Predictions for the 2019 Atlanta Braves season from the TomahawkTake staff

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees takes the field to start the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 3, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees takes the field to start the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 3, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Bravse Ozzie Albies Dansby Swanson
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – MARCH 13: Ozzie Albies #1 and Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves wait for a spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals to begin at Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 13, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Braves 8-4. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

National League East

I got my (weak) chart done for this group:

BRAVES 2 1 2 2 1
MARLINS 5 5 5 5 5
METS 4 4 4 4 4
1 3 1 1 3
PHILLIES 2 2 3 3 2

Yes – we have some ‘homers’ here (no big shock – I understand that; I respect that).  In truth, it’s reasonable to think that the Atlanta braves can repeat as division champs.

I… joined by Jake and Fred… expect that there will be a bit better play from the Nationals.  It should be a different feel, different attitude coming out of DC, and frankly, that concerns me.

Mostly it’s about the Nationals’ highly experienced and highly successful pitching staff.

There’s a chance for vulnerability in the bullpen, but while they aren’t the big game name guys (as noted, the Yankees got most of them), they should be adequate enough behind a heckuva rotation and an offense that generates speed.

A couple of us knocked them down to a 3rd place finish, but honestly it’s difficult for me to see anything out of the Top 2.

The Braves have an offense and they have arm talent, but this rotation just isn’t long on experience.  This is why I’ve been harping about getting Craig Kimbrel… though it’s he that needs to make the next move.

Beyond that, we aren’t sold on either the Mets or Phillies, with the Mets predicted for 4th place on every ballot.  We know what they’ve done, but it’s a work in progress for both teams.

Would we be surprised with results that could put any of the Top 4 in any of the Top 4 slots?  No… not really.  A lot happens during an MLB season.

The Marlins?  *sigh*

NL Central

Welcome to the other most competitive division in baseball.  What’s most interesting about our picks this year is this:  none of us think the Cubs are going to win it.

Oh, they’ll do okay (I picked them for second; so did Kyle), but we all believe that others will prevail.

3 of us (myself, Fred, and Clint) call this one for the Cardinals; the others went with Milwaukee.

In truth, I see the Cardinals as the most balanced, the Cubs are having something to prove, and the Brewers as trying to hang on – particularly with their pitching.  All of them have flaws, though, and that makes this an interesting and compelling race to watch.

Beyond that?  We have agreement:  Cincinnati 4th and the Pirates 5th.

We just don’t believe that the Pirates improved… at all, really… while the Reds scrambled and spent money to do just that.

Unfortunately for them, it’s more-or-less just window dressing.  They just don’t have a lot – certainly not enough to compete at the top of this division.

NL West

The Dodgers have won this division for the better part of this decade now, and most of us believe that will continue.

Except for me.

If there’s a NL surprise this year, I think it will be right here… and the Colorado Rockies could pull it off.

Well, it’s actually not really on their own merits exclusively, for I’m very concerned about the Dodger pitching.  If they break down much, they could have serious trouble patching together enough innings to keep afloat.

On top of that, there were times in which they were carried by Matt Kemp in the 1st half of 2018… and he’s not there.  That production has to be replaced and consistently so.  Ditto for the hitting of Yasmani Grandall.

As a result, there’s  more than a few dents in their armor, but not enough for the votes to go their way.

After that, we mostly go like this:

  • Rockies 2nd (all but me)
  • Padres 3rd (all but Clint)
  • DBacks 4th (all but Clint)
  • Giants 5th (all but Clint, who has them 3rd)

I don’t see the Giants making any big strides at all.  They are looking … old… and in need of a rebuild.  That could happen by midseason, and thus they could strip the cupboard bare.

At least Arizona still has a few pieces to work with.  San Diego needs pitching, but they are still a work in progress.

That’s a wrap of the majors… now let’s check the award winners.