All the monks are hard at work on a post for sometime in the middle of this week when we unveil our first (but not last) predictions for the 2011 season. My initial thought as I pondered my some early picks: OMG the National League is wicked loaded!
Not too long ago I posted about the centrality of pitching to post-season success and how the Champions of the last decade (almost to a team) made significant additions to their staffs that led to glory.
Yesterday, ROTO Authority offered a list of some of the key pitchers who have gone from the AL to the NL this offseason. There are a few good ones on there, adding to a league that already has a full slate of dominant arms.
In light of those moves and others that have taken place there are 8 teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs (listed with their top two pitchers just for comparison’s sake):
- East: Phillies (Halladay and Lee) and Braves (Lowe and Hudson)
- Central: Reds (Volquez and Cueto), Cardinals (Carpenter and Wainwright), Brewers (Grienke and Gallardo)
- West: Giants (Lincecum and Cain), Rockies (Jimenez and De la Rosa), Dodgers (Kershaw and Billingsley)
note how many good pitchers from these teams are still not mentioned (i.e. hamels, oswalt, hudson, jurjiens, arroyo, wood, bailey, garcia, westbrook, marcum, bumgarner, sanchez, hammel, lilly, kuroda, garland)
There are, in my estimation, five more teams that could at least make a run if the stars, sun, and moon line up right (i.e. perfect health and some career years). Here they are with their top two starters:
- East: Marlins (Johnson and Nolasco), Nationals (Hernandez and Marquis), and Mets (Santana and Niese)
- Central: Cubs (Dempster and Garza)
- West: Padres (Latos and Richard)
that doesn’t include: vazquez, sanchez, volstad, strasburg, zimmerman, pelfrey, zambrano, wells, stauffer, leblanc, and harrang.
That leaves only three teams (the D-backs, Pirates, and Astros) who have NO chance (note: I really feel like I could put the D-Backs in the stars/moon/sun category but will not at this point).
look at some of the pitchers on those teams: saunders, hudson, kennedy, maholm, ohlendorf, rodriguez and myers.
That’s crazy! 13 of 16 teams have a chance and half the teams in the league have a legitimate chance. Bottom line: I am struggling with my national league picks right now. I would hate to be a hitter in the NL…
Stay tuned for our january prognostications coming soon!