National League Predictions

Everyone else is making predictions, so why not MetsToday? We’ll focus on the National League, since that remains the only professional league still playing baseball, and not some twisted variation of the sport.

Cy Young Award

Obvious Candidates: Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, , Brandon Webb, Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, Cole Hamels, Carlos Zambrano.

Sleepers: Edinson Volquez, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Cook, Ricky Nolasco.

Prediction: Santana

If Santana remains healthy, he should pitch through the 7th inning at least 25 times this year. If his one-two finishing punch of J.J. Putz and Frankie Rodriguez also remains healthy, Johan could win 20 of those 25, if not more.

Should any of those three suffer a significant injury, my money is on Volquez.


Obvious candidates:
Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Beltran, David Wright.

Hanley Ramirez, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Lance Berkman, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Nate McLouth.

Prediction: This one’s too hard, you can’t really choose an MVP without knowing what teams are in the playoffs. I’m going to go on a limb and give it to Votto, who is poised for a breakout year.

Rookie of the Year

Jason Motte, Colby Rasmus, Jordan Schafer, Jordan Zimmerman

My research on the rookies is awful. I’m going to go with Motte, who could save 25+ games for the Cardinals. After Motte I like Schafer, who is slated to start in centerfield for the Braves.

Batting Title

Another tough one. I don’t see Chipper Jones hitting .364 again, though I wouldn’t be stunned to see Pujols hit .350 again. In fact, with Matt Holliday out of the league, this might be Pujols’ best chance for a triple crown. Someone’s going to come out of nowhere and surprise us all, and I say it’s going to be James Loney.

Saves Leader

Can Francisco Rodriguez save 60 games again? Doubtful — he may not get that many opportunities in the competitive NL East. I’m betting on a neck-and-neck race between Jose Valverde and the “other” Francisco Cordero, of Cincinnati.

NL West Champion: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers still have Manny, but they don’t have Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, nor Takashi Saito. After Chad Billingsley, the pitching staff looks questionable — even Jonathan Broxton looks like he might take a step back. I like the pitching of the Giants and the Diamondbacks, and think Arizona will have a little more offense and the better bullpen.

NL Central Champion: Chicago Cubs

On paper, the Cubs look to be the class of the NL, with great pitching depth and plenty of offense. However, they won’t run away with the division. I’m betting that the Reds have a surprising season, and that the Pirates climb out of the basement, while Houston and Milwaukee fight for last place.

NL East Champion: ?

This one’s too close to home. If I choose the Mets, I’m supposed to because this is a Mets blog. If I don’t choose the Mets, you wonder how I can’t since this is a Mets blog. So I’ll say this: the NL East is going to once again be a dogfight, and go down to the last weeks of the season. Further, neither the Marlins nor the Nationals will be pushovers in ’09, and the Braves won’t be left behind when it gets down to the wire. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if four games or less separates the Phillies, Mets, Braves, and Marlins when it’s all said and done. The Wild Card also will come from the East.

Agree or disagree with anything? Comment away!

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten April 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm
    Cy Young: One name that I’ve heard a few times is that of the Phillthies’ Brett Myers. He could very well do it, if his wife doesn’t get him angry again this year. But, I’ll go with your pick, because his stuff really is nasty. Johan Santana. Let’s remember that the last time that he had a balky elbow in ST was ’04, and he went 20-6 that year, and collected the Cy.

    MVP: Manny. He got the dodgers to the postseason last year, and something tells me that he’s gonna do it again.

    ROY: I don’t know enough about any of them to make an informed decision.

    Batting title: Pujols, just because he’s done it so many times. If this pans out, he’ll get very close to Manny for MVP.

    Saves: Call me crazy, bbut I think Chad Qualls just might take a run at it. Barring that, I’m saying Mike Gonzalez.

    Now, where it gets interesting:

    NL West: Dodgers

    NL Central: Cubs

    NL East: This is finally the year. Mets do it.

