Major League Baseball’s National League. It consists of 15 teams and split into three divisions. East, Central, West. I’m telling you this because you may have gone brain dead due to the amount of time you’ve spent inside, rather than watching sports. Below I will rank all 15 NL teams starting from last and working the way up to number 1. I will also be providing my predictions for the respective teams’ records.
15. Pittsburgh Pirates 59-103
Pittsburgh is at yet another rebuild stage. They are well in the waters of this dark and gloomy time as well. Chris Archer still hasn’t proved he is capable of consecutive quality starts, Jameson Taillon is about the only major talent they have on the pitching side. While offensively you have weapons such as Josh Bell, and plenty of young talent. While there is still loads of work to do to get the Pirates back to their winning ways, they still have a few years to build around Josh Bell. Time is ticking though, as by the time they have a great young core come in Josh Bell might be a trade piece to acquire said talent.
14. San Francisco Giants 62-100
Giants fans have watched their team gradually slip from World Series Champions to an old, mediocre team that is 1 step away from a rebuild. With the hiring of Gabe Kapler, and Father Time soon to get his grasp on Buster Posey, the Giants are only headed downhill. Hunter Pence was a nice signing. After having a magical 2019 Hunter Pence managed to land a deal with Sam Francisco, who he left a year prior. It is the cycle of a championship franchise, eventually the players would wear down and with enough bad management decisions the team would be run to the ground. Expect a tough year for the Bat Area.
13. Miami Marlins 65-97
Miami made some moves this offseason, signing a stud in 2B Jonathan Villar, veteran OF Corey Dickerson, slugger Jesus Aguilar, and stealing division rival veterans Matt Joyce and Francisco Cervelli. The Marlins already have young studs Jordan Yamamoto, Sandy Alcantara, Brian Anderson and Caleb Smith. This team is stacked with youth and has a good mix of veterans. The one concern is the fact that the Miami Marlins always manage to turn a team that is good on paper, to a 4th or 5th place team. Does Miami have potential for an 80+ win season? Quite possibly. I think this rebuild still has a couple more years before they are ready for some division contention, but the Marlins definitely have a great young core, and even more to come.
12. Colorado Rockies 67-95
The Rockies Front Office somehow managed to make Nolan Arenado even more upset as they tossed his name around with trade talks in the offseason. Having a displeased superstar does not help your cause to win games by any means. You know what else doesn’t? Not making a single move the entire offseason. The Rockies have always lacked quality starters, asides from an occasional Kyle Freeland or Jon Gray 7 inning game. This is due to the fact that they play in Coors Field, where Billy Hamilton can send the ball as far as Barry Bonds with a metal bat. Having a hitter friendly park will not attract pitchers, but this is no reason to not be aggressive and to not make a single move in Free Agency. The Rockies have some elite hitters in Arenado and Story, but they lack serious depth in the organization, and will not be finding success soon, until they find a reliable few starting pitchers.
11. Milwaukee Brewers 75-87
I’m going to receive a lot of heat for this one. I already sense it. So while the entire state of Wisconsin is foaming from the mouth in anger allow me to explain myself. The Brewers lots some key parts of their offensive success from 2019. Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal both departed for upcoming and youthful teams. Christian Yelich is still a top 7 player in baseball (depends on where you rank pitchers) but expecting Manny Piña, Omar Narváez, and Brock Holt to create as much offense as Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas is just a unattainable dream. The bullpen isn’t a great one, but it can get the job done. The rotation, as usual with Milwaukee, could use some work. The team has had success the past couple of years, ever since they acquired Christian Yelich. He could very easily carry them to another playoff spot, but I just don’t see it with the lack of help this year.
10. Philadelphia Phillies 84-78
The Philadelphia Phillies continue to sign notable free agents. This year they added Didi Gregorius to the powerhouse offense, but their key signing was Zack Wheeler. Wheeler can be super inconsistent at times. He loses control of his command very easily, but when he dies have command he is possibly a top 30 pitcher in baseball. Thing is though, that his good side only comes out about once every 3 starts. The rotation could use help still, the horrendous bullpen has not been added to, and when you don’t have good pitching, you won’t have good results. Philadelphia is a 4th place team and until the prove me wrong I will always believe they are a 4th place team.
