Your 2013 OTFB MLB NL Predictions LLC (TM)

Yesterday, Will and I took a look at the American League, and now we’re here to examine the National League, saying all sorts of things that will be proven false by October. 

Read on: 

MIKE: 

NL East (Wins in ( ), * denotes Wild Card) 

  1. Washington Nationals (101)
  2. Atlanta Braves* (92)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies (82)
  4. New York Mets (74)
  5. Florida Marlins (59)

This year, with freedom ringing out in Washington and America’s best weapons being let loose, I see the Washington Nationals having perhaps the best season ever for either the Expos or the Senators. (The Expos/Nationals NEVER won as many as 98 games before last season, and the Senators ONCE won 99 games). While Gio Gonzalez and Adam Laroche will probably take a step back, Strasburg, Harper, Zimmerman and Zimmermann should hold down the fort. It’s going to be a beautiful year for the curly W’s. 

As for the Braves, they’ll be fielding a great team too, thanks to the 1,000 home runs hit by the feel-good story of the year in Evan Gattis. The rotation is solid and the outfield of Upton/Upton/Heyward could be the best trio in baseball. 

The Phillies are aging, the Mets don’t have enough pieces beyond Captain America, and the Marlins will have to suffer for Jeffrey Loria’s actions. If they lose 110 games, it will bring great sourgrapes joy to the hearts baseball fans the world over. 

NL Central:

  1. Cincinnati Reds (93)
  2. St. Louis Cardinals (90)
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates (78)
  4. Milwaukee Brewers (77)
  5. Chicago Cubs (72)

Baseball is simply better when things are going well for the Redlegs. Baseball’s oldest club and holder of the biggest Opening Day parade have perhaps baseball’s best pure hitter in Joey Votto and a lot of pitchers that can easily top the 200 inning mark, something that is a lot harder to do than people think. They won’t run away with the division, but they’re solid at nearly every position.

The Cardinals, their messy middle infield and the loss of Chris Carpenter will be just enough to keep them out of the playoffs, Allen Craig’s emergence and Yadier Molina’s continued dominance notwithstanding. 

As for the rest of the division, as much as I’d like to believe in the Pirates finally getting over the hump of 81 wins, how can one do that when Jeff Karstens is on the DL and Jonathan Sanchez and his 8.07 ERA is slotted to start the year in the #4 spot in the rotation? The Brewers are sliding back towards rebuilding and the Cubs are just beginning their Theo Epstein march towards dominance. 

NL WEST

  1. San Francisco Giants (95)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers* (92)
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks (83)
  4. San Diego Padres (76)
  5. Colorado Rockies (74)

When I sat down to write this, I was going to put the Dodgers at the top. After all, they have, if not baseball’s best pitcher in Clayton Kershaw than the 1A, but they added roughly $40 billion in payroll, but then I thought about it. Though they have a lot of talent, there are still some very rough patches in that lineup. But the Giants, even without a Tim Lincecum have a rotation that can match up pretty well with the Dodgers plus a little magical elf named Marco Scutaro. I don’t necessarily think the Giants are the better team, but because I’m like a salty baseball manager, I’m going on gut feeling.

Which is kind of what the Diamondbacks are doing who will grit their way to semi-contention thanks to the scrappy play of Willie Bloomquist and the axe-throwing, beard growing skills of Josh Collmenter. The Padres, sadly killing my favorite extreme pitchers park, will struggle despite Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley’s best attempts otherwise and the Rockies will hopelessly wander the National League wondering just what human being they must sacrifice to get some pitching. 

MVP: Joey Votto

That Canadian is like, majorly good at baseball. 

Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

Really not going on much of a limb here. 

ROY: Evan Gattis

At this point, I’d vote Gattis for pretty much anything. Does he want to be the first selectman in my hometown? 

Best Beard: Josh Collmenter

He throws axes, people. That means he knows beard science. 

Best Twitter Account: Brandon McCarthy. 

I mean, come on. 

AL Champs: Rays

NL Champs: Nationals 

World Series Champs: Nationals

World Series Losers: TV Ratings 

——-

WILL:

NL East

  1. Washington Nationals (101)
  2. Atlanta Braves* (95)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies (78)
  4. New York Mets (70)
  5. Miami Marlins (55)

Like many others, I think the Nationals, on paper, are the best team in baseball. Their pitching, through the whole starting rotation through the bullpen, is absolutely solid. Perhaps the exception is Dan Haren, depending on how much his past injuries are bothering him. A full year of Stephen Strasburg and continued development from Bryce Harper will be spectacular to behold. The Braves seem like a lock for second place and a wild card appearance - sending the Upton brothers and Jayson Heyward to the plate on a regular basis should help that. Look for a negative 14-win swing for Miami, despite a monster year from Giancarlo Stanton.

NL Central

  1. Cincinnati Reds (97)
  2. St. Louis Cardinals (90)
  3. Milwaukee Brewers (85)
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates (83)
  5. Chicago Cubs (65)


The Reds won 79 games in 2011 and then upped that number to an impressive 97 in 2012, despite ranking 21st in runs scored. With a slightly improved offense and the one-two top of the rotation punch of Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, I don’t see why the team can’t hit 97 wins again, usual disclaimers aside. St. Louis will be its usual solid self but will JUST miss out on the playoffs. Milwaukee, depsite the recent addition of Kyle Lohse to the rotation, will suffer from the two-month absence of Corey Hart’s power to contend. The Pirates have a lot of upside both with the offense and pitching, and if everything breaks right, the team could really surprise, but I don’t think it’s quite their year yet. The Cubs are still the cubs - they’ll struggle on the way back to legitimacy.


NL West


  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (92)
  2. San Francisco Giants* (91)
  3. San Diego Padres (78)
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks (76)
  5. Colorado Rockies (70)

Los Angeles is in the middle of a an incredibly risky experiment of mixing one part baseball with fifty parts money. Going by recent performances, the offense isn’t that terrifying. I’ll throw my hat in the ring and say that both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will benefit from the complete change of scenery and put up solid offensive numbers, and that when Hanley Ramirez returns from his thumb injury, he’ll be a solid contributor. The Giants are still good enough to grab a Wild Card slot, if not the division. San Diego will build on its win total from last year, Arizona’s grit experiment won’t be a huge success, and the Rockies will improve slightly (but no one will really notice).

MVP: Giancarlo Stanton

His number will be even stronger when the voters truly understand the lineup he was batting in.

Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

That full year is going to yield a filthy stat line.


ROY: Shelby Miller

Most views of Criterion Collection films: Ike Davis

Best craigslist ad listing a free couch (must be picked up): Michael Young

AL Champ: Blue Jays

NL Champ: Nationals

World Series Champ: Nationals

World Series Loser: Phillies fans

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