By: Chandler Ragsdale
So far in 2018 I’m batting .250 with my predictions, being that I got 1 out of 4 free agent predictions correct (see: http://nutsandboltssports.com/4-impact-free-agents/). However, I hope to be batting well above .500 by the 2018 postseason by predicting the AL and NL division champs for this season. After doing the AL last week, here are my NL Division champion predictions…
NL EAST- WASHINGTON NATIONALS
The Nationals have the best team in the NL East. They’ve proved this the last two seasons, and completely dominated the division a year ago. No other team in the NL East had a winning record in 2017. The Phillies have made some interesting moves by signing Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta, but I don’t see this being enough to put them in contention to win the division. Unless the Mets get their caps on straight and play more like the postseason team that they were in 2016, this division will be a runaway again in 2018.
NL CENTRAL- MILWAUKEE BREWERS
This may come as a surprise to some, but I see the Brewers being able to win the NL Central in 2018. The Cubs proved last season that they don’t have the pitching that they used to, and that is even more apparent now that Jake Arrieta is gone. The Cardinals have a good club, but they are now without Lance Lynn, who I think has been their X-Factor recently. The Brewers are the only team in this division that has made any significant additions this past offseason with getting some key players such as Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. With the talent and experience that they had already in place, I see their additions from the offseason paying off and giving them the NL Central crown in 2018.
NL WEST- LOS ÁNGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers had a great run last season and came within one game of winning the World Series. They still have a great team, and I don’t see any reason why they’d be slowing down this season. The Diamondbacks were very competitive in 2017, but with J.D. Martinez now in Boston, they will have a big offensive hole to fill. The Rockies can swing the bat just as well as any team, but their pitching isn’t usually the best being that they play half of their games in the thin air of Colorado. Overall, I believe that the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies can all make the postseason in 2018, but the NL West title will still belong to the Dodgers when it’s all said and done.