Fresh Outlooks: NL Central

What up, Ball Boys and Girls? The CBA talks ended, free agency has happened, fantasy baseball drafts are going, springtime, and baseball. It's all so fresh.

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Standings:

  1. Milwaukee Brewers 95-67, last season 95-67 and 1st

  2. St. Louis Cardinals 92-70, last season 90-72 and 2nd

  3. Chicago Cubs 80-82, last season 71-91 and 4th

  4. Cincinnati Reds 70-92, last season 83-79 and 3rd

  5. Pittsburg Pirates 60-102, last season 61-101 and 5th

Let's give a warm welcome out west to the following players who will take the Diamond for their new teams. (Note these are players who will have an impact on their squad going into the new season)

Welcome to the NL Central:

  1. Brewers: RHRP Brad Boxberger, OF/DH Andrew McCutchen,

  2. Cardinals: RHP Steve Matz, RHP Drew VerHagen, RHP Nick Wittgren, OF Corey Dickerson, 1B/DH Albert Pujols,

  3. Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman, C Yan Gomes, OF Clint Frazier, SS Andrelton Simmons, RHRP Jesse Chavez, RHP Chris Martin, LHP Steven Brault, RHRP David Robertson, LHP Daniel Norris, INF Jonathan Villar, RHRP Mychal Givens, RHP Drew Smyly,

  4. Reds: RHP Justin Dunn, OF Jake Fraley, LHP Mike Minor, INF Donovan Solano, 1B/OF Colin Moran, RHRP Hunter Strickland, OF Tommy Pham,

  5. Pirates: RHP Jose Quintana, C Robert Perez, INF Yoshi Tsutsugo, OF Ben Gamel, 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach, RHRP Heath Hembree,


It's time to say goodbye to some players whose impact will be missed by their previous teams.

Goodbye:

  1. Brewers: INF Eduardo Escobar, OF Avasil Garcia,

  2. Cardinals: RHRP Carlos Martinez,

  3. Cubs: OF Harlod Ramirez,

  4. Reds: OF Jesse Winker, INF Eugenio Suarez, RHP Sonny Gray, LHRP Amir Garret, OF Nick Castellanos,

  5. Pirates: None of note.


Each team in this Division has stars, and let's figure out who the most likely MVP candidates are from each team going into the season. These are the guys who will create the most fireworks for their teams.

MVP Award Candidates:

  1. Brewers: 94-68, last season 95-67 and 1st,

  2. Cardinals: 92-70, last season 90-72 and 2nd

  3. Cubs: 82-80, last season 71-91 and 4th

  4. Reds: 79-83, last season 83-79 and 3rd

  5. Pirates: 55-207, last season 61-101 and 5th


Each team in this Division has stars, and let's figure out who the most likely MVP candidates are from each team going into the season. These are the guys who will create the most fireworks for their teams.

MVP Award Candidates:

  1. Brewers: OF Christian Yelich

  2. Cardinals 3B Nolan Arenado

  3. Cubs: C Willson Contreras

  4. Reds: INF Jonathan India

  5. Pirates: OF Bryan Reynolds


Now that we looked at the most prestigious batter's award let's look at the most prestigious pitching Award and candidates from each team in the NLW.

Cy Young Candidates:

  1. Brewers: Corbin Burnes

  2. Cardinals: Miles Mikolas

  3. Cubs: Marcos Stroman

  4. Reds: Tyler Mahle

  5. Pirates: Mitch Keller


Please keep your eyes glued on the below players because they are ready to show out during the 2022 season. Just trust me.

Break Out Player:

  1. Brewers: OF Tyrone Taylor

  2. Cardinals: OF Harison Bader

  3. Cubs: OF Clint Frazier

  4. Reds: OF Jake Fraley

  5. Pirates: INF Cole Tucker


Everyone in the MLB has to overcome adversity at some point and time in their career. For these guys, that point in their careers is 2022

Comeback Player Candidates:

  1. Brewers: OF Andrew McCutchen

  2. Cardinals: INF Paul DeJong

  3. Cubs: OF Jason Heyward

  4. Reds: INF Mike Moustakas

  5. Pirates: INF Ke'Bryan Hayes


You might have heard of these guys; you might not have. After impressive 2021 from these young guns, we got a sample of what is to come. Keep them on your radars going into 2022

Rookie of the Year Candidates:

  1. Brewers: INF Brice Turang

  2. Cardinals: INF Brendan Donovan

  3. Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki

  4. Reds: RHP Hunter Greene

  5. Pirates: INF Oneil Cruz


Manager of the Year:

Brewers: Craig Counsell


2022 Prediction:

The NL Central isn't extra super competitive. The Brewers have the top-notch pitching in the NL when it comes to the rotation. The Brewers also are great at making a creative offensive plan. The new additions will likely pan out great around Yelich. A mix of Cutch, Adams, Renfroe, and Wong should help Yeli get back into MVP format to the top of the Division.

Next, we have the last shot of the Cardinals with Yadi, Waino, and Pujols in the house surrounded by Gold Glove talent in the OF, on the Corners, and around the Diamond. I don't love the rotation at ALL! I think it's horrendous, and I think the pen will have to pick up a lot of slack, and the offense will have to pace this team to win. It will be exciting, but with the following three teams in the Division beatable, the win total should be attainable and a playoff spot.

Next, we got the Cubs, who added the best NPB product since Shohei. I love the fit with the Cubs and the culture they are resetting the Chicago. I think a third-place finish is a lock with the current roster.

Then we have the dumpster fire of the Reds, who sold every one they could do very little; as a Mariners fan, thank you to the Reds for the top-rated LF in baseball in Winker. THEN we have the Pirates, who have rookies, young talent, and veterans on minimums and guys needing a place to play to reestablish value. Honestly, it's a battle for 4th in the Division.

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