NL Central Final Standings
1) Chicago Cubs (96 – 66)
Key Pitcher – Jon Lester
Key Batter – Kris Bryant
Reason Why They Will Succeed – The Cubs finally got over the hump and won the World Series last year. To repeat, Chicago must continue to get great production from their pitchers and be able to put together some nice rallies.
Reason Why They Will Fail – The Cubs bullpen took a big loss when they let Aroldis Chapman walk. Their ability to maintain and keep leads will be the biggest question looming around the Cubs’ 2017 success.
2) St. Louis Cardinals (87 – 75)
Key Pitcher – Adam Wainwright
Key Batter – Aledmys Diaz
Reason Why They Will Succeed – The Cardinals have a great pitching rotation once again. They may not always be able to put huge numbers on the board, but their pitchers have the ability to lead them to a great year.
Reason Why They Will Fail – The Cardinals are going up against father time. A lot of their players have seen their prime come and go, including Yadier Molina. The inability to succeed with older players may really hurt the Cardinals in 2017.
3) Cincinnati Reds (79 – 83)
Key Pitcher – Scott Feldman
Key Batter – Joey Votto
Reason Why They Will Succeed – The Reds have a lot of power behind their bats. They can win games their not supposed to with a couple swings of a strong bat.
Reason Why They Will Fail – Their pitching staff has some major questions going forward. Despite the success they’ve found early in the season, the Reds starting pitchers and bullpen could be the demise of them.
4) Milwaukee Brewers (74 – 88)
Key Pitcher – Wily Peralta
Key Batter – Eric Thames
Reason Why They Will Succeed – Eric Thames may be the next big thing in the MLB. His ability to turn on inside pitches and still have opposite field strength is a rarity. He could lead this team to some success in 2017.
Reason Why They Will Fail – They don’t really have the depth to hang around with the better MLB teams. While the Brewers can have a decent year this year, they need more pieces to be a top team.
5) Pittsburgh Pirates (69 – 93)
Key Pitcher – Gerrit Cole
Key Batter – Andrew McCutchen
Reason Why They Will Succeed – The Pirates have experience on their side. Their pitching rotation has shown they can be solid and they can definitely put runs on the board.
Reason Why They Will Fail – Losing Starling Marte for a huge chunk of the season will really hurt the Pirates since they are a team with little depth. By the time they get him back, they’ll be out of the race.