Double Play time between Mark Hock and Bryan Lutz. Today we will debate over whether the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the division, who the best player not named Josh Hamilton is, and who will win the NL Central.
Will the Los Angeles Dodgers win the NL West?
MH: Let me start off by saying I don’t think the Los Angeles Dodgers are the best team in baseball. They have the best record, but I don’t think they’ll end up with the best winning percentage by the end of the season.
But the NL West is so bad, that it’s going to be tough for anybody else to compete. The San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies aren’t a threat. The only team that stands a chance is the San Francisco Giants, and without ace Tim Lincecum pitching at a Cy Young level it’ll be tough for them to catch the Dodgers. Especially when 1/3 of the season is done, and the Giants trail by 7.5 games.
BL: The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in the National League. That’s wonderful. It helps that literally half their team is over-performing. There is no doubt in my mind that the Dodgers will have a couple of teen-loss months soon, considering the baseball gods will push them back down to earth. And for that reason, I’m sticking with my pre-season pick, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
How about the season by Joey Votto? The former MVP is hitting 325 with 8 homers and 29 RBI. While the home run totals might not blow you away, Votto is crushing the ball all over the place, as he’s already mashed 21 doubles. He’s on pace for 62, which is even more impressive given that he ended last season with 40. He’s a gold glove calibre defender at first, and he’s been one of the best hitters in the National League.
BL: Yes, Josh Hamilton is otherworldly right now, but Paul Konerko isn’t too far behind. Konerko has a slash line of .395/.471/.671/1.142, a wOBA of .483, and a RC+ of 210. His RC+ is actually two points higher than the almighty Josh Hamilton. Obviously, Konerko will come down to earth in some capacity. But if you watch him hit every day, you will realize exactly how good of a pure hitter Konerko has turned into.
Who will win the NL Central?
MH: The St. Louis Cardinals looked like one of the best teams in baseball earlier in the season. But I think the true champs of the NL Central will be the Cincinnati Reds. They’ve got a well balanced team, a lineup anchored by superstar Joey Votto, and an ace reliever in Aroldis Chapman to close things out. Most of the Cardinals are playing over their heads right now, and I’d bet on the Reds winning the division.
BL: The NL Central should be one of the more interesting races during the summer. The two teams that stand out from the rest of the crop are the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, and I’m sticking with the World Series champions to hold on to the NL Central title.