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From: The Sports Point
Will the Diamondbacks and Rockies meet expectations this year after far exceeding them last season? Can the Cardinals return to their World Series form of '06 after a disappointing '07? Will the National League have a team that tops 90 wins, unlike last year? These are some of the questions that we pondered as we came up with our top 5 National League over/under predictions for the upcoming season.
Arizona Diamondbacks UNDER 87.5
- No hitters in this lineup scare anyone and none of their younger players will sneak up on anyone this year.
- Eric Byrnes will never have another year like he did last year, a year in which he was a legit MVP candidate.
- Not enough is being made of the fact that besides acquiring Chad Qualls in a trade in which the D-Backs gave up the franchise saves leader, Jose Valverde, the D-Backs have done nothing to improve their bullpen, the biggest part of their success last year.
- To much is being made of the acquisition of SP Dan Haren and thus it made their o/u number inflated. Take a look at their roster besides Haren and Webb, do you see an elite pitcher or position player on the whole roster?
- They are in an extremely competitive division, all of these teams will not end up with 85 plus wins. The D-Backs will slide the furthest.
Cincinnati Reds UNDER 77
- This team depends way to much on Ken Griffey Jr. Any injury to him pretty much ruins their whole season, an injury which unfortunately is inevitable.
- Aaron Harang might have had the best season last year for a pitcher given his stats and the team he was on last year and still the team only won 72 games.
- We expect every team in the NL Central to be improved from last year, except for the Reds. They will take the brunt of these teams improving and finish in last place.
- The Reds are the worst type of team to root for. They have older overpriced veterans and a lot of young players who are all future role players, neither type of player give fans hope for the future. Can you say dead end?
Colorado Rockies OVER 83
- Their young lineup is legit and will only get better in '08. Last year the baseball world was introduced to stars like Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and Garrett Atkins. This year that group will take the Rockies to an even higher level.
- During the course of their improbable run to the World Series last year the Rockies realized their bullpen was a huge factor in their success. They locked up their closer Manny Corpas who is an emerging star and signed Luis Vizcaino who joins Brian Fuentes to form a formidable 7th and 8th inning bridge.
- Todd Helton's veteran leadership is priceless and will keep this young group focused.
- 83 is way to low of a number for a team that is coming off of a National League pennant. It is perplexing they would have such a low number especially given they lost zero key players in the off-season. Again, people are putting the Dodgers and D-Backs at a higher number then the Rockies and Padres, which we think is a mistake.
St. Louis Cardinals OVER 76.5
- Everything went wrong for the Cardinals last year and they still won 78 games.
- LaRussa is too good of a manager to have a team go under .500 two seasons in a row.
- Converted from the bullpen last year and made starting pitchers, Braden Looper and Adam Wainwright will have better seasons the second time around as starters.
- The Cards play in one of the worst divisions in baseball and should be .500 based on that fact alone given the relative quality of their roster.
Washington Nationals OVER 71.5
- With the roster Manny Acta had to work with last year he should have been manager of the year given the fact that he guided that team to 73 wins.
- The Nationals have quietly stock piled a number of young, good position players and starting pitchers.
- Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, and Paul LoDuca on the same roster scares us but we think they can weather the storm and win 72 games.
- They are playing in a new stadium! That is good for 5 extra wins right there, GO Nats!
[O/U numbers from betcris.com ]