2019 MLB Preview

Part 1: National League Preview

AJ Shaw, Staff Writer

As the weather gets warmer and the snow starts to melt, there is one thing that is drawing attention of Americans, the start of a new MLB season. Let’s see how your team is going to do this season! Just a quick note, I am going to cut this into three parts: the National League will go first, the American League will go second, and then the third part will be the playoff predictions and award predictions.

National League East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies

Last Season’s Record: 80-82, 3rd in NL East

2019 Projection: 91-71 (+11)

When it comes to needing to win now, the Phillies need to win this season. They have already improved their offense with the acquisitions of Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners and J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins. Their starting pitching looks solid too with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta leading the top of the rotation. The biggest concern for Philly is their bullpen, which was a major concern for them in their second half “collapse” last season.

  1. Atlanta Braves

Last Season’s Record: 90-72, 1st in NL East

2019 Projection: 88-74 (-2)

After years of painful losing and rebuilding, the Braves asserted themselves as contenders last season with 90 victories and their first division title since 2013. The offense is headed by Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Nick Markakis, who make the top of the Braves lineup scarier than any lineup in the NL East, and the additions of veterans Brian McCann and Josh Donaldson should bring veteran leadership and postseason experience to the ballclub.

  1. Washington Nationals

Last Season’s Record: 82-80, 2nd in NL East

2019 Projection: 85-77 (+3)

Even with Bryce Harper most likely gone from the team, the Nationals are not going to be basement dwellers for the future. Juan Soto looks like the perfect replacement for Harper as a franchise player, and their pitching rotation looks stronger this season with a three-headed monster of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. Do not count Washington out this season.

  1. New York Mets

Last Season’s Record: 77-85, 4th in NL East

2019 Projection: 77-85 (–)

The additions of Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano are nice, but this is the Mets, who have battled major injuries and poor play for three consecutive seasons. If the Mets want to return to the top of the NL East, they need their starting rotation to remain healthy and their offense to somewhat be able to hit at a consistently good rate.

  1. Miami Marlins

Last Season’s Record: 63-98, 5th in NL East

2019 Projection: 61-101 (-2)

This is another rebuilding year for Derek Jeter and the Fish. They dealt their last big piece in Realmuto for a bevy of prospects. This season will ride on if young players like Lewis Brinson, Jorge Alfaro, and Sandy Alcantara (to name a few) need to show that they’re the right pieces for Miami’s future.


National League Central

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

Last Season’s Record: 88-74, 3rd in NL Central

2019 Projection: 95-67 (+7)

Boom, here is your first surprise. After three straight seasons of no playoffs, this is the year that the Cardinals will win the NL Central and here is why. The addition of Paul Goldschmidt to the already talented Cardinals lineup of Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna, and Jose Martinez to also go along with their talented starting rotation headed by Carlos Martinez and Miles Mikolas gives them the pieces that to you need not only to win the NL Central for the first time since 2015, but also make a deep postseason run.

  1. Milwaukee Brewers

Last Season’s Record: 96-67, 1st in NL Central

2019 Projection: 87-75 (-9)

For some reason, I see a major drop off from this team. Sure, they have an unbelievable offensive core with depth off the bench, but they have a major Achilles heel, pitching. That is what killed them in the NLCS against Los Angeles, as they lacked a top starter or starters to go deep into games like a Clayton Kershaw or a Max Scherzer. Wade Miley, who was nice for them, is gone, and the rest of the rotation is average compared to the other rotations in their division.

  1. Chicago Cubs

Last Season’s Record: 95-68, 2nd in NL Central

2019 Projection: 86-76 (-9)

The Cubs can either go two ways this season. Either, they overachieve like heck and win 100 games or they will disappoint and win 85-90 games (yes I know that seems odd to call that an underachievement). Pitching, for the second year in a row, is the biggest concern entering the season. The Cubs rotation on paper looks great, but when it comes to on the field production it is really a dog’s breakfast when it comes to injuries and poor production. The core is still good, but the only way the Cubs get back to 2016 form is by doing the one thing they did well that year, pitch, and pitch well.

  1. Cincinnati Reds

Last Season’s Record: 67-95, 5th in NL Central

2019 Projection: 81-81 (+14)

If the Reds want to do anything this season, they, like the Cubs and Brewers, need the starting pitching to work out for them. Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle are going to have pressure to perform well this season, and if that is the case, most specifically Gray turning back into 2015 form, the Reds should be a threat in the NL Central this year.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Last Season’s Record; 82-79, 4th in NL Central

2019 Projection: 79-83 (-3)

I don’t get this team, which is the epitemy of inconsistency, can rattle off four wins in a row, and then lose six straight. The other problem is that they lack a direction too. Are they rebuilding? Are they contending? What direction are they going in? While the Pirates aren’t awful like in past years, they really don’t have a team that I see as a playoff contender.


National League West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last Season’s Record: 92-71, 1st in NL West

2019 Projection: 97-65 (+5)

After back-to-back losses in the World Series, the Dodgers enter the 2019 season needing to do one thing: win the flipping World Series. Yes, Manny Machado is gone, but Corey Seager is back after Tommy John Surgery (yes, position players can have Tommy John too). The rest of the lineup is scary with guys like Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner who can make noise with the bat at any second.

  1. Colorado Rockies

Last Season’s Record: 91-72, 2nd in NL West

2019 Projection: 85-77 (-6)

Their pitching is solid, but because they play at Coors Field for half the season, the rotation’s statistics are horrible. The bullpen needs to bounce back this season if the Rockies want a deep playoff run, and they also need to find a way to get rid of Ian Desmond’s horrendous contract (3 years left at $38 million for a guy who has hit only .255 in his first two seasons with the team).

  1. San Diego Padres

Last Season’s Record: 66-96, 5th in NL West

2019 Projection: 80-82 (+14)

Yes, the addition of Machado is very, very exciting and makes the Padres a relevant franchise for the first time in a long time, but outside of him, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, and Christian Villanueva, the team simply isn’t that good. You could point at their very talented minor league system, but plugging in prospects and claiming the team to be champions right away is not how things work. San Diego is going to be good soon, no doubt, but they’re still a year away from contending.

  1. San Francisco Giants

Last Season’s Record: 73-89, 4th in NL West

2019 Projection: 75-87 (+2)

The Giants shouldn’t expect much this season, unless they can acquire the services of Bryce Harper in free agency. The roster is one of the oldest in the league, and the health has been a major concern for the past few seasons. Even if the club can obtain Harper, yes, it would improve their projected win total, but I don’t see them overthrowing the Dodgers for the division title.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks

Last Season’s Record: 82-80, 3rd in NL West

2019 Projection: 73-89 (-9)

The Diamondbacks fell apart in September last season and instead of making another run at the postseason, the decided to blow it up as they shipped away franchise player Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals for a bevy of prospects that was headlined by pitcher Luke Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly. While I do not expect Arizona to be horrendous, I do see a drop off without their best player and a whole lot of questions with the rest of the lineup and the bullpen.

That is the end of the National League preview. Come back tomorrow for the and then later on for the American League Preview, and then later on for the Postseason and Awards Predictions.