MLB – National League – Projections of 2008 Season Final Team Standings

MLB Stats · N.L. East · N.L. West · N.L. Central · American League

2007: 2007 Final Standings and 2007 NL Projections
2006: 2006 Final Standings and 2006 NL Projections
2005: 2005 Final Standings and 2005 NL Projections

2008 National League Overview

Candidates for an upside surprise: Cincinnnati Reds and Houston Astros. The Nationals and Marlins should do better than expected but it won’t change anything in the NL East. For the NL Central and NL West it means you’re probably going to have to win your division to get into the playoffs. In the NL West anything will be possible. For example, are the Padres a 1st place or 4th place team?
Manager of the Year: Willie Randolph (NYM)
NL MVP: Alfonso Soriano (CHC)
NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright (STL)
NL Rookie of the Year: Jay Bruce (CIN)
Playoffs: Mets over the Cubs; Phillies over the Padres; NL Championship: Mets beat the Phillies (N.L. Champs: Lindy’s picks the Phillies; SI, ESPN, and Sporting News pick the Cubs).

Original posting: January 2, 2008. Last update: March 30, 2008.

National League East

1. New York Mets Willie Randolph
2008 Picks: 91 wins [Lindy=3* ; SI=1 (91); ESPN=1 ; TSN=3*]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 2.5-1 Win W.S.: 5-1

2007 Record: 88-74
2006 Record: 97-65
2005 Record: 83-79
2004 Record: 71-91
2003 Record: 66-95
Key Players: David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, Brian Wagner, Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, John Maine
What needs to go right: The Mets need to play solid defence. And they need their 2 veteran bats (Alou and Delgado) to hold up another year.
Recap: With the addition of SP Johan Santana the Mets have to be considered the odds on favourite to win the NL East. But will the ghost of last September (losing 6 of their last 7 games) linger into this season? One oddity is that the Mets are going to be starting 2 players (OF Ryan Church and C Brian Schneider) that played for a 73-89 team last year. Bottom line: With the pitching the Mets have, it seems it would take another unexpected collapse to ruin this season.

2. Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel
2008 Picks: 87 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=2 (86); ESPN=3 ; TSN=2]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 8-1 Win W.S.: 22-1
2007 Record: 89-73
2006 Record: 85-77
2005 Record: 88-74
2004 Record: 86-76
2003 Record: 86-76
Key Players: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge.
What needs to go right: The team ERA needs to come down a little bit. A full season of Kyle Kendrick -game log- can be one source of help, but the real issues are Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton. And, with Aaron Rowand gone, OF Shane Victorino will have to be healthy to play every day (unlike the end of last season here).
Recap: There will be little room for error with the Mets addition of SP Johan Santana. Some form of production near the bottom of the order (OF Geoff Jenkins, 3B Greg Dobbs, and C Carlos Ruiz) could help this from being an every-other-inning type of team. Bottom line: The Phillies have become good for about 87 wins every year (last 7 seasons have been like that here)– but they will need a bit more (like last year) to emerge from the division.

3. Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox
2008 Picks: 81 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=3 (85); ESPN=2 ; TSN=1]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 7.5-1 Win W.S.: 20-1
2007 Record: 84-78
2006 Record: 79-83
2005 Record: 90-72
2004 Record: 96-66
2003 Record: 101-61
Key Players: Mark Teixeira, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson.
What needs to go right: Here’s 3 things to start with: 1) Jeff Francoeur needs to deliver either a higher BA or more HR’s, 2) How good will SS Yunel Escobar be this season? and 3) Can Brian McCann improve his BA and HR’s?
Recap: One thing to say about the Braves is they aren’t just packing it up and giving up on the division. After 11 straight division titles, the Braves have hit a rough patch, but they added Teixeira late last season and they brought back SP Tom Glavine this year. But, whoa, the Braves rotation is old. Glavine (42 by opening day) and Smoltz (41 in May) make Chipper Jones (36 in April) look young. Bottom line: This team is a tough one to pick– could swing big either way, they could be really good or really bad. We’re calling it right in the middle (sometimes great, sometimes miserable, overall even).

4. Washington Nationals Manny Acta
2008 Picks: 80 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=4 (73); ESPN=4 ; TSN=4]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 150-1

2007 Record: 73-89
2006 Record: 71-91
2005 Record: 81-81
2004 Record: 67-95
2003 Record: 83-79
Key Players: Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero.
What needs to go right: They need to just get games to their bullpen. With Chad Cordero and the big man (Jon Rauch) this RHP-RHP combo can by itself squeeze out a few wins.
Recap: The 2 best pitchers on the team had surgery last September. This makes it difficult to expect the team to get much momentum going right out of the gate. However, on the flip side, they have a brand new stadium opening. Will it be a pitchers park or hitters paradise? It may not be so easy to write this team off. They do have some surprising power bats through the middle of the order in Zimmerman, Johnson, Kearns, and Wily Mo Pena. And maybe Paul Lo Duca can be an inspiration for both the rotation and the line-up. Bottom line: Don’t take the Nationals too lightly this year.

