Again, everyone in the Windy City believe the 100 year anniversary will break the Curse of the Goat. Good thing for the Cubs they play in maybe the worst division in baseball. After Chicago, it’s a toss up.
1. Chicago Cubs
Derek Lee is healthy again and looks to put up MVP numbers. Alfonso Soriano is a stud and Kosuke Fukudome might be the best newcomer of the year. Their pitching isn’t outstanding, but should be good enough to win the Central.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers will go as far as their pitching can carry them. Not far. They were the best team in the division last year until September when they ran out of gas. Ben Sheets is only one man and Eric Gagne could be trouble in the bullpen, at least he’s back in the NL. The Brewers’ lineup has 5 games with more than 20 homeruns last year. Should challenge the Cubs in this division.
3. Houston Astros
For how bad the Astros were last year, they were within 5 games of 1st in August. Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee provide stability and pop in the middle of lineup. Miguel Tejada probably has too many distractions that will hurt the team. Speedy CF Michael Bourn will turn out to be a great off season pickup. Besides Roy Oswalt, the pitching is questionable and they don’t have a closer.
Did you know rookie Catcher J.R. Towles had 8 RBI’s in one game last September?
4. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are another team that will score some runs but will Aaron Harang repeat another solid season (16-6, 3.73 ERA), can Bronson Arroyo show the Red Sox they made a mistake, and will newly acquired Joss Fogg have a breakout season? And can Ken Griffey Jr. stay healthy for the entire season?
5. St. Louis Cardinals
Wow! What has happened here? Not long ago, the Cardinals were a for sure thing to win the National League. Hell, they won the World Series two years ago! Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen are gone. Albert Pujols has all kinds of injuries and Chris Carpenter starts the year on the DL. Not good Cardinals Fan.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates last again? No pitching. Zach Duke exploded into the majors two years ago, but was a no show last year. Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay are solid ball players wasting away.