For Starters: Rays At Twins, Looking To Archer For Help

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Projected Final Standings


RecordW +/-
Chicago Cubs90-72-5
St. Louis Cardinals88-74+0
Milwaukee Brewers83-79-13
Cincinnati Reds81-81+14
Pittsburgh Pirates75-87-7

2018 Standings: MIL, CHC, STL, PIT, CIN



A lot went wrong for the 

Chicago Cubs last year, and they still won 95 games.

Yes, it was a quiet offseason. The big additions will come from improved in-house production. Healthy seasons from Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish would go a long way, while a full season of Cole Hamels should help bring some stability to the back of the staff.

The fact that Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop are both headed for the injured list is a troubling turn of events for the relief corps. Steve Cishek has plenty of ninth-inning experience, though, and Carl Edwards Jr. can be electric.

Mired in a three-year postseason drought for the first time since 1999, the 

St. Louis Cardinals went out and acquired perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to bolster the offense.

The continued development of Jack Flaherty atop the rotation and a healthy Alex Reyes will be X-factors on the pitching side of things, while free-agent signing Andrew Miller is the key to the bullpen.

There's a ton of talent on this Cardinals roster. There are also some questions about how all the pieces fit together, though.

That brings us to the 

Milwaukee Brewers, the reigning NL Central champions.

They'll again ask the bullpen to shoulder the load after failing to add any impact starters while also losing Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley. The bullpen was up to the task last year, but that's a risky approach.

That inherent risk, coupled with a number of potentially unsustainable career years on the offensive side, could mean some slight regression. The addition of Yasmani Grandal has a chance to be huge, though, and the Brewers will still be right in the thick of things.


Cincinnati Reds took a surprisingly aggressive approach to the offseason by adding Alex Wood, Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray to the rotation, along with Yasiel Puig to the outfield. The impending debut of Nick Senzel will also make a major impact.

Will that be enough for them to avoid a fifth straight year at the bottom of the NL Central?


Pittsburgh Pirates swung deals to acquire Chris Archer and Keone Kela last summer with an eye on contending in 2019 and then sat on their hands during the offseason, settling for low-cost additions of Erik Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jordan Lyles and Francisco Liriano.

While that penny-pinching approach could land them in the cellar, the Pirates still have enough talent for a run at a wild-card spot.

Source :

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