NL Takeaways at the Break

It’s been an exciting first half of the MLB season in the National League. Let’s take a closer look by division.

NL East

Oh the NL East, how I could write about you for days. We’ve currently got the Nationals sitting on top of this division by 6 games; then we have a two-way tie for second with my Mets and the Marlins, who have both been exciting to watch this year. If I were to pick a second favorite team in baseball it would be the Marlins. They have some great young outfielders to keep an eye on in Christian Yelich (24), Marcell Ozuna (25), oh and Giancarlo Stanton (26). Don’t forget about that one savvy outfield veteran they have who continues to hit even at 42 years old – Ichiro is batting .335 with 55 hits.

They have an incredible arm heading the staff in Jose Fernandez, and the Marlins are a team name you are going to hear in playoff talk as the season goes on. If you get a chance to watch the Marlins play especially when Jose is pitching I advise you sit down and watch because this team is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals are led by Daniel Murphy hitting .348 and the pitching staff is being dominated by Strasburg and Scherzer. You can count out the Phillies and the Braves in the playoff hunt, which was expected before the season began – these teams are in the rebuilding process. The Mets have the 5th most home runs in all of baseball this season as well as the 3rd lowest ERA for pitchers. Look for them to continue this throughout the rest of the season and make a strong push for the playoffs.

NL Central

This could easily be the wackiest division in baseball. A division where last season the third-place Cubs would have won any other division in Major League Baseball with a 97-65 record; talk about some competitiveness. The Cubs currently sit atop the division with a 7 game lead over the Cardinals. Don’t forget about the Pirates though: they’ve won 8 of their last 10 heading into the All Star break and it looks like they are finally hitting their stride again. If the Cubs want to stay on top here look for Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to continue putting on an offensive clinic. Combined, the two have 45 home runs, 128 RBIs, 127 runs scored and just a combined age of 50. I can’t forget to mention the Cardinals, who have claimed this division 9 times since 2000 by staying true to their formula of using consistently good pitching to win. Watching this division down the stretch has the potential to be a historical finish.

NL West

Another year of watching the Giants dominate. They have a 6.5 game hold on the division at the break. Everyone thought that with huge pickups of Shelby Miller and Zach Greinke, the Diamondbacks would really have a chance at the division. Well Greinke has found his stride, but Shelby isn’t quite there. One thing about this Diamondbacks team I love, though, is Paul Goldschmidt; he was a steal in the 8th round of the 2009 draft. Goldschmidt could be one of the best hitters currently in baseball…it’s unfortunate that his talent might go to waste here in Arizona. Dodgers still have Kershaw being Kershaw, but I don’t think they can take the division from the hot Giants.

By: Zach Miller

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