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NL Contender or Pretender

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Hello, hello. HELLO! How I have missed you guys ever so much. It has been a chaotic month, and I am pushing through some serious writer's block, so please forgive me.

Before we get into, I want to mention my friends over at Repp Sports and Raze Energy. I have been running on fumes the last few weeks, and Raze has been helping keep pushing. Raze Energy fuels the Blog

We are going to get into Contender or Pretender in the National League today. I will look at the top 6 teams in the NL and their most significant strengths and weaknesses as we progress in the season. Being 1/3 of the way into the race, its time to start digging a little deeper.

6- The San Diego Padres have been playing some great baseball to start the season. They are starting the season at 11-10, having lost 4 of their last five games to division rivals. The offense has been the biggest strength of the team being lead by Tatis Jr. We all saw this coming already hitting 8HR and hitting over 300. Simultaneously, we have Macho and Myers also getting some power going with 5Hr each and 12+ RBI each. The pitching is what I see as the weakness, specifically the rotation outside of Dinelson Lamet and Zach Davies, and not having Kirby Yates to lock down games is also a big blow. The Padres need to figure out their pitching and quick if they want to keep up. My final verdict for this team is the pretender for now.

5- The Atlanta Braves have also played some good baseball. We all know that early in the season, they had some players out recovering from COVID. They got Markakis and both catchers back, and of course, that's great for the club. Then we have seen Acuna and Albies both miss recently. Overall, this team has no problem getting on base as Swanson, Ozuna, Freeman, and Acuna all have an OBP over .315. The rest of the group is well below that. While runners are in scoring position, the team is hitting .280, which could be better. The brightest spot on this team is Swanson, who is hitting .429 with RISP with 12RBI. The bullpen alone has been FANTASTIC! Greene, Melancon, Sobotka, and Smith have a combined ERA of 0.00 over 18 innings of work. The rest of the pen is all pitching below a 3.00 ERA has a whole. The Braves have probably the best bullpen in baseball right now. The rotation is the issue for the Braves outside of Mike Fried. With Soroka going down to injury, All of whom they have started this year have struggled. The Braves are in desperate need of rotation help and need health for their stars. They are still a contender in my book, sitting at 11-10, but the NL East is a tough division.

Final descision= Contender

5- This is a small technicality because of the 4-3 St. Louis Cardinals. They haven't played enough baseball for me to say either way. With the number of reports they have had about positive COVID tests is worrying. Not detrimental to the whole game. It shows me how well the MLB can handle these situations on a per-team basis.

Final descision= Pretender

4-Coming in at 4th is Charlie Blackmon, and I guess he has a team behind him in the Colorado Rockies. Blackmon has to lead this team to a 12-7 start to the season. But don't forget those guys Story and Arenado, who have both hit 6HR and 12+ RBI each. The team has Blackmon, Murphy, Hampson, and Story, all hitting over .302. The offense has been a mile ahead, to say the least so far. Over to the pitching side, the rotation has had great performances from Marquez, Freeland, and Senzatela. The bullpen has been less than stellar. Outside of some good winnings from Harvey and Estevez, this bullpen has a thing or two to figure out. With a legit offense and solid rotation, I see good things coming for the Rockies. Whenever the team gives a lead to the bullpen, it has won them each of those games.

Final descision= Contender

3- If you told me a couple of weeks ago that this team was here in the NL, you be nuts. This team has been an incredible defensive team and just a momentum stopper for other organizations. The Miami Marlins are here in the three holes. This team has shown depth as they are figuring it all out together. After being cleared to return after being the first big domino to fall when it came to COVID. When you look at these 9-4 Marlins team, we have seen enough. The club has been lead offensively by Aguilar and Anderson. We have seen a large group of RP in Sharp, Neidert, Bleier, Venditte, Morin, Garcia, and Holloway have all contributed a 0.00 ERA over their winnings. The Marlins have something figured out with their pitching to get the right guy into the game. In general, the pitching looks to be bullpen games and a lot of flux for the team. Honestly, I don't know what to make of this team pitching-wise as a whole. I have watched them play, and the hitters do not look comfortable at the plate.

Final decision= Pretender

2-Coming in here at 2 is the 14-7 Dodgers. We have seen basically what we all expected from the Dodgers to this point in the season. The team has been lead offensively by Mookie Betts, hitting for a .303BA, 7HR, 15RBI, and 23H. The rest of the offense hasn't quite been all the way there. Pollock, Seager, Taylor, and Turner all have been equally as productive at the plate. We have seen some outstanding pitching from the starting rotation, contributing to a 3.26ERA for the group. The pen has been equally as nasty, sitting hitters down as quickly as they come up. The Dodgers have shown depth as a team and little weakness. The only flaw I can find in the organization is production offensively. Muncy, Bellinger, Pederson each are key players batting below .200 to this point. They need a whole team contribution to win this season.

Final descision= Contender

1- I don't know how I didn't see this coming to start the season: depth, experience and talent, and great coaching. The Chicago Cubs coming in at 13-5 have shown why they are still excellent contenders. The core of this team- Baez, Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Lester, Darvish all might be playing their last season together, and they are going for it NOW! With the likes of Kipnis, Happ, Heyward, Caratini, each is giving tremendous contributions offensively. A rotation that is being led by Lester and Darvish, who are both pitching below a 2.00ERA. With significant contributions from Jeffress and Wick out of the pen. The Cubs are all helping each other out to win games and go for it. They are all bought into winnings. The only thing this team needs to succeed for the next 40 games is more from Baez, Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, and Contreras, who are all hitting .254 or worse to this point. Suppose the team as a whole can't get it going at the plate. It may be rough sledding.

Final descision= Contender

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