NL Central 2022 Division Preview
We are officially halfway through the MLB Division Previews and we are moving to the NL Central. This division has three teams that are not competing and two teams that can battle it out for the division. I’d expect the other to make the playoffs though. Let’s examine the NL Central, and, as always, if you want the full futures plays from BTB, Jesse, and myself, buy the package.
Milwaukee Brewers, 1st Place, 95-67
The Brewers were carried by unsustainable pitching from a bunch of journeymen. Corbin Burnes was excellent, Brandon Woodruff was awesome, and even Freddy Peralta had a strong campaign, Then when they got to the fifth inning, the Brewers turned it to be carried by the bullpen led by Josh Hader. The formula works for them. They didn’t make any big splash this offseason, but Andrew McCutchen is now on the team. He had a really nice season from a power standpoint last year, but he won’t be much offensively if he doesn’t hit the ball over the fence. The biggest question is Christian Yelich. He went from being an absolute monster his first two years in Milwaukee to being awful in the COVID season and following that up with just 9 home runs in 117 games. He hit 12 in 58 games during the 2020 season. Somehow the Brewers keep winning, hard to count them out.
St. Louis Cardinals, 2nd Place, 90-72
The Cardinals are always in it. At least, that’s the way it seems. They tinkered with their team at the deadline and made it to the Wild Card after some very unlikely events. At the corners, they have two of the game's best in Goldschmidt and Arenado. If their pitching staff holds up, I think the Cardinals have a real shot to get the division. At +210 I wouldn’t say there is a ton of value, but the Cardinals are one of the better teams in baseball. They also have a franchise that supports players and is willing to make a push to give them a chance. Don’t ever count them out.
Cincinnati Reds, 3rd Place, 83-79
The Reds had a nice stretch of two years of relevance before ownership has decided to get rid of their players. Joey Votto is aging, but still a force. The rest of the team doesn’t have anyone that really stands out to me. That is not to say they are going to be awful, but I think it is clear from their lack of any effort into signing players this offseason that they don’t care about fielding a winning team.
Chicago Cubs, 4th Place, 71-91
After the fire sale last season, the Cubs have slightly retooled. Marcus Stroman was the big name they’ve added, and I do like him a lot. Though, most free agent signings in Chicago take a month or two before they make any impact. How can they grab a Wild Card spot? Contreras stays with the team, Madrigal and Simmons play excellent, Ian Happ finally hits consistently, and Seiya Suzuki makes a difference. So… basically, it probably isn’t happening. I’d love to play their over (which has already been bet up) but I do have concerns that they trade away Contreras, Happ, Miley, and even Stroman. I’m looking to bet them in the middle of the season after we see just how good, or bad, they really are.
Pittsburgh Pirates, 5th Place, 61-101
Yes, there is still a franchise here. Most of the talent is in the minor leagues though. If you want to do anything with this team, just bet on Ke’Bryan Hayes or Daniel Vogelbach. Aside from that, there is not much hope. They will be in 5th place again this year.
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