5. Florida Marlins Fredi Gonzalez
2008 Picks: 74 wins [Lindy=5 ; SI=5 (72); ESPN=5 ; TSN=5]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 150-1
2007 Record: 71-91
2006 Record: 78-84
2005 Record: 83-79
2004 Record: 83-79
2003 Record: 91-71
Key Players: Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Anibal Sanchez.
What needs to go right: Injured Anibal Sanchez needs to come back quickly and pitch lights out. And, Mike Jacobs and Jose Castillo need to provide stability and consistent performance.
Recap: The Marlins have a list of great up-and-coming bats. The anchor of the line-up is lead-off hitter SS Hanley Ramirez, who’s already established himself as one of the best overall fantasy baseball players. The keys to success will be the performance of Dan Uggla and Jeremy Hermida. Bottom line: The Marlins need some out of nowhere break-out performances on the pitching staff to turn things around

National League West

1. San Diego Padres Bud Black
2008 Picks: 88 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=4 (79); ESPN=4 ; TSN=4]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 11-1 Win W.S.: 25-1
2007 Record: 89-74*
2006 Record: 88-74
2005 Record: 82-80
2004 Record: 87-75
2003 Record: 64-98
Key Players: Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Trevor Hoffman, Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene.
What needs to go right: Ok, the Greg Maddux (career) heydays were 1994 and 1995 (and the last time he won 20 games was 1993). And he was great right up through 2002. Since then, he’s averaging a 4.10 ERA. Yet, at the age of 42 (born 4/14/66) Maddux will be out trying to earn the $10 million the Padres were willing to pay him for another year of service. As goes Maddux, so may go the Padres.
Recap: The Padres have one of those offences that just seems to get the job done. This year, the one consistent piece, 1B Adrian Gonzalez (30 HR’s, 100 RBI’s) will be backed up by the addition of OF Jim Edmonds. A good move. The rest of the order is about piecing together runs– SS Khalil Greene and 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff meet the veteran ability of OF Brian Giles and the addition of 2B Tadahito Iguchi. Bottom line: the Padres should be competitive but this team could just as easily finish 4th in the division as 1st.

2. Colorado Rockies Clint Hurdle
2008 Picks: 87 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=1 (89); ESPN=2 ; TSN=2]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 13-1 Win W.S.: 28-1

2007 Record: 90-73*
2006 Record: 76-86
2005 Record: 67-95
2004 Record: 68-94
2003 Record: 74-88
Key Players: Matt Holiday, Jeff Francis, Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki.
What needs to go right: Well, if they can win 13 of 14 to end this season just like last, then the rest of the season might not really matter.
Recap: The Rockies are now an inspired bunch that not only believe they can win, they know they have done it. Also, the line-up is finally built to deliver the runs a Denver-based team should, given the high-altitude. However, heartbreak could await. It won’t be easy to repeat.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Torre
2008 Picks: 86 wins [Lindy=3 ; SI=3 (85); ESPN=3 ; TSN=3]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 9-1 Win W.S.: 24-1
2007 Record: 82-80
2006 Record: 88-74
2005 Record: 71-91
2004 Record: 93-69
2003 Record: 85-77
Key Players: Takashi Saito, Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Rafael Furcal.
What needs to go right: Andruw Jones needs to remember how to hit the ball out of the park, or at least just hit the ball, period. But, without steroids anymore, maybe his best days are gone forever. In the rotation, if they can get a full season of RHP Chad Billingsley throwing like he did last year, it could be a great season.
Recap: Torre is in town. And the Dodgers win the division in even years (lately), so maybe the stars are aligned this year. The Dodgers batting order is an NL version of the Yankees. Well, a lite version anyways. But think about it: Furcal, Kent, Loney, Jones, Kemp, Martin, Garciaparra, and Pierre. It may not be rock solid, but it’s got a lot of potential.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks Bob Melvin
2008 Picks: 82 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=2 (88); ESPN=1 ; TSN=1]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 8-1 Win W.S.: 18-1
2007 Record: 90-72
2006 Record: 76-86
2005 Record: 77-85
2004 Record: 51-111
2003 Record: 84-78
Key Players: Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Chris Young, Eric Byrnes.
What needs to go right: 1B Conor Jackson is an up-and-coming hitter. But the fact that he’s the D-Backs clean-up hitter shows how the line-up is all downhill from there. So there will be some pressure on young OF Justin Upton to deliver run production.
Recap: The magic number is 3. Arizona has 3 great starting pitchers (Webb, Haren, and The Unit). And the first 3 bats in the line-up (Young, Hudson, and Byrnes) are big too. The key to success depends on the other pieces– guys like SP Doug Davis or SP Micah Owings, Closer Brandon Lyon, and OF Justin Upton. If the D-Backs can get some spark from some of these names, they could land back in the playoffs.

