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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

National League Preview


The first day of the 2018 Major League Baseball season has come and gone, and the baseball world waits in great anticipation for the rest of the season to unfold. The 2017 season was one for the record books—setting the bar of expectations high for the upcoming season. Though every season is very different, I believe the 2018 season will feature the same cast of characters, in the NL especially. Below is my take on how the National League will shape up when it’s all said and done at the end of September.

NL East

  1. Washington Nationals
  2. Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Atlanta Braves
  4. New York Mets
  5. Miami Marlins

Washington Nationals

Surprise, surprise—the Nats are good, again. They did not do much this offseason as the majority of their talented core is returning from last year. In addition, I vehemently believe that their young stars will continue to improve. The return of outfielder Adam Eaton will most definitely bolster the top of the lineup. Oh yea, they also boast a top-5 pitching staff in the MLB, led by perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer. They will be the class of the NL once again – I expect them to hover around 98-101 wins at the end of the season. Here’s hoping that a Washington D.C. sports franchise can advance past the first round of the playoffs!

Philadelphia Phillies

In my opinion, The Phils had a fantastic offseason. The front office ultimately decided to turn the corner and progress forward with their rebuild. They acquired extremely valuable veteran pieces in first baseman Carlos Santana and pitcher Jake Arrieta, who will ultimately complement the young and dynamic core of players. The Phillies also found a diamond-in-the-rough in top prospect, Scott Kingery. The second baseman flat out raked in Spring Training and ultimately provides manager Gabe Kapler with an exciting plug-and-play utility option. Having said all of this, I am not sold on the Phillies for 2018. I believe they will have an 85 to 87-win season, but they will fall short of the playoffs.

Key Add(s): Carlos Santana, Jake Arrieta, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter

Key Subtraction(s): N/A

Atlanta Braves

The Braves will immensely overachieve in 2018. Why, you ask? Three names: Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson. These young infielders can flat out play. Yes, I know that Swanson struggled last year. Yes, I know that Acuña has not stepped foot in the Major Leagues. Frankly, I don’t care. This trio of players is the real deal, and these three will go on to serve as the Braves’ core for years to come. Pairing these three dynamic players with Johan Camargo, a young and versatile piece, will lead to a formidable top of the lineup. Ender Inciarte and Freddie Freeman will be as solid as ever. Throw in some quality starts from pitchers Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb and Luiz Gohara, and the Braves have the recipe for overachievement in 2018.

Key Add(s): Brandon McCarthy, Preston Tucker, Peter Bourjos

Key Subtraction(s): Matt Kemp, Matt Adams

New York Mets

The Mets are an absolute conundrum. I believe I can chalk their calamity up to one factor: health. If the starting rotation remains healthy, the Mets could rival the Nationals for the top spot in the NL East. Syndergaard and deGrom are two of the best pitchers in the sport. Matt Harvey is a top-5 pitcher in baseball if he ever regains his 2012-2015 form. Jason Vargas will provide stability at the back end of the rotation. If they catch the injury bug once again, things could go bad fast in Flushing. In addition, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes needs to stay on the field. If he does, the offense will be solid, especially with the reacquisition of Jay Bruce and the signing of Todd Frazier. We’ll just have to see what 2018 holds for the New York Mets.

Key Add(s): Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Jason Vargas, Anthony Swarzak, Jose Reyes

Key Subtraction(s): N/A

Miami Marlins


Key Add(s): Lewis Brinson, Starlin Castro, Magneuris Sierra, Cameron Maybin, Sandy Alcantara

Key Subtraction(s): Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, Edinson Volquez


NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Milwaukee Brewers (NL Wild Card)
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

The Cubbies are the class of the NL Central. Their formidable core of players from their 2016 World Series victory remains intact. With the additions of outfielder Ian Happ, a top-of-the-lineup sparkplug who came on the scene last year and absolutely excelled, a skinnier outfielder Kyle Schwarber, and a front-line starter in Yu Darvish, the Cubs look poised to contend for a 100-win season and another World Series title.

Key Add(s): Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Morrow

Key Subtraction(s): Wade Davis, Jon Jay

Milwaukee Brewers

I believe in the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew’s acquisitions of outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich added to a bevy of quality offensive forces. Despite this, everyone points at their inability to sign a formidable starting pitcher this offseason. I believe that the starting staff is serviceable enough to get the job done until the Trade Deadline in July. The Brewers’ acquisitions have provided a surplus of quality players in the outfield, which could ultimately lead to the acquisition of a front-line starter who will allow them to secure a Wild Card spot.

