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2017 MLB Preview : National League

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Arguably, the two best teams in all of baseball last season hailed from the National League. The Chicago Cubs finished with a league high 103 wins, destroying the NL Central division by clearing the second place St.Louis Cardinals by 17.5 games, while the Washington Nationals ended up with a 95-67 record and an easy division title, winning theirs by 8 games. The two teams collided in the NLCS for an historic series that will be talked about for years to come.

Only problem is, that last part never happened. You see, the Nationals started the 2016 season with one hell of a pitching rotation and a stacked lineup that many said could put the Nationals into the World Series. But even after quietly posting an amazing season, none of that matters if you cannot perform in the playoffs. Because of the Chicago Cubs dominance, no one noticed what the Nationals were doing, in second place, in the NL all season. They struggled in June and fell to third with a 43-32 record but even that was still two games better than the New York Mets. The Nationals were up 2-1 games in the NLDS and ripped Clayton Kershaw for 5 runs in Game 4 but still failed to close and ended up falling apart and watching their season take a turn for the worse.

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Besides the two Kings of the NL, there were some other amazing stories of players coming from virtually nowhere into the National spotlight. Trevor Story, in Colorado, exploded for 7 Home Runs in the Rockies first six games last year and has now become a household name and starting Shortstop. Another player no one knew about was Adam Duvall, who surprised many folks when he tore up the Reds lineup, blasting 33 Home Runs last season and making the All-Star team.

Even the younger, future stars of the NL started to emerge as great players. Corey Seager, Yasmany Tomas, Trea Turner, Alex Bregman, Cesar Hernandez, Kenta Maeda, and tons of other young and fresh faces proved their value much sooner than expected.

Overall, the NL had one of their better overall seasons last year, culminating in the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series and lifting the curse that has plagued them since 1908. What can they do for an encore? Let’s jump right into our predictions for the upcoming 2017 season.

NL East

1. Washington Nationals (94-68)

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Head Coach: Dusty Baker

2016 Record: 95-67

2017 Team MVP: Bryce Harper, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Max Scherzer

Projected Rotation:

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Stephen Strasburg
  3. Tanner Roark
  4. Gio Gonzalez
  5. Joe Ross

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Adam Eaton, OF
  2. Trea Turner, SS
  3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  4. Bryce Harper, OF
  5. Anthony Rendon, 3B
  6. Jayson Werth, OF
  7. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  8. Matt Wieters, C

2. New York Mets (89-73)

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Head Coach: Terry Collins

2016 Record: 87-75

2017 Team MVP: Yoenis Cespedes, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Noah Syndergaard

Projected Rotation:

  1. Noah Syndergaard
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Steven Matz
  4. Matt Harvey
  5. Robert Gsellman

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes, 3B
  2. Curtis Granderson, OF
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, OF
  4. Jay Bruce, OF
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  7. Lucas Duda, 1B
  8. Travis dArnaud, C

3. Miami Marlins (76-86)

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Head Coach: Don Mattingly

2016 Record: 79-82

2017 Team MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Edinson Volquez

Projected Rotation:

  1. Wei-Yin Chen
  2. Edinson Volquez
  3. Tom Koehler
  4. Dan Straily
  5. Adam Conley

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Dee Gordon, 2B
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Christian Yelich, OF
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, OF
  5. Marcell Ozuna, OF
  6. Justin Bour, 1B
  7. J.T. Realmuto, C
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

4. Atlanta Braves (75-87)

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Head Coach: Brian Snitker

2016 Record: 68-93

2017 Team MVP: Freddie Freeman, 1B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Julio Teheran

Projected Rotation:

  1. Julio Teheran
  2. Bartolo Colon
  3. Jaime Garcia
  4. Mike Foltynewicz
  5. R.A. Dickey

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Ender Inciarte, OF
  2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Matt Kemp, OF
  5. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  6. Nick Markakis, OF
  7. Dansby Swanson, SS
  8. Tyler Flowers, C

5. Philadelphia Phillies (71-91)

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Head Coach: Pete Mackanin

2016 Record: 71-91

2017 Team MVP: Odubel Herrera, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Aaron Nola

Projected Rotation:

  1. Aaron Nola
  2. Jerad Eickhoff
  3. Jeremy Hellickson
  4. Vincent Velasquez
  5. Clay Buchholz

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
  2. Howie Kendrick, OF
  3. Odubel, Herrera, OF
  4. Maikel Franco, 3B
  5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
  6. Michael Saunders, OF
  7. Freddy Galvis, SS
  8. Cameron Rupp, C

NL Central

1. Chicago Cubs (101-60)

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Head Coach: Joe Maddon

2016 Record: 103-58

2017 Team MVP: Kris Bryant, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Jake Arrieta

Projected Rotation:

  1. Jon Lester
  2. Jake Arrieta
  3. Kyle Hendricks
  4. John Lackey
  5. Mike Montgomery

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Kyle Schwarber, OF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Addison Russell, SS
  6. Willson Contreras, C
  7. Jason Heyward, OF
  8. Javier Baez, 2B

