Bob Haynie: 2014 National League Preview

The 2014 Major League Baseball season officially began last weekend in Australia as the Los Angeles Dodgers swept two games from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Things begin in the states next week and predictions for the upcoming year are coming fast and furious.

As you know, I enjoy making predictions as much as anyone. I’m on bit of a cold streak. Fortunately, that will not deter me from doing my thing.

We’ll tackle the National league first.

In 2013, the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and the Dodgers all won their respective divisions with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds playing in the Wild Card game. The Cardinals would win the pennant and make it to the Word Series were they would lose to the Red Sox in six games.

Prior to last season, I picked the Washington Nationals to win the NL pennant. The Nats finished 86-76 and out of the playoffs.

Will they redeem themselves in ’14? Let’s find out.

NL East:

1) Nationals: Strong rotation. Offense will be better.
2) Braves: Injuries to Medlen and Beachy crush their rotation. Strong core of young stars.
3) Phillies: They’re old. If the old guys hold up, could surprise. If not, they’ll plummet.
4) Mets: Even without Harvey, they have a good rotation. Granderson adds pop to lineup.
5) Marlins: Will be improved. But still last.

NL Central:

1) Cardinals: Deep team. Good everywhere.
2) Pirates: CF McCutchen is a stud. P Gerrit Cole is close to being one too.
3) Brewers: Good rotation. Lineup could pack a punch.
4) Reds: New manager in Bryan Price. Closer Chapman will be out for a while.
5) Cubs: Still rebuilding. Former Oriole pitchers Hammel and Strop are on the roster while Arrieta battles injury.

NL West:

1) Dodgers: Best lineup in NL. Like Cardinals, deep and talented.
2) Giants: Looking for their rotation to return to 2012 form. Offense is solid.
3) Rockies: SS Tulowitzki and OF Gonzalez pace an entertaining offense. Can they pitch?
4) Diamondbacks: SP Corbin is gone for the season with TJ surgery. OF Trumbo brings power.
5) Padres: Already beset with injuries to the rotation. 3B Headley looks to bounce-back.

Wild Cards:

1) Braves
2) Pirates

NL Champ:


Friday, we’ll pick the American League

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