Key Add(s): Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Albers

Key Subtraction(s): Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison

St. Louis Cardinals

The Redbirds made a splash with their offseason acquisition of outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Their lineup has definitely improved; however, I definitely question their ability to contend with the Cubs and the Brewers. Their rotation contains question marks in starters Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Miles Mikolas. I also question outfielder Tommy Pham’s ability to repeat his offensive production from last year. I believe that the Cardinals will be competitive throughout the entire year, but will end up falling short of the playoffs.

Key Add(s): Marcell Ozuna, Miles Mikolas, Greg Holland, Bud Norris,     Dominic Leone

Key Subtraction(s): Aledmys Diaz, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Trevor Rosenthal, Seung-Hwan Oh

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are in an odd situation. They shipped the face of their franchise, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, away to the San Francisco Giants. In addition to that, they sent their ace, Gerrit Cole, to the World Series Champion Houston Astros. In response to the McCutchen move, they went on to acquire Corey Dickerson to fill the void in the outfield. The Pirates’ roster is definitely still talented; however, I believe that they lack direction. They are caught in between contending and rebuilding. In my opinion, this lack of direction will ultimately lead to mediocrity in 2018.

Key Add(s): Corey Dickerson, Derek Fisher, Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove

Key Subtraction(s): Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole

Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto will be Joey Votto—the most complete hitter in Major League Baseball. The Reds have interesting pieces that surround Votto in newly-extended third baseman Eugenio Suarez, second baseman Scooter Gennett, speedster Billy Hamilton, and closer Raisel Iglesias. The Reds have some promising young players on the horizon. Until then, the Reds will not be legitimate contenders.

Key Add(s): Jared Hughes, David Hernandez

Key Subtraction(s): Zack Cozart


NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Francisco Giants (NL Wild Card)
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. San Diego Padres

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers may be the most complete team in Major League Baseball. They have a prolific lineup, a daunting starting rotation and an electric bullpen. They boast the best pitcher in baseball in ace Clayton Kershaw, as well as one of the best duos of young players in the sport in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. Kenley Jansen is rock solid at the back end of the bullpen. Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes, both uber-versatile utility players, provide much depth. The Dodgers have it all and should, once again, contend for a World Series title.

Key Add(s): Matt Kemp, JT Chargois

Key Subtraction(s): Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Brandon Morrow, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir

San Francisco Giants

Many experts around the baseball world are skeptical about this revamped Giants squad. Throughout the entire offseason, the main skepticism has been that their key additions, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, are older players that add to an already aging group. I disagree with that notion completely. A change of scenery will reenergize both McCutchen and Longoria, allowing them to channel the skills of their younger selves. San Francisco is a perfect fit for these two players, who are only a few years removed from being perennial All-Stars and MVP candidates. I believe the Giants will do damage this year. I liken this team to a fine wine—they will get better with age and experience.

Key Add(s): Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Austin Jackson, Tony Watson

Key Subtraction(s): N/A

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies are an extremely talented team that will challenge the Dodgers and Giants throughout the entire season. Ultimately, I believe that their pitching staff will not be able to match their brilliance from last season. However, a revamped bullpen and consistent offense could completely take the load off of the starting rotation. We will see what the future holds for the Rockies.

Key Add(s): Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Chris Iannetta, Bryan Shaw, Carlos Gonzalez

Key Subtraction(s): Jonathon Lucroy, Greg Holland

Arizona Diamondbacks

The NL West is the hardest division to predict in all of baseball. In my opinion, there are four legitimate playoff contenders. I’m going to be honest, I have placed the Diamondbacks fourth because I had nowhere else to put them. They are incredibly talented in all facets of the game. I believe their season will run a parallel course to the Rockies—a contender for the division title all year but coming up short near the end. The loss of JD Martinez is an absolute killer, but I believe Goldschmidt, Greinke and the rest of the Snakes can find a way to remain very competitive.

Key Add(s): Steven Souza Jr., Jarrod Dyson, Yoshihisa Hirano, Brad Boxberger,

Key Subtraction(s): JD Martinez, Chris Iannetta

San Diego Padres

The Friars boast the best farm system in the sport and the acquisition of star first baseman Eric Hosmer has reinvigorated the fan base. The Padres’ time to contend is not yet here. However, I believe they will be much better than advertised in 2018. Give it a year or two, and the Padres will be a legitimate contender that will play deep into the fall.

Key Add(s): Eric Hosmer, Kazuhisa Makita, Chase Headley, Freddy Galvis

Key Subtraction(s): Yangervis Solarte


*Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via*

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