    NL WC: Let’s face it, the stars all aligned for the Phillthies last year. No major injuries to the pen nor the starting rotation, and all of the levers that Cholly seemed to pull were done properly. You can’t repeat that two years running. So, with that in mind, I say the Atlanta Braves.

  2. upson April 6, 2009 at 5:54 am
    yes, with about 6 hours left to go, it’s about time to make a few optimistic predictions: Santana 20 wins, Perez 15, Hernandez 12. I was about to go on a limb and say that the Mets win 95 games this season, but b/c of tough interleague play, let’s make it 92. Oh, and Delgado will hit #500 on Sep 26, the day the Mets secure a play-off spot 🙂

    Also, completely off-topic, but as a follow up to my previous analysis of Mets’ handling of leads and ties in late innings, I was able to run similar analysis for all other teams. I did not want to pollute this blog with too much worthless data, but I could not resist posting at least the attached printout detailing the performance of all NL teams in “save” and “tied” situations in the 8th inning. (Note that the table merges both home and road data, although one can argue that the bottom of the 8th is not exactly the same as the top the 8th.)

    8th inning Blown Saves/Holds and Blown Ties:
    LAD: (39/38/16/69) BH: 3/38 ( 7.9%), BT: 0/16 ( 0.0%)
    HOU: (29/46/20/66) BH: 4/47 ( 8.5%), BT: 7/20 (35.0%)
    CIN: (28/34/18/82) BH: 3/34 ( 8.8%), BT: 4/18 (22.2%)
    CHC: (49/42/18/52) BH: 5/42 (11.9%), BT: 4/18 (22.2%)
    FLA: (28/48/17/68) BH: 7/48 (14.6%), BT: 4/17 (23.5%)
    SFG: (23/38/25/76) BH: 6/39 (15.4%), BT: 9/25 (36.0%)
    NYM: (39/50/16/57) BH: 8/50 (16.0%), BT: 5/16 (31.3%)
    ARI: (31/50/17/64) BH: 8/50 (16.0%), BT: 6/17 (35.3%)
    ATL: (33/38/19/72) BH: 7/38 (18.4%), BT: 6/19 (31.6%)
    SDP: (23/32/23/84) BH: 6/32 (18.8%), BT: 4/23 (17.4%)
    COL: (31/37/14/80) BH: 7/37 (18.9%), BT: 3/14 (21.4%)
    MIL: (37/43/25/57) BH: 9/43 (20.9%), BT: 6/25 (24.0%)
    PIT: (20/38/20/84) BH: 8/38 (21.1%), BT: 7/20 (35.0%)
    PHI: (33/51/20/58) BH: 11/51 (21.6%), BT: 5/20 (25.0%)
    STL: (38/54/15/55) BH: 14/54 (25.9%), BT: 6/15 (40.0%)
    WAS: (21/37/20/83) BH: 11/38 (28.9%), BT: 10/20 (50.0%)

    Again, the numbers in the first brackets give a full distribution of situations facing the first Mets’ pitcher entering the 8th inning (top of the inning at home or bottom of the inning on road): For instance for the Mets, this is 39x lead by >3runs, 50x close lead = save situation, 16x ties, 57x losing by any number of runs. (The sum of these numbers is 162.)

    I guess the table above reinforces Joe’s earlier point that the Mets’ bullpen was not that bad last year. At least, the Mets handled 8th inning better than the Phillies. Still, however, there were many teams with significantly better results so hopefully room for improvement with Putz. (The Dodgers’ 8th inning last year was just sick!)

    Note: Washington’s blown save percentage is 11/38 despite only 37 “save situations” indicated. This is because one of the blown saves occured when Nationals had >3 run lead. Hence, technically, the blow save percentage should have been 1/21 for big leads and 10/37 for small leads. For clarity, I chose the simplified version of presentation. There might be other similar cases in the table.