Braun powers Brewers
Juan C. Rodriguez
Going from left to right, Justin Upton will carry the Diamondbacks to the NL West title. Even if Ian Kennedy regresses, the Diamondbacks' rotation will be solid.
The Central is wide open. You can make a case for the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds. I'll take the Brewers. Ryan Braun doesn't need Prince Fielder to put up big numbers and Yovani Gallardo is my Cy Young pick. The Cardinals will edge the Reds for one of the wild cards.
Philadelphia's supremacy may be coming to an end, but not this season. The Phillies will win the division again and the Nationals will nip the Marlins for the wild card. Your NL champions: Brewers.
Big 3 lead Phillies
Los Angeles Times
The Phillies should repeat as East champions as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are incomparable. With Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, the Reds have the most consistent lineup in the Central. The Diamondbacks won the West last season and made some unspectacular but solid upgrades. They're favorites to repeat.
The Marlins made significant moves over the offseason, paying big money for shortstop Jose Reyes, starter Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell. They could claim one of the two wild-card spots. The Dodgers could make a late run to land the other wild-card entry.
The Phillies went into the playoffs last year as the clear favorite but failed to win a series. That won't happen again.
NL East looks toughest
Dave van Dyck
It's one last go-round for the aging, but proud, Phillies.
With their pitching, they can find a way to overcome injuries and age. But this season won't be easy for the Phillies, who will have to hold off the Braves and Marlins in baseball's most competitive division. In fact, the prediction is that the NL East will produce both wild cards in the new format.
Meanwhile, the in-season fight to the end will give the Phillies a playoff edge against the Brewers from the Central Division and the Diamondbacks from the West. Yes, they may be old and they may have to battle through nagging injuries, but the Phillies have four things the others don't: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and determination.
Braves, Giants in NLCS
The Phillies' path to a sixth consecutive NL East crown got much tougher with injuries to an already challenged offense and from offseason improvements by the Nationals and Marlins. But the Phillies' pitching will prevail and they'll win a loaded division.
The Braves will beat the Cardinals in the one-game playoff.
The Brewers have quality starting pitching and still enough offense to win the Central. The Diamondbacks will have a solid season but won't be able to get past the Giants in the West.
Look for an NLCS featuring the Braves, anchored by one of the best bullpens, and the Giants, whose Big Three almost rival the Phillies'. But it's the Braves who get to the World Series.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times