- Florida (90-72; 2nd; WC)
Key Additions: C Daric Duvall, P Jack Burgess, LF Phillip Sheldon, 2B Enos Bailey, P Rick Fisher
Key Losses: P Alfredo Guapo, C Jhonny Ontiveros, LF J.R. Palmer, P Clyde Becker
Outlook: Florida returns their top 5 HR hitters to an offense that was in the middle of the pack last season in runs scored, while adding a dangerous hitter in Duvall to take over the backup catching duties. They lost 2 relievers from last season’s top 5 staff, but got another starter and reliever in place of them.
- Houston (72-90; 4th)
Key Additions: C Max Palacios, C Houston Butler, LF Merv Dorsey
Key Losses: P Ben Wooten, P Al Nichtin, C J.J. Gibson, CF Victor Martin, P Samuel Duran, SS Max Berroa
Outlook: Houston had one of the worst pitching staffs in the NL and a mediocre offense. The look to improve upon both of those this season by adding some offense in Palacios and Dorsey, and hoping that their pitchers have improved
drichar138 says: We are hoping to make a stride toward .500 after finishing last season with 72 wins. We’ve made key additions to our offense by trading for Merv Dorsey and signing free agent Max Palacios. In addition, we have a small group of talented young pitchers that we hope can get us in position to compete for a wild card spot.
- Atlanta (93-69; 1st)
Key Additions: LF Giomar Peron, 1B Jackie ReithPromotions: P Marty Minor, P Alex Diaz, P Phillip Gordon, SS Troy Knight, P Felix Hamels
Key Losses: Traded P Steve Hines, P Derek Golub, RF Felix Donatello, P Steve McConnell, Lost to FA P Ramon Aoki
Outlook: kilgore turned over 1/3 of this division winner’s roster going into this season, gone are the top run scorer and hitter, as well as a combined 184.1 IP from the bullpen, and 134.2 from the rotation. The offense was a top 5 offense and pitching was top 5 as well. It’s obvious to me that these moves were made with a mind on keeping the title in Atlanta.
- St. Louis (76-86, 3rd)
Key Additions: P Dan Park
Key Losses: 2B J.J. Sherman
Outlook: Despite being in the bottom 5 of the NL for runs scored, St. Louis stayed pat with their only offensive move being a trade of J.J. Sherman to Milwaukee. They did go out and sign one of the top 5 free agent starting pitchers, so that should make their pitching staff that much deeper, which finished 6 in the NL last season. They run a lot, which is good since their team is nearly devoid of power.
hurricane384’s take: Florida is my pick to win this division. I feel that their additions truly complement the team that was already in place. I feel Houston is the next best team. They have a strong pitching staff and made a couple moves to improve their offense. Atlanta falls back a little bit. I believe that the turnover they experienced may not be enough to stay at the top of the pack here. St. Louis comes in 4th based on the fact that I don’t see their offense improving much, if at all, even though their pitching will be as tough as ever. In all the teams at the bottom closed the gap, so this should be a fun division to watch.