MLB Divisional Previews: NL Central, is this the Cubs’ Year?

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Zachary Swiecicki

This is the second of six divisional previews from Impact 89FM, stay tuned for the rest of the previews throughout the opening week of the MLB season.

The NL Central may be the toughest division in baseball with the most questions heading into the season. Is this the Cubs’ year? Could the Cardinals and Pirates both claim Wild Card spots? Will the Reds or Brewers be relevant?

Zachary Swiecicki, Zach Barnes, and Will Thiede break down the National League Central Division and let the Chicago fans know what to expect in 2016.

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Last year, the NL Central became the first ever division to have the top three records in the MLB, with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Chicago leading the way. It was also only the second time that three teams in the same division had 95 or more wins.

 

Team W L W-L% GB
St. Louis Cardinals 100 62 0.617
Pittsburgh Pirates 98 64 0.605 2.0
Chicago Cubs 97 65 0.599 3.0
Milwaukee Brewers 68 94 0.420 32.0
Cincinnati Reds 64 98 0.395 36.0

 

If there was ever a division that could go back-to-back seasons with three teams making the playoffs, the NL Central would be it.


 

Our 2016 NL Central Projected Standings.

*National League Lineups will be not include the pitcher’s spot*

 

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

Rotation

1 Adam Wainwright
2 Michael Wacha
3 Mike Leake
4 Jaime Garcia
5 Carlos Martinez

 

Opening Day Lineup

3B Matt Carpenter
LF Tommy Pham
1B Matt Holliday
CF Randal Grichuk
RF Stephen Piscotty
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SS Jedd Gyorko

 

  1. Chicago Cubs

Rotation

1 Jake Arrieta
2 Jon Lester
3 John Lackey
4 Jason Hammel
5 Kyle Hendricks

 

Opening Day Lineup

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Jason Heyward
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Ben Zobrist
LF Kyle Schwarber
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell

 

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Rotation

1 Francisco Liriano
2 Garrit Cole
3 Jonathon Niese
4 Jeff Locke
5 Juan Nicasio

 

Opening Day Lineup

1B John Jaso
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B David Freese
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
RF Gregory Polanco
2B Josh Harrison
SS Jordy Mercer

 

  1. Cincinnati Reds

Rotation

1 Rasiel Iglesias
2 Brandon Finnegan
3 Alfredo Simon
4 Robert Stephenson
5 Tim Melville

 

Opening Day Lineup

SS Zack Cozart
3B Eugenio Suarez
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
C Devin Mesoraco
LF Adam Duvall
CF Billy Hamilton

 

  1. Milwaukee Brewers

Rotation

1 Wily Peralta
2 Jimmy Nelson
3 Matt Garza
4 Taylor Jungmann
5 Chase Anderson

 

Opening Day Lineup

RF Domingo Santana
SS Jonathan Villar
LF Ryan Braun
C Jonathan Lucroy
1B Chris Carter
3B Aaron Hill
2B Scooter Gennett
CF Keon Broxton