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Monday, April 02, 2007

My 2007 Baseball Predictions: NL Division Winners & World Series Participant

By David

The NL is a lot more competitive and there are at least ten teams who can reach the playoffs. This creates for parity and last year the eventual World Series champions, the St.Louis Cardinals, only needed to win 83 games to secure the NL Central crown.

NL East

Philadelphia revamped their pitching staff during the off season and shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed that the Phillies are the team to beat in the NL East. He might be setting high expectations for his club, but when you look through the rest of the division no other team scares you. The Mets have fantastic offense, but their starting rotation has many question marks and they have no bridge to get to closer Billy Wagner.

The Braves have several young players on their team coupled in with the Jones' duo and veteran John Smoltz. While Atlanta wants to reclaim the honor of being the class of the division they will have to settle for a third place finish. The Marlins should settle around .500 and it would be a success for the Nats if they avoided 100 losses.

NL Central

Even though the NL Central won't have a team top 90 wins it will prove to be a very competitive division. The defending champs will be there until the end, the Brewers will prove to be a surprising team and the Cubs will look to prove that spending $300 million can produce a winner.

Despite adding Carlos Lee, the Astros will struggle because of a lack of quality pitching and will find themselves as a sub .500 team. The Reds seem to stay a float till June and once the Summer hits they fizzle in the heat. Pittsburgh improved their ball club during the off season with the addition of slugger Adam LaRoche, but they are still very young.

This might seem like a bold prediction, but I expect the Brewers to win the division. Milwaukee has a potent lineup and the best pitching in the division. If Ben Sheets can stay healthy and Francisco Cordero can come through as the closer, the Brew Crew have the opportunity to beat out the Cards.

St.Louis seems to have too many uncertainties with their starting five and they also have no plan B if Izzy goes down, again. I find it too difficult for the Cubs to go from 96 losses to a real contender in the division.

NL West

The Dodgers are the class of the division, but just like the AL Central there are many great teams and players. The D-backs and Rockies are two young improving teams and I would not be surprised if Arizona stayed in contention till late September. The Giants spent $126 million to sign pitching ace Barry Zito, but overall their team is not good enough to contend.

While the Padres have excellent pitching [Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Greg Maddux], there offense is porous and at best they will finish in second place. L.A. has a terrific pitching staff and despite not having a true power bat, the Dodgers have very good balance in their lineup. This could be the year that Grady Little and his men represent the NL in the World Series.


First Round: Phillies over Brewers; Dodgers over Mets

NLCS: Dodgers over Phillies

World Series Participant: L.A. Dodgers

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers


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