Sports Illustrated Picks Reds to Win NL Central; And Guess Who's on the Cover?
As for the NL Central, the magazine gives the nod to the Cincinnati Reds. "The division crown is Cincinnati's for the taking," writes SI's Matt Gagne, who goes on to note that the Reds arguably have the most formidable pitching staff in the division with the acquisition of Mat Latos in the offseason and a healthy return of ace Johnny Cueto. The Reds also scored the second-most runs in the National League last year and belted the second-most homers in the league. So, yeah, they've got firepower.
As for the Cardinals...
SI predicts the Redbirds coming in a close second to Cincy (with a record of 87-75) but sees the gap left in Pujols' departure as too great for repeat as a playoff team this year -- even with an expanded wild-card team this season.
The magazine speculates that the Milwuakee Brewers will be the only other .500-plus team in the division, with the Pirates, Cubs and Astros all posting losing records -- again.