By Bob Kemp |
2021 NATIONAL LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
*1. ATLANTA: The multi-time defending division champs should cruise with the other division foes showing significant faults.
*2. NEW YORK: The unknown managerial history of Luis Rojas, the Carlos Carrasco spring training injury, and the awful defense is too much to overcome the Braves.
*3. PHILADELPHIA: The offense should be good and the defense decent, but is there enough pitching, plus would ownership spend if needed at the trade deadline?
*4. WASHINGTON: Stephen Strasburg is already ailing, Patrick Corbin was awful in 2020 and his velocity has been low in spring training and the infield defense is worse than the Mets.
*5. MIAMI: The 2020 playoff appearance was a joke, but the young rotation is not a joke. The problem is the lineup, one of the worst in baseball.
*1. MILWAUKEE: Craig Counsell is the best NL manager, the defense is below average only at 1B and the bullpen is lights out.
*2. ST. LOUIS: Forty percent of the rotation will begin the season on the IL and the up the middle defensive losses at 2B and CF are decisive.
*3. CHICAGO: The biggest boom or bust team in baseball – could win MLB’s weakest division or be a massive seller at the trade deadline.
*4. CINCINNATI: Surprisingly closer to the Pirates than Cubs even before a likely massive trade deadline sale.
*5. PITTSBURGH: Baseball’s worst roster, but probably not the worst record because of the division it plays in.
*1. LOS ANGELES: The 1988 World Series pressure is gone, but it can’t afford a championship hangover because of the improved Padres (remember, one of them will land in the one-game playoff round).
*2. SAN DIEGO: The rotation might be deadly, but Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, and Blake Snell all have an injury history.
*3. SAN FRANCISCO: A prime candidate to be .500 approaching the trade deadline and still selling because of the division and the multiple veterans that could help contenders.
*4. ARIZONA: At best a .500 team before Zac Gallen (staff ace) and Kole Calhoun (2020 best position player) was injured during spring training.
*5. COLORADO: Likely headed for the most losses in the NL with 19 meetings against both the Dodgers and Padres, plus Trevor Story and German Marquez are prime trade candidates.
*NL PLAYOFFS: Wild Card – New York over San Diego
*NLDS – Los Angeles over New York, Atlanta over Milwaukee