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1. Cincinnati Reds
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Houston Astros
Picking the Reds may be a surprise, but they have a deep rotation as well as solid offense with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce. With the other teams in the division slightly depleted, this may be an opportunity for Cincinnati to have another year like 2010.
The defending champs are in a peculiar situation. They lost Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright is back, Chris Carpenter starts the year on the DL, Tony LaRussa is gone, and Carlos Beltran has been signed. A lot of questions surround this team, but they still have enough talent to pose a threat to other National League teams.
Without Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun does not have a lot of protection. Without steroids, Ryan Braun may not be as good of a hitter as we thought he was. If he didn't take steroids, the extra attention may affect him in a negative way. It will be interesting to see how everything goes down in Milwaukee.
Pittsburgh showed us some promise through early July...then they returned to the Pirates that we know. However, they may have some confidence now to go along with a not-so-miserable looking roster.
Rebuilding continues for the Cubs, but with Theo Epstein at the helm, success may not be so far away.
The Astros are rebuilding. It would be a surprise to see them win more than 65 games this year.