5. San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy
2008 Picks: 73 wins [Lindy=5 ; SI=5 (68); ESPN=5 ; TSN=5]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 40-1 Win W.S.: 100-1
2007 Record: 71-91
2006 Record: 76-85
2005 Record: 75-87
2004 Record: 91-71
2003 Record: 100-61
Key Players: Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand.
What needs to go right: For starters, Barry Zito (read) needs to pitch like he gets paid ($126m over 7). Hope Aaron Rowand doesn’t turn out the same way.
Recap: The Giants are starting over without Barry Bonds. It’s a very fresh start, but the Giants can take 2 tracks at the same time. SF has a slew of veteran bats to rely on (from Molina to Vizquel, Roberts, and Aurilia) while they wait to see if young talent can deliver (OF Nate Schierholtz, 3B Kevin Frandsen, 1B Dan Ortmeier. The pitching is expected to be the glue holding this team from a worst-in-the-NL season.

National League Central

1. Chicago Cubs Lou Piniella
2008 Picks: 84 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=1 (91); ESPN=1 ; TSN=1]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 4-1 Win W.S.: 9-1
2007 Record: 85-77
2006 Record: 66-96
2005 Record: 79-83
2004 Record: 89-73
2003 Record: 88-74
Key Players: Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly.
What needs to go right: The Cubs have only 1 goal, until it’s accomplished. Waiting til next year no longer applies. Good for the Cubs they bounced back after a rough 3-year period in which they finished, on-average, 18 games behind 1st in the division every season. But winning the division isn’t enough. Ever since missing out (let there be no doubt that the whole downfall started because of Steve Bartman- just the facts) on the World Series in 2003, that’s the Cubs only goal– getting there, and winning it.
Recap: The Cubs are hoping for addition by subtraction. OF Jacque Jones, C Jason Kendall, and SP Mark Prior are gone. The sole replacement comes from Japan, OF Kosuke Fukudome– a career .300 hitting power hitter (career) that turns 31 in April. But looking this team over, sure its competitive– any team with Alfonso Soriano can’t help but be. However, even though the Cubs bought their way back into competing last year, there are a lot of things that would need to come together for this team to get to the World Series. Winning the division is a tough enough battle.

2. St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa
2008 Picks: 84 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=5 (73); ESPN=5 ; TSN=5]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 15-1 Win W.S.: 33-1
2007 Record: 78-84
2006 Record: 83-78
2005 Record: 100-62
2004 Record: 105-57
2003 Record: 85-77
Key Players: 1B Albert Pujols, SP Adam Wainright, SP Chris Carpenter (out until July), RP Jason Isringhausen.
What needs to go right: Health is the key factor here. The Cards need to watch the health of a slew of key superstars: SP Chris Carpenter, SP Mark Mulder, 3B Troy Glaus, and OF Chris Duncan. Without Carpenter until, most likely, at least July (12 months after his Tommy John surgery) the situation looks bleak.
Recap: The St. Louis franchise expects to win (6 playoff appearances in last 8 years, track record here)– even last year, despite just 78 wins the Cards finished only 7 games back. Yet, now, on one glance the Cards are starting to look like just a 1-man team. Granted if it’s just 1-man Albert Pujols (profile) is as good as you could get. But 1-man teams don’t win much in any sport, especially baseball. Will need folks like OF Chris Duncan to really step up, and for Troy Glaus (profile) to knock out 30 dings.

3. Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker
2008 Picks: 84 wins [Lindy=5 ; SI=2 (87); ESPN=3 ; TSN=4]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 25-1 Win W.S.: 60-1

2007 Record: 72-90
2006 Record: 80-82
2005 Record: 73-89
2004 Record: 76-86
2003 Record: 69-93
Key Players: Aaron Harang, Adam Dunn, Francisco Cordero, Brandon Phillips, Ken Griffey Jr.
What needs to go right: The Reds have a bunch of talent they can use right through the batting order: SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Jay Bruce, and 1B Joey Votto. None of them are directly bumped out of the line-up because Ken Griffey Jr is there. But could the team use Griffey best by trading him away for something (anything) that could plug more important holes on the team (such as SP #3, 4, or 5).
Recap: The Reds have 1 winning season this decade (2000). And unless they can find some pitching to go along with their ace SP Aaron Harang and their innings hog SP Bronson Arroyo, they probably won’t get it done this year. Up-and-comer SP Homer Bailey (game log) was a bit too inconsistent last September. But with a slew of strong arms in the bullpen, all this team needs to do every day is find a way to the 8th inning.

