*Predictions are from Opening Day
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Opening Day Questions
When will Chase Utley return to the Phillies lineup?
- All Star Break - Returned May 23, and has played in 41 games. He is hitting .280 and has 4 HRs, 18 RBI and 22 runs scored.
- All Star Break - It seems as though he fits perfectly into Bobby's shoes. The Braves are 3.5 games behind the Phillies and lead the wild card. He has utilized his young bullpen beautifully and has created one of the leagues most feared 8-9 combos in Venters and Kimbrel.
- All Star Break - Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson have all spent time on the DL.
- All Star Break - He actually leads the team in games played with 89
- All Star Break - It does not look like the Nats will let Harper play in the bigs this season, and Strasburg MIGHT play in September, but I think that would be a big mistake.
Second Half Questions
Does Philly make another surprise acquisition?
Where is Dan Uggla?
Does Josh Johnson return to Cy Young status in 2011?
Will Wright, Santana, and Davis return before the Mets clear house?
Do the Nats have the ROY(Espinosa) and CPOY(Morse)?
The Good Phight
Key Additions: Cliff Lee
Key Losses: Jasyson Werth, Chad Durbin
Outlook - It's hard to not to pick the Phils as the favorites out of the NL this year with a pitching rotation that looks like Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt and Blanton. It's going to be tough for any team to beat them in consecutive games because of their pitching, but lets not forget that they have an explosive offense even with the loss of Werth, led by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and possibly a productive Jimmy Rollins. As much as I hate to say it, I can see the Phillies easily winning 100 games this year.
Key Additions: Scott Linebrink, Dan Uggla
Key Losses: Troy Glaus, Derek Lee, Omar Infante, Takashi Saito, Billy Wagner
Outlook - With a lot of young power pitchers and a good offense with the acquisition of Dan Uggla, the Braves will be a tough team to beat once again. I think a lot of their success will hang on the shoulders of Chipper Jones. If he can stay healthy, he's going to produce and be a catalyst for this team. I'm looking forward to see how Jason Heyward plays in his sophomore season as well as how Prado adjusts to playing LF. With solid pitching and hitting, the NL wild card is definitely in reach for the Braves. 87-90 wins.
New York Mets
Key Additions: Chris Capuano, D.J Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, Chris Young
Key Losses: Pedro Feliciano, Hisanori Takahashi
Outlook - Once again the Mets really did not do much to improve this failing ball club. With Santana expected to miss the 1st half of the year they really needed to improve their pitching staff. They brought in Chris Young, Chris Capuano and D.J Carrasco and they all have a good chance to make the team. Injuries have been a killer for this team over the past 3-4 years now, and if Reyes, Pagan, Beltran, Wright, Bay and Davis can stay healthy then this team will have no problems scoring runs. If somehow the pitching comes through for this team then the Mets might surprise the baseball world in 2011. However as a realist anything over 81 wins will be a good year for the Mets.
Key Additions: John Buck, Omar Infante, Edward Mujica, Javier Vasquez, Ryan Webb
Key Losses: Cameron Maybin, Ronny Paulino, Dan Uggla
Outlook - A very young team coming into the season, the Marlins will have a new look as they traded Uggla and brought in some new pieces. They have some studs in the outfield led by slugger Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Chris Coghlan (who I thought would break out last year). We already know they have one of the best players in the league, Hanley Ramirez, who will have to become a leader and start showing he's mature enough to help this club win some games. I'm a little nervous about this rotation with Josh Johnson, Rickey Nolasco, and Anibal Sanchez all suffering injuries over the last few years, and who knows what they'll get out of Javier Vasquez. Expect the Marlins to be competitive but just like the Mets anything over 81 wins will be a good year.
Key Additions: Jayson Werth, Rick Ankiel, Todd Coffey, Tom Gorzelanny, Jerry Hairston, Adam LaRoche, Henry Rodriguez
Key Losses: Miguel Batista, Adam Dunn, Christian Guzman, Josh Willingham
Outlook - Losing Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham's bat, the Nats lose basically their whole offense. But they brought in and over paid in my opinion for Jayson Werth to help fill in the holes, as well as first basemen Adam LaRoche whose really nothing special. The pitching staff will be atrocious once again as they'll rely heavily on Livan Hernandez who is 100, Yunesky Maya who was good in Cuba but nobody has heard of, and Jordan Zimmermann whose coming back from injury. As we all know there will be no Stephen Strasburg in 2011, as he is recovering from Tommy Johns. 2012 will be exciting for the Nats as they should see Strasburg and Bryce Harper become the face of the franchise along side all-star third basemen Ryan Zimmerman, but until then expect a 95-100 loss season for the Nats in 2011.
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