MLB Predictions for National League in 2015: Offensive Powerhouses

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:09 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 2:09 PM GMT

We’ll be discussing our MLB preseason predictions in regards to the top five offensive clubs in the National League for the 2015 season.

Top 5 Offensive Powerhouses in the NL
In this article I’m going to embark on a preseason rating of my top five National League offensive teams heading into the 2015 MLB season. This will also aid you when looking at AL futures on the MLB betting odds page.

 

Colorado Rockies Projected 2015 Lineup
1. Charlie Blackmon OF

2. Carlos Gonzalez OF

3. Troy Tulowitzki SS

4. Justin Morneau 1B

5. Nolan Arenado 3B

6. Corey Dickerson OF

7. Willin Rosario C

8. D.J. LeMathieu 2B

The Rockies full offensive capability was never fully on display for any significant stretch of time in 2014, due to injuries sustained by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Tulowitzki appeared in just 91-games last season but still managed to bang 21 home runs, knock in 52-runs, and hit an outstanding .340. The Rockies shortstop has hit .302 or better in four of the previous five seasons. Gonzalez was limited to just 38-games, and still managed to hit 11 home runs and account for 38 RBI’s. Gonzalez had hit a combined 100 home runs, knocked in 364-runs, and had 87 stolen bases in the previous four years prior to last season’s injury riddled campaign. If both of these players stay healthy, it would make a world of difference for an already potent lineup. Justin Morneau enjoyed a fine first season with Colorado in 2014, hitting .319 with 17 home runs and 82 RBI’s.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers Projected 2015 Lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins

2. Carl Crawford

3. Yasiel Puig

4. Adrain Gonzalez

5. Yasmani Grandal C

6. Howie Kendrick

7. Juan Uribe 3B

8. Joc Pederson OF

The Dodgers had to replace their leadoff hitter from a season ago after Dee Gordon opted for free agency. They did so by signing 36-year old veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Despite getting up there in years, Rollins has still managed to swipe 110-bases during the past four seasons, and that includes 28 in 2014. Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, and Adrian Gonzalez will follow Rollins in the lineup, and collectively they can be a headache for opposing pitching staffs. Howie Kendrick moves over from nearby Anaheim, in order to play for the Dodgers, after spending the first nine years of his major league career with the Los Angeles Angels. Kendrick has a career batting average of .292.

 

Washington Nationals Projected 2015 Lineup
1. Denard Span OF

2. Anthony Rendon 3B

3. Jayson Werth OF

4. Bryce Harper OF

5. Ryan Zimmerman 1B

6. Ian Desmond SS

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Yunel Escobar 2B

It would be nice to see what kind of numbers Bryce Harper can actually put up if he was able to stay healthy for a full season. That’s certainly not been the case in the first three years of his MLB career. Last season Harper appeared in just 92-games for the NL East champions.

The Nationals unquestioned leader is Ryan Zimmerman, and he’s also had a difficult time staying healthy in recent seasons. Zimmerman appeared in only 61-games in 2014. He’s hit .286 in his MLB career, and based on 162-games per year, he’s averaging 25 home runs, and 96 RBI’s per season since 2005. There’s no telling how good the Nationals can be offensively if both Harper and Zimmerman can stay healthy for the upcoming 2015 MLB campaign.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Projected 2015 Lineup
1. Josh Harrison 3B

2. Gregory Polanco OF

3. Andrew McCutcheon OF

4. Neil Walker 2B

5. Starling Marte OF

6. Pedro Alvarez 1B

7. Jordy Mercer SS

8. Francisco Cervelli C

I think it’s clear by now that the Pirates Andrew McCutcheon is a bona fide star--especially if you added Pirates to your MLB picks last season. He’s hit a stellar .299 in his first six MLB seasons, and that includes .314 or better in each of the past three years. McCutcheon has also hit 21 home runs or more, and knocked in 83 runs or more, in each of the previous four seasons. The five tool star also has averaged 23.8 stolen bases per season since coming up to the majors.

The Pirates have more weapons than just McCutcheon. Gregory Polanco looks like he has a great future if his 89-game 2014 rookie cameo is any indication of what lies ahead. Josh Harrison had a breakout year in 2014 by hitting .315, belting 13 home runs, and knocking in 52-runs out of the leadoff spot. Second basemen Neil Walker has been rock solid and consistent for the last five years. The Pirates are hoping that Pedro Alvarez returns to the form in which he displayed in 2013 when he smashed 36 home runs and had 100 RBI’s.

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Miami Marlins Projected 2015 Lineup
1. Dee Gordon 2B

2. Christian Yelich OF

3. Giancarlo Stanton OF

4. Michael Morse 1B

5. Marcell Ozuna OF

6. Martin Prado 3B

7. Jarrod Saltalamcchia C

8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS

Similar to the Houston Astros being one of my choices in the American League, I’m sure there will be some questions in regards to the Miami Marlins being a choice in the National League.

It all starts with 25-year old outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He’s coming off a career year in 2014 that saw him hit 37 home runs and amass105 RBI’s, and all of this despite missing the last three weeks of the season after being hit in the face by a pitch. The Marlins have acquired power hitter Michael Morse to follow Stanton in the lineup. The Marlins are hoping that Morse can return to the form he displayed during the 2011 campaign as a member of the Washington Nationals. During that season he belted 31 home runs, had 95 RBI’s, and hit a stellar .303. Morse hit .279 a season ago in 131-games with the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Miami will also be looking for promising young hitters like 24-year old Marcell Ozuna (23 HRS, 85 RBI’s in 2014) and 23-year old Christian Yelich (.280/660 AB) to take the next steps in their maturation process. Martin Prado and Jarrod Saltalamcchia provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse, and both are still offensively productive assets. The offseason acquisition of Dee Gordon may get overlooked by many, but he will be a key cog for the Marlins in the leadoff spot. Gordon is coming off a career year with the Dodgers which saw him hit .289 and accumulate 64 stolen bases.

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