4. Houston Astros Cecil Cooper
2008 Picks: 83 wins [Lindy=3 ; SI=4 (74); ESPN=4 ; TSN=3]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 24-1 Win W.S.: 55-1
2007 Record: 73-89
2006 Record: 82-80
2005 Record: 89-73
2004 Record: 92-70
2003 Record: 87-75
Key Players: SP Roy Oswalt, 2B Kaz Matsui, 1B Lance Berkman, SS Miguel Tejada, RP Jose Valverde.
What needs to go right: SP Brandon Backe needs to continue his remarkable comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery by pitching like he did last September. And either SP Wandy Rodriguez (career) or SP Woody Williams (heck, both) need to reverse the losing seasons and notch more wins than defeats. In the batting order, the questions are whether acquired SS Miguel Tejada can bounce out of his (no more steroids?) slump; and, whether new leadoff hitter OF Michael Bourn can jump start the offence.
Recap: The Astros led the league in offseason changes. A lot of it centred around just getting rid of the RP Brad Lidge sagas– new RP Jose Valverde (who pitched lights out relief for the D-Backs last year, game log) will be counted on as the closer. Kaz Matsui steps in to replace retired 2B Craig Biggio.

5. Milwaukee Brewers Ned Yost
2008 Picks: 82 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=3 (85); ESPN=2 ; TSN=2]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 8-1 Win W.S.: 22-1
2007 Record: 83-79
2006 Record: 75-87
2005 Record: 81-81
2004 Record: 67-94
2003 Record: 68-94
Key Players: SP Ben Sheets, SP Yovani Gallardo, 1B Prince Fielder, 2B Rickie Weeks, OF Bill Hall, 3B Ryan Braun.
What needs to go right: Can new catcher Jason Kendall make the difference that can pull this pitching staff together. The Brewers arms have the potential to be one of the best staffs in baseball if they could all just put in good years at the same time. Exhibit A is the bullpen. Both RP Eric Gagne and RP Derrick Turnbow have shown all of baseball what they are capable of. But heading into the season it’s better to fear the worst and wish to trade both for 1 more stable, reliable arm. For a good year in Milwaukee, competition will have to turn out to be the best medicine.
Recap: Despite what seemed like a quantum leap in performance last season, the Brewers finished just 2 games over .500. The key to success this year will be improved pitching. The offence is similar to the Phillies with lots of good bats, including 1B Prince Fielder (50 HR’s), 3B Ryan Braun (34 HR’s). And OF Corey Hart and 2B Rickie Weeks should both be good for 20/20 this year.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates John Russell
2008 Picks: 76 wins [Lindy= 6; SI=6 (70); ESPN=6 ; TSN=6]
Vegas Odds to: Win N.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 150-1
2007 Record: 68-94
2006 Record: 67-95
2005 Record: 67-95
2004 Record: 72-89
2003 Record: 75-87
Key Players: Freddy Sanchez, Tom Gorzelanny.
What needs to go right: Like some other franchises (Tampa comes to mind), there doesn’t really have to be all that much go right. The Pirates haven’t won 80 games since 1992 (Barry Bonds). Winning anything around that amount of games will be a big enough accomplishment. Perhaps, what we will call a ‘feisty offence’ (with bats like Sanchez and Nady) spark a rebound?
Recap: The new manager, John Russell, was coaching the Phillies Triple-A farm team last year (bio here). And just when you might of thought the pitching staff was turning the corner, the Pirates send RP Salomon Torres away. Anyways, the SP is still stacked with reliable innings: Gorzelanny, Snell, Morris, Maholm, and Duke are reliable, if for nothing else, racking up innings. That type of stability will allow management to focus on fixing other areas of the team. This, as we are saying, ‘feisty’ team will likely turn up the win total a little bit this year.

2008 picks Sports projected 2008 wins are in bold
Lindy = Lindy’s Magazine
SI = Sports Illustrated Magazine (includes predicted win total in parenthesis)
ESPN = ESPN Magazine
TSN = The Sporting News Baseball Preview Magazine
* Lindy’s and TSN went to print before Mets signed Johan Santana
Vegas Odds = according to on 3/30/08.

Key Players are the best players on the team.

Thank you for visiting. Enjoy the season.


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