A break down of all five teams in the National League Central, pertaining to each club’s MLB futures odds of winning the division.
We’re breaking down all five teams in the National League Central, pertaining to each club’s futures odds of winning the division. Here is breakdown of the NL Central and the up to the minute MLB Odds on how it is supposed to shakedown for this upcoming season. If you like wagering on Major League Baseball then this is a must read betting preview article.
St. Louis Cardinals (+125): The Cardinals' lineup stays virtually intact to the one that finished the 2014 season. They did add a dangerous left-handed bat to the middle of the lineup, acquiring former Atlanta Brave Jason Heyward (OF) in free agency. They also were able to grab free agent Mark Reynolds (1B/3B), who has hit 224 career home runs in his eight-year MLB career. The starting pitching rotation of Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez is rock solid. Trevor Rosenthal is very capable of being a dominant closer if his 45 saves last season are any indication. The Cardinals will once again be a major player in the National League Central race.
Chicago Cubs (+250): I’m not getting all the hype that’s going the way of the Chicago Cubs regarding their chances of being a contender in 2015. There are too many holes in their projected batting order, they lack quality depth, and their bullpen leaves a lot to be desired. I do like the hire of new manager Joe Maddon, who worked nothing short of miracles in his time as the skipper of the Tampa Bay Rays. Maddon will have a very formidable starting rotation led by newly-signed free agent Jon Lester. I do think the Cubs will be an improved product in comparison to what we’ve witnessed in recent years. However, at these current odds to win the NL Central, they’re way overvalued in my personal opinion.
Pittsburgh Pirates (+275): The Pirates have been right on the brink of winning the NL Central the last two seasons. Last year they finished 2.0 games behind the Cardinals, and in 2013 they fell 3.0 games short of first place St. Louis. On each occasion they made the playoffs as a wild card, and had a stellar cumulative record of 182-142 (.562). The main concern I have with the Pirates entering the 2015 MLB campaign is their starting rotation. I do like the potential of 24-year old Gerrit Cole. However, Francisco Liriano, 38-year old A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton, and Vance Worley collectively don’t stack up against the Cardinals rotation, or the Cubs for that matter. The projected bullpen also leaves much to be desired for a team considered as a top contender for the division crown.
Milwaukee Brewers (+1200): The Brewers' projected batting order is the second best in the division only to St. Louis. The dilemma of keeping key players healthy such as Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, and 36-year old Aramis Ramirez has been an issue in recent seasons. I like the addition of left-handed hitting Adam Lind, who came over in a trade from Toronto last October. The Brewers' starting rotation has the potential to be solid at best. The back end of the bullpen is in good hands with closer Francisco Rodriguez and setup man Jonathan Broxton. A lot has to go right for the Brewers this season in order for them to have a chance in September. That’s realistically possible, but at the end of the day, it’s highly improbable.
Cincinnati Reds (+1200): The Reds possess a top notch pitching ace in Johnny Cueto, a dominant closer in Aroldis Chapman, in addition to premier sluggers Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce. However, they lack the quality depth in all three of those areas in order for them to be considered as a serious contender in the NL Central. I would look to invest elsewhere when making my MLB Picks on National League futures.