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Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on March 29, 2009
Last week, the AHP writers predicted the major awards of the Junior and Senior Circuit, now they sit down again to come up with forcastings for the three division standings, first with the American League yesterday and now with the National League. Is this the year the Mets keep it up in September? Can the Cubs overcome the curse in year 101? Does Manny make the difference in the East? Come and join the discussion in the comment section.
ZACH: The World-Champion Phillies will NOT need a Met choke this year, albeit its likely to come anyway. Improved rotation, Ibanez > Burrell and a healthy Utley certainly makes a Phillie fan happy. The Braves are better, although not good enough to contend. As far as the Marlins and Nationals go, well, just take your pick!
ROBERT: Philadelphia. Even if Moyer can’t duplicate last season, they will have Blanton all year, providing the rotation some depth. Adding Ibanez to bolster an already potent attack puts them over the top. The Mets and Marlins should make it interesting, however.
MATT: The Mets partially addressed their pitching woes by signing Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, but don’t be fooled into thinking this guarantees that their pen will improve. They still lack depth down there and Putz and K-Rod are both ticking time bombs for injury. The Phillies downgraded themselves from Burrell to Ibanez (at significantly higher cost) and should not expect Brad Lidge to be as automatic as he was last year. Add those concerns to the omnipresent worry that Jamie Moyer will stop defying the laws of nature at some point and the Phillies’ very shaky starting rotation and I’m giving the Mets the nod this season, though we shouldn’t rule out the new-look Braves.
DANIEL: Atlanta’s rebuilt rotation should allow it to move up in the standings. The Mets just look too strong, however, with their new end of the bullpen and the same rotation as last season.
BJOERN: I picked the Mets the last two years and now that they finally have a bullpen and the Phillies did nothing to get better, this has to be their New Yorks wins the East. Altanta revamped their rotation, but I don’t think they will hit enough, especially with Chipper already hurting. Florida could surprise if their pitchers hold down the fort. Washington, while better, is still bad.
Hate the Brewers this year. They have no pitching whatsoever, not very good defense, and they're only one key injury away from being closer to the Pirates than the Cubs.
THIS JUST IN: The Pirates still stink.
ZACH: The Cubs, like the Red Sox and Angels, will win this division uncontested. Add Bradley to that outfield and you have a great top 8. Mix that it with one of the best rotations in the game and you have a World Series contender. The Loss of Sabathia will hurt the Brewers enough to allow St. Louis to creep into second.
ROBERT: Chicago. The Cubs have too much pitching (especially if Rich Harden lasts 150 innings) and offense for the Cards and Brewers to combat. Watch for Soriano to put injuries behind him and have one last elite season.
MATT: The NL Central is just not that interesting to me. I see no one that can legitimately challenge the Cubs. The Brewers got a huge step worse this year unless they can magically find some pitching. Houston isn’t ready to rise to the top yet, nor are the Cardinals, who have apparently decided that spending money is the root of all evil despite one of the most loyal fanbases in the game.
DANIEL: The Cubs’ rotation is too deep, especially after they acquire Jake Peavy in the Padres’ firesale. The Cardinals are better than people give them credit for, especially with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright healthy.
BJOERN: The Cubs are a very well-rounded team, strong offense with solid pitching and they should run away with the division again. St. Louis has the next best offense, but they would need Carpenter to return at full strength to really challenge the Cubs. Milwaukee should still be better than Houston because they have the better offense, but -like every team in this division but the Cubs – their rotation does not look that inspiring. Cinncinati has not enough offense and Pittsburgh nothing.
2K9: Houston Astros
ZACH: Dodgers finally re-signed Manny, enabling them to potentially keep their hold on the division lead (as of now). The Diamonbacks sure have a heck of a rotation, but not enough offense. Like not enough at all. The Giants will be well-improved. Renteria and Randy Johnson are no studs, but they will help. Word is the Padres will have to trade Peavy. If they do, I doubt they top 70 games. In the win column, that is.
ROBERT: Los Angeles Dodgers. The re-signing of Manny Ramirez places them a step above the rest of the division. Their Achilles heel will be the rotation, especially if Wolf and Schmidt can’t cut it. Arizona is the only other team on the horizon.
MATT: We’re basically got two decent teams and then the rest in the west. San Francisco comically overpaid for Renteria and didn’t get much else in the way of help. Colorado still has all kinds of problems and now they’re minus Holliday. San Diego needs to find about half a dozen bats. It will be close between the D’Backs and the Dodgers, but for now, we’ll give the edge to last year’s winner.
DANIEL: The Padres are going to be historically bad, while the Dodgers should run away with this division. The Diamondbacks are pretty good and will probably be only three or four games back once the season is over.
BJOERN: The Dodgers have the best offense and if Billingsley can anchor an otherwise mediocre rotation, they should win the East easily. Arizona and San Francisco both have excellent starters at the top of their rotation, but the D’backs can score, while the Giants are as bad as the Padres on offense. The Rockies are only o.k. without Holliday, but should still be better than the Giants. The Padres will be the worst team in the majors, especially if they deal Peavy (as they should).
MLB2K9: Colorado Rockies
How do you see the National League races breaking down?