Considering the large holes and inexperience that the other teams in the division have, the Phillies are an easy pick to win the NL East. Yes, they have a great starting rotation, but their lineup is aging and creaky and the offense may not keep producing as the season progresses. Atlanta and the Marlins are ascending teams due to their young talent – Washington is still a few years (and starting pitchers) away from being a .500 club. As for the Mets, who are both physically and financially injured in 2011, they could actually do well if manager Terry Collins gets them to buy into the thought that “we play and win with what we have right now” as they start the season.
Milwaukee added pitching and has first baseman Cecil Fielder in a walk year before free agency – a good combination to win. St. Louis will hang in, but the frail starting pitching and lack of numerous offensive complements to Albert Pujols doom them to second place at best. Cincinnati will recede to the pack, and Houston and Pittsburgh will be out of the running for a playoff spot by mid-August.
The Rockies certainly threw around some serious money in locking in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and I believe that management will be rewarded by a good start to the season and a division championship. The Giants will survive on pitching which will burn out at the end of the season, but not before they lock up a wild card berth. San Diego will struggle even more than in 2010 to score runs due to the departure of Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers are a financial mess akin to the Mets and the Diamondbacks are a few years away from being relevant.
Wild card: San Francisco
NLDS: San Francisco over Philadelphia, Colorado over Milwaukee
NLCS: Colorado over San Francisco
World Series: Oakland over Colorado
Oakland defeats Colorado, gets permission to build a new stadium in Silicon Valley, general manager Billy Beane retires as a winner and two baseball teams flourish in the Bay Area.
hornface.com’s 2011 MLB Season Preview