2. St.Louis Cardinals (85-77)

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Head Coach: Mike Matheny

2016 Record: 86-76

2017 Team MVP: Stephen Piscotty, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Carlos Martinez

Projected Rotation:

  1. Carlos Martinez
  2. Mike Leake
  3. Adam Wainwright
  4. Michael Wacha
  5. Lance Lynn

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, OF
  2. Aledmys Diaz, SS
  3. Matt Carpenter, 1B
  4. Stephen Piscotty, OF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
  7. Randal Grichuk, OF
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (81-81)

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Head Coach: Clint Hurdle

2016 Record: 78-83

2017 Team MVP: Andrew McCutchen, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Gerrit Cole

Projected Rotation:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Jameson Taillon
  3. Ivan Nova
  4. Juan Nicasio
  5. Drew Hutchison

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Josh Harrison, 2B
  2. Josh Bell, 1B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, OF
  4. Starling Marte, OF
  5. Gregory Polanco, OF
  6. Jung-ho Kang, 3B
  7. Francisco Cervelli, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS

4. Milwaukee Brewers (73-89)

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Head Coach: Craig Counsell

2016 Record: 73-89

2017 Team MVP: Ryan Braun, OF

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Junior Guerra

Projected Rotation:

  1. Matt Garza
  2. Junior Guerra
  3. Zach Davies
  4. Chase Anderson
  5. Wily Peralta

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Jonathan Villar, 2B
  2. Keon Broxton, OF
  3. Ryan Braun, OF
  4. Eric Thames, 1B
  5. Domingo Santana, OF
  6. Travis Shaw, 3B
  7. Orlando Arcia, SS
  8. Jett Bandy, C

5. Cincinnati Reds (65-97)

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Head Coach: Bryan Price

2016 Record: 68-94

2017 Team MVP: Joey Votto, 1B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Anthony DeSclafani

Projected Rotation:

  1. Anthony DeSclafani
  2. Brandon Finnegan
  3. Robert Stephenson
  4. Tim Adleman
  5. Scott Feldman

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton, OF
  2. Zack Cozart, SS
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Adam Duvall, OF
  5. Scott Schebler, OF
  6. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
  7. Devin Mesoraco, C
  8. Jose Peraza, 2B

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)

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Head Coach: Dave Roberts

2016 Record: 91-71

2017 Team MVP: Corey Seager, SS

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Clayton Kershaw

Projected Rotation:

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Kenta Maeda
  3. Rich Hill
  4. Julio Urias
  5. Scott Kazmir

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Logan Forsythe, 2B
  2. Corey Seager, SS
  3. Justin Turner, 3B
  4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  5. Yasmani Grandal, C
  6. Yasiel Puig, OF
  7. Joc Pederson, OF
  8. Andrew Toles, OF

2. San Francisco Giants (90-72)

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Head Coach: Bruce Bochy

2016 Record: 87-75

2017 Team MVP: Buster Posey, C

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Madison Bumgarner

Projected Rotation:

  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Johnny Cueto
  3. Jeff Samardzija
  4. Matt Moore
  5. Matt Cain

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Denard Span, OF
  2. Brandon Belt, 1B
  3. Buster Posey, C
  4. Hunter Pence, OF
  5. Brandon Crawford, SS
  6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
  7. Joe Panik, 2B
  8. Jarrett Parker, OF

3. Colorado Rockies (83-79)

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Head Coach: Bud Black

2016 Record: 75-87

2017 Team MVP: Nolan Arenado, 3B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Tyler Chatwood

Projected Rotation:

  1. Jon Gray
  2. Chad Bettis
  3. Tyler Chatwood
  4. Tyler Anderson
  5. Jeff Hoffman

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Charlie Blackmon, OF
  2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
  3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  4. Carlos Gonzalez, 1B
  5. Ian Desmond, OF
  6. Trevor Story, SS
  7. David Dahl, OF
  8. Tony Wolters, C

4. Arizona Diamondbacks (75-87)

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Head Coach: Torey Lovullo

2016 Record: 69-93

2017 Team MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Zack Greinke

Projected Rotation:

  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Robbie Ray
  3. Taijuan Walker
  4. Archie Bradley
  5. Shelby Miller

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Ketel Marte, SS
  2. A.J. Pollock, OF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. David Peralta, OF
  5. Yasmany Tomas, OF
  6. Jake Lamb, 3B
  7. Chris Iannetta, C
  8. Chris Owings, 2B

5. San Diego Padres (63-99)

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Head Coach: Andy Green

2016 Record: 68-94

2017 Team MVP: Wil Myers, 1B

2017 Cy Young Candidate: Trevo Cahill

Projected Rotation:

  1. Jhoulys Chacin
  2. Clayton Richard
  3. Trevor Cahill
  4. Christian Friedrich
  5. Jered Weaver

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Travis Jankowski, OF
  2. Manuel Margot, OF
  3. Wil Myers, 1B
  4. Yangervis Solarte, 3B
  5. Hunter Renfroe, OF
  6. Ryan Schimpf, 2B
  7. Austin Hedges, C
  8. Luis Sardinas, SS
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