9. Chicago Cubs 87-75
The Chicago Cubs did not add to the pitching staff at all, asides from Dan Winkler who is as average as they come. They lost Cole Hamels and that is a huge blow to their rotation, as that leaves Tyler Chatwood (Yikes) as the front runner for the number 5 spot in the rotation. They still have plenty of offense as stars Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo are still with the squad, and young breakout due player’s like Albert Almora Jr and David Bote can help produce. The addition of Jason Kipnis also help mix in even more veteranship. This team has stuck at a good pace for a while, and I still see Chicago as a 80+ win team.
8. Washington Nationals 88-74
The defending champs. The Curly W. The Nationals made a historic run in 2019, after starting the season 19-31, they seemed dead and all hope was gone. That was until the team was suddenly lifted by young phenom Juan Sotó, and veterans Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman. This team went from no playoff series wins to a World Series Champion. The Nationals finished 2019 with a 93-69 record, earning a Wild Card berth and pulled off a miracle win against the Milwaukee Brewers, in which is famous, or notorious, for the 8th inning 3 RBI double from Juan Sotó that took a funny hop and skipped by Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham. That lit a spark that led the Nationals to win the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers after being down 2 games to 0. The Nationals went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, sending them to the World Series. In the World Series, the home team did not win a single game, as in games 1 and 2 the Nationals secured those games in Houston, then Houston struck back in all 3 games against the Nationals’ home fans. They went into Houston for game 6, and pulled out the win after a clutch homerun from Anthony Rendon sparked a win, and you know the rest. The Nationals did not stop there, as they signed Astros relief arm Will Harris. They still boast one of, if not the best rotations in baseball with Max Scherzer, World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez. They also added solid veteran hitters Starlin Castro and Eric Thames. Could they have another magical year? Yes, of course. I, however, anticipate a downfall, but they will not go down without a fight.
7. New York Mets 90-72
The New York Mets has a somewhat surprisingly successful year. After the signing of Canó and Lowrie, it was expected that the team would see playoffs. Of course as we all know Canó was injured for a bit, Lowrie, Cespedes were injured for the whole year, the year was an injury/fest as usual for the New York Mets. But alas! A rookie phenom that will carry the Mets to an 86-76 record, break the Mets’ rookie homerun record before the All-Star Break, and break the MLB Rookie Homerun record, and of course win the Home Run Derby? Pete Alonso had an amazing year, and with the help of other arrivals the Mets could make a playoff push. Losing Zack Wheeler was a significant downgrade for the Mets, as they now have a huge question mark at the 5th rotation spot. Oh yeah they also added this guy named Dellin Betances. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him but he’s pretty good. Expect another playoff push year from the Mets in an intriguing NL East.
