Everyone knew the star-studded NL Central would be a formidable force in 2019, but are they the best division in baseball?
After the first place finish in 2018, the Brew Crew is just getting better. The devastating loss in the NL conference championship seemed to be no setback. They will definitely miss 1B Eric Thames to free agency, yet if they can pick up somebody like starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, they will surely be a World Series contender and possible 100 game winner.
The 2016 World Series Champs have been, against what we thought, quiet in the trade/ free agent market. With Harper most likely out the window, the Daniel Descalso signing has been the only signing with significance. If the Cubs plan to be a contender again, they need to find a way to improve the clutch hitting and starting pitching rotation.
St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter rounded out the 3 MVP candidates from the NL Central (Yelich, the eventual MVP, Javy Baez, and Matt Carpenter). Contact hitting was surely not a problem for the Cards last year, and with Goldschmidt, neither will power hitting. Other signings include Andrew Miller and Tommy Layne. Yet another contending year here in St. Louis, and if they find a way to beat the Cubs and Brewers, possibly a division winner.
The Reds have been absolute garbage over the past 10 years, let’s get it straight. Yet there is a glimmer of hope this year. They might be shedding out of their 10 year slump in 2019. They just signed Puig and Gray to big contracts. Not to mention one of the best farm systems in the MLB.
Ah, poor Pirates fans. I’m afraid they are going to battle with the Reds for the bottom of the division once again. Despite going about .500 last year, there is little hope in Pitt. The team is currently too young and I don’t believe Coach Clint Hurdle is the right choice. All in all, the Pirates may be decent, but not near contending, even for the playoffs.
In the end, I believe that the NL Central will have multiple contenders, and young stars. The NL better watch out for what this division has to offer.
Written by @tailgate.stanford on Instagram, part of Tailgate Staff.