Adam Wainwright Injured: Who Is Now the Favorite in the NL Central?

Trevor Lowry@@TheTrevorLowryContributor IFebruary 24, 2011

Adam Wainwright Injured: Who Is Now the Favorite in the NL Central?

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    With Adam Wainwright going down, the St. Louis Cardinals are no longer the favorite in the National League Central Division.

    Wainwright has made a Cy Young case in his last two seasons, with a combined 39 wins. 

    Without Adam, the Cardinals' team is just not the same. 

    With this said, there is a new favorite team to win the NL Central. This team is the Chicago Cubs.

    Before anyone starts questioning the Cubs right off the bat, listen to what they have going for them in the 2011 season. 

Amazing Pitching Rotation

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    The Chicago Cubs have a very solid pitching rotation in Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Randy Wells, and Carlos Silva. 

    Although Zambrano had an up and down season last year, he finished really strong and looked like the Cubs' ace, going 8-0 down the stretch.

    If Zambrano can stay consistent next year, he will not only be the best pitcher on the Cubs, but he will also be in the running for the Cy Young Award. 

    With the addition of Garza, the Cub's rotation matches up with anyone in the division. 

Complete Outfield

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    The Cubs not only have three quality outfielders, but they have four. Of course, Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd will get starting positions, but the third outfielder is a battle between Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukedome.

    All four of these players are really good batters, so it is going to be interesting to see what the Cubs do with all of them.

    Needless to say, the Cubs should have no problem in the outfield. 

Solid Bullpen

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    With Kerry Wood rejoining the team, the Cubs' bullpen is looking very strong. The hard-throwing Carlos Marmol will be back, along with Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner. 

    When needed, the Cubs' bullpen will have no problem shutting batters down. 

    These four guys will be nightmares for batters in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Power Hitters

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    The Chicago Cubs have a lot of power in their lineup in Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Pena and Geovany Soto. 

    All four of these players are capable of hitting the long ball off of any pitcher in the league.

    If Soriano plays to his potential, he and the Chicago Cubs are going to be a very dangerous ball club. 

    Look for these four players to have 20+ home run seasons. If healthy Ramirez, Pena and Soriano could very well have 30+ home run seasons. 

    LF Tyler Colvin, can also hit the long ball. He had 20 home runs in his rookie season last year. 

New Coach

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    Mike Quade is going to be coaching his first season as a major league manager, although he did take over for the team last season in late August.

    During Quade's short time as an interim coach, he had a 24-13 record. This was the second-best record in the league during that span.

    With a new coach and a really good pitching staff, the Cubs are going to surprise a lot of people in 2011.

    Wainwright getting injured is a big blow to the Cardinals. With this said, the Chicago Cubs are the favorite to win the NL Central.