Predicted Standings (postseason team(s) in bold)
1. Cincinnati Reds (94-68)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)
3. Milwaukee Brewers (83-79)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (77-85)
5. Chicago Cubs (67-95)
The Reds entered the offseason with a roster that was nearly complete, and after re-signing Ryan Ludwick and Jonathan Broxton, they filled their biggest need in landing a center fielder and high on-base percentage leadoff hitter in Shin-Soo Choo.
While I certainly wouldn't bet against them making another late-season push and earning a wild-card spot, I have the Cardinals missing the postseason by one game. All the pieces are still there for them to contend.
The highest-scoring offense in the NL last season was the Brewers, and they return all of the critical pieces from last year's lineup. If their young starting pitchers behind Yovani Gallardo can step up, they could surprise.
The Pirates have been on the fringe of breaking through with a winning season the last two seasons, and while they have improved their staff and added Russell Martin they'll still be hard-pressed to break through and hit the 82-win mark.
The additions of Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson will make the Cubs a bit more watchable this coming year, but with the Astros gone last-place is theirs for the taking.