be at the closer position. With the loss Mark Melancon signing with the Giants, the Nats will rely on Shawn Kelly as closer. Only time will tell if he can handle the switch from set-up to closer.
Austin Lamb – I love the Mets’ rotation when they’re all healthy and clicking, but that already doesn’t seem to be the case. Matz has been limited by a sore elbow, Harvey has had a less than stellar spring, and Zack Wheeler is the ultimate question mark every season. The Nationals should roll to a NL East championship behind their formidable lineup and rotation. Even if Harper isn’t the player he was in 2015, he should bounce back for a more solid campaign than 2016.
Allen Medlock – The Nationals will be the best team in the National League. Anthony Rendon is a step away from being a star, and the rotation is very formidable. I have few questions about their bullpen, but that can be a fix at the deadline.
Clay Beyersdorfer – The Nats. And it won’t be close.
Rusty Groppel – Nothing crazy this time. Nationals win the East. If any doubts arise at the back end of the bullpen, they’ll dial up the White Sox and give in on any demands for Robertson, and they may not need to.
Colin Garner- I think the Mets hang with the Nats in the first half, but they will fade down the stretch. Washington takes the division in time to set up their rotation.
National League Championship
Kyle Reis – I think it would be a tragedy for baseball if the Nationals aren’t headed to the World Series when the dust settles. I’ll say the Nats over the Dodgers, with #Natitude having the best record in the NL.
Ryan Massey – This is the year of the Nationals. They have been inching closer and closer every year, and will finally get it done in 2017. Not only do I think the Nats win the NL Pennant, but also think they will win the World Series.
Austin Lamb – Our ole pal Dusty Baker leads the Nationals to a NL Championship.
Allen Medlock – Washington will beat San Francisco to finally win the pennant. David Robertson will close out game seven to move on to face the indians.
Clay Beyersdorfer – as Jon Hamm would say “this is the not f*&cking around crew,” as Washington did not play games this off-season, and will be a full on wrecking ball this year. I expect them to win big as a result.
Rusty Groppel – The Giants topple the Cardinals (because we never beat the Giants in the playoffs. Why didn’t I take the Dodgers?) and the Nationals get Bummed out in the NLCS. Kluber and Bumgarner pitch a couple instant classics in the World Series.
Colin Garner -2017 is the year the Nationals finally make some October noise. After they stun the Cubs, they will defeat the Cardinals in the NLCS.