6. San Diego Padrés 90-72
The San Diego Padrés are going to be a fun team to watch again in 2020. Fernando Tatís Jr. is one of the most electric players of this generation of youthful studs. Manny Machado is still one of the best Third-basemen in baseball, Kirby Yates is one of the best Closers in baseball, and Chris Oaddack will only get better, just gotta work on some anger management. The team had a huge fall-off in 2019 after star Tatís Jr. suffered a season-ending injury. When Tatís is not there, the Padrés fall off hard. They were on pace to make a push for the playoffs, then fell to a sub-80 win season. This season the Padrés made some moves, including the fleece of a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in which the Swingin’ Friars recurved quakity bullpen arm Emilio Pagan and outfielder Tommy Pham. San Diego is set for a playoff push, but I have them missing by just a few divisional games to the team you will see next. I am a believer in the Padrés and that they will get it done this year.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72, WC
Arizona has a good year last season, not playoff worthy but it was a good season. The charge was led by breakout star Ketel Marté. This team has plenty of youth to go with veteranship, including David Peralta, Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley, Zac Gallen, and many others. The Diamondbacks though, were not able to settle for just good. They went out and traded for OF Starling Marté, and signed long time division rival Madison Bumgarner. Both were huge names that were looking for a new team and this team will be fun to watch this year. Unfortunately you can only get so far with just good pitching, and Arizona just doesn’t quite yet have what it takes to take the division crown from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
4. St. Louis Cardinals 91-71, WC
The Cardinals always find a way to make secret moves on player you thought were old or just “Good” and turn them into solid contributors. The Cardinals signed Andrew Miller last offseason and he performed as expected. Young star Jack Flaherty made a name for himself, as he was the ace of the Cardinals’ staff and had an amazing Game 3 and Game 5 NLDS performance against the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals, however, lost their slugger OF Marcell Ozuna to the Braves this offseason. The Cardinals still have reliable bats in Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, and Paul DeJong. They also have a decent staff led by ace Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright, and a bullpen with Andrew Miller, Giovani Gallegos, and a healthy flame-thrower : Jordan Hicks. This team will have its obstacles to overcome, but they can certainly find themselves right back at 91-71, but maybe not win the division.
3. Cincinnati Reds 92-70, NLDS
The Cincinnati Reds made huge splashes this offseason, signing OF Nicholas Castellanos and IF Mike Moustakas to add offensive firepower to a hitter friendly ballpark. The Reds already have slugging Third-Baseman Eugenio Súarez and veteran First-Baseman Joey Votto. Cincinnati also displays one of the better rotations in baseball, with Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo, amd Sonny Gray. This team has all the right tools in all the right places. This is just what they needed. Now it’s just a matter of if they can produce. I believe they can produce and keep opposing run totals low, and win tons of ballgames. I’m fully expecting a breakout season from the Reds, and I have them winning the NL Central.
2. Atlanta Braves 101-61, NLDS
The Atlanta Braves had an early breakout in 2918, winning 90 games but falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS in 4 games. In 2019 they kept the role going, but not without a rocky start. They finished the season 97-65, winning the NL East, but dropping the NLDS in 5 games to the St. Louis Cardinals, where the notorious 10-Run first inning occurred. The Braves said they would be aggressive in Free Agency, and they made sure they were heard, within the first week of Free Agency they signed RP Will Smith to a 3yr/$39 mil deal. After a little bit of waiting they also signed OF Marcell Ozuna and SP Felix Hernández. They also signed SP Cole Hamels and C Travis d’Arnaud. The Braves are set. The lineup featuring possibly the scariest 1, 2, 3 in baseball (Ronald Acuña Jr, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman) and a solid rotation, led by Cy Young vote getter and Rookie Of the Year Runner Up Mike Sorok, followed by breakout pitcher Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, and a debate between Sean Newcomb and Felix Hernández. The bullpen features Will Smith, Mark Melancon, Shane Greene, Luke Jackson, Chris Martin and Darren O’Day, along with solid journeyman Josh Tomlin. This team is ready to make noise in 2020, and they are looking for nothing less than to hold the World Series Trophy above their heads in October.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 106-56, NLDS
Just going to lay out some quick facts here. The LA Dodgers have the best lineup in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers have arguably the best rotation in baseball. The bullpen got even better with the addition of Blake Treinen. This team has Wirld Series Champions written all over them. Of course, fortune hasn’t smiled upon the Dodgers in recent years, after losing back to back World Series against alleged cheaters, and losing in the first round to a team that has never won a playoff series after being up 2-0. The Dodgers always have an amazing regular season. October is where it becomes tricky, but with the addition of Mookie Betts, David Price and having MVP Cody Bellinger, slugger Max Muncy, reliable hitter Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Will Smith, Kiké Hernández and Gavin Lux, there is no way that a team this stacked, this hungry, and this dominant, should win no less than 100 games, and they should be able to win a World Series.