National League Predicted Winners

Sam Wilson, Staff Writer

  • National League East Predicted Winner: Atlanta Braves
    • Atlanta has a case to be the most balanced team in baseball. The Braves rotation might not be Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine, but Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Kyle Wright are an enviable top four. And that’s before the Braves turn to a bullpen that features the standout arms of A.J. Minter, Joe Jimenez, Raisel Iglesias, and Collin McHugh. The lineup features stars like Ronald Acuna Jr, Austin Riley, and Matt Olson on top of NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II and offseason trade acquisition Sean Murphy. 

  • National League Central Predicted Winner: St. Louis Cardinals
    • Reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt and perennial All-Star Nolan Arenado lead a fierce lineup that got even more dangerous when it signed Willson Contreras to catch. Add in expected big seasons from Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill, and Team Japan standout Lars Nootbaar, and this St. Louis offense might be as dynamic as any in baseball. Not to mention the defense should remain elite. But there is no true ace in St. Louis that can match up with other divisions’ top contenders, and there are rotation depth concerns with the team relying heavily on 41-year-old Adam Wainwright and the injury-plagued Jack Flaherty.

  • National League West Predicted Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
    • The biggest reason for optimism is depth. Los Angeles has a rotation (when healthy) of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard, and Tony Gonsolin. Top prospects like Ryan Pepiot, who will start the season in place of the injured Gonsolin, and Gavin Stone are waiting in the wings and are projected to pitch well when they get their chances. The bullpen is also remarkably deep behind Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol. Losing both the Turners — Trea and Justin — to free agency is a blow, but is a lineup with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Max Muncy really expected to be bad? Rookies like Miguel Vargas and James Outman are also projected for breakout seasons.