Sunday, March 18, 2012

Return of Adam Wainwright Will Help Cards Win NL Central

As opening day approaches, I'm making predictions for each of the six divisions in MLB.   I have projected won/loss records, runs scored (RS), runs allowed (RA) and run differential (RS-RA) for each team.  I don't have a complex formula to determine the results.  I just looked at last year's final numbers and moved teams up and down according to how much I thought they would regress or improve from last year to this year.

The NL Central looks like it will be a three-way race between the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers.  The loss of Albert Pujols will present a major challenge in the Cardinals' defense of the MLB championship.  However, the return of a healthy Adam Wainwright and the the signing of free agent Carlos Beltran should get them back to 90 wins again which should be enough to win the division.

The Brewers should drop back with the loss of Prince Fielder and a bit of Pythagorean regression.  They still have a strong team and could very well finish second and secure one of the two wild card spots, but I'm going to go with the Reds instead.  The addition of right-handed starter Mat Latos and the further development of a young offense should be enough to get them into second place and earn a wild card.   

Projected NL Central Standings

Team
W
L
RS
RA
RS-RA
St. Louis Cardinals
90
72
742
659
83
Cincinnati Reds
88
74
763
692
71
Milwaukee Brewers
84
78
716
677
39
Pittsburgh Pirates
74
88
652
727
-75
Chicago Cubs
73
89
662
742
-80
Houston Astros
57
105
579
821
-242

Divisional Awards

MVP
Joey Votto, CIN
Andrew McCutchen, PIT
Jay Bruce, CIN

Cy Young
Adam Wainwright, STL
Mat Latos, CIN
Zach Greinke, MIL

Breakout Players
J.D. Martinez, HOU
Aroldis Chapman, CIN
Pedro Alvarez, PIT

Blogs

I won't waste time trying to give detailed analyses of teams I don't follow on a daily basis.  These blogs can tell you more about the teams than I can:

Cardinals
Viva El Birdos
Pitchers Hit Eighth 

Reds
Red Reporter
Redleg Nation

Brewers
Brew Crew Ball
The Brewers Bar

Pirates
Bucs Dugout
Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke 

Cubs
Bleed Cubbie Blue
View from the Bleachers

Houston Astros
Crawfish Boxes

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