On MLB.com, there is an article up now about 5 Questions facing each team across each league. (Starting with the AL West and NL East.) So inspired by that idea, I ask one question for each team in the NL Central. (In alphabetical order.)
Is their Window Closed?
The Milwaukee Brewers have been a fun club over the past few seasons. Christian Yelich has turned into a perennial MVP candidate since leaving Miami. And the atmosphere in Miller Park has been something incredible to watch. The NL Central hasn’t truly materialized any legitimate favorites just yet. But one has to wonder if the losses of key pieces to their lineup will spell the end of the Brewers run in the NL Central.
Cardinals (St. Louis)
Are the Cardinals Strong Enough to Claims the NL Central?
On paper, there are some notable names on the Cardinals roster. Players like Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, Andrew Miller, and Adam Wainwright represent a who’s who of baseball name greats. And outside of these aging stars, the Cardinals have some players that will play a significant role in 2020. Players like Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, Tommy Edman, Paul DeJong, Alex Reyes, Jordan Hicks, and Jack Flaherty represent the new core of the Cardinals. But in what is essentially a wide-open NL Central division have the Cardinals fortified themselves enough to claim the top spot.
What is Going to Happen with Kris Bryant?
Much like the question that surrounded the Red Sox before the Mookie Betts trade and the Rockies with Nolan Arenado, the Chicago Cubs must decide on whether or not to trade Kris Bryant. Kris Bryant was, at one point, one of the budding superstars in MLB. However, at this moment, Kris Bryant isn’t seen as that same level of player. Whether because of injuries or a distracted focus because of this grievance issue, Bryant hasn’t reached the same level of success. While all that is true, Bryant can quickly recover and raise his stock once again with an excellent first half, which would allow the Cubs to find a contending part interested in the versatile third baseman.
Is there anything to be excited about in the Steel City?
The Pirates are going through a long-overdue rebuild. Over the past few seasons, we have seen the Pirates trade franchise icon, Andrew McCutchen. This offseason would also see the Bucs trade Starling Marte, who was thought to be McCutchen’s replacement. Pittsburgh, just like the Tigers in the AL Central and the Orioles in the AL East, will be scraping the bottom of the barrel this season. The question for fans of the Buccaneers is what is there to look forward to this Summer?
Are the Reds the Favorite in the NL Central?
The Reds, much like the White Sox, were aggressive on the free-agent market this offseason. The additions of Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Japanese outfielder, Shogo Akiyama, add to a quietly powerful Reds lineup. Then when you take into account that the Reds have (arguably) the best rotation in MLB, and there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a Reds fan. And many questions can be asked of the Reds Mike Moustakas isn’t a prototypical second baseman, how will he fare? Do they have enough in the bullpen? How will the outfield shake out? But the biggest and most important question is, is this Cincinnati Reds team the new favorites in the NL Central?
Final Thoughts on the NL Central
The NL Central will likely be the most fun division to watch this Summer. There will be four teams competing, and no one has genuinely separated themselves as the clear-cut favorite. Pittsburgh will be at the bottom, and outside of that, nothing is for sure. It very well could be possible that we could even see the two NL Wild Card teams coming from the NL Central.
However, continue to stay tuned to LaracuenteLedger.com as we continue this series of the Big Question facing each Division in MLB.