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MLB Off-Season Needs: NL Central

Harper

With the conclusion of the 2018 MLB season, the Game Haus will be taking a look at each MLB team and their needs for the next season. We will also be looking at how addressing these concerns could help in the near future.

Today, we will be looking at the teams in the NL Central.

Off-Season Needs: Cincinnati Reds

2018 Result: 67-95, 5th in NL Central
NL Central
(Photo Courtesy: WCPO)

The emergence of Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez helped keep the Reds from breaking triple-digit losses on the season. But they still finished their 2018 outing as the only team in the NL Central with a losing record. The first of many concerns with the Cincinnati Reds is the pitching crew. In 2018, The Reds’ pitcher roster finished 14th in the National League in ERA. They have also allowed more home runs than any and highest batting average in the NL. Cincinnati will need to beef up the rotation if they want to keep up with the rest of the NL Central. Relying on their offense to bail them out will not do them any favors moving forward. The Reds will enter next season with a new manager in David Bell. Hopefully, Bell can set a spark needed to get the Reds back to fighting form.

Off-Season Needs: Pittsburgh Pirates

2018 Result: 82-79, 4th in NL Central

Along with not having Andrew McCutchen on board, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a lot of work to do this off-season. They did not have a bad team, stats wise, or a bad season. But they did not have a phenomenal team either. Gregory Polanco, Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte showcased a fair amount of fireworks in 2018, but more offensive production will be needed to stay in the race for a very competitive division. Their pitching and fielding also run middle of the pack, stats wise. Overall, the Pirates will need more names to step up and create impacts to make Pittsburgh a force to be reckoned with.

Off-Season Needs: St. Louis Cardinals

2018 Result: 88-74, 3rd in NL Central
NL Central
John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports

As the old adage goes, “Defense wins Championships”. For the St. Louis Cardinals, their fielding will need a much-needed tune-up. In 2018, the Cards recorded the most errors in the majors, along with having baseball’s lowest fielding percentage. The only bright spot is the continuing brilliance of catcher, Yadier Molina. But Molina can’t play every position. The pitching roster for St. Louis performed solidly. But the defense has not done a lot of favors. Not to mention they won’t have Molina behind the plate forever. After all, the future Hall-of-Famer is 36 years old.

Off-Season Needs: Chicago Cubs

2018 Result: 95:68, 2nd in NL Central, Eliminated in NL Wild Card

What shocked many baseball fans this past season is the early exit of the Chicago Cubs. They played as a Wild Card team for the first time under manager Joe Maddon. The Cubs had one of the best offensive and pitching outings in the NL in 2018. The pitching staff will need a little work, though, with their ace Jon Lester in his mid-30s among other things. The biggest thing the Cubs need to do is keep Maddon at the helm. He led the ball club to unforeseen highs immediately. In time, he will pick up where he left off and lead Chicago to victory like before.

Off-Season Needs: Milwaukee Brewers

2018 Result: 96-67, 1st in NL Central, Eliminated in NLCS
NL Central
See the highlights from the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2011. Image Courtesy of The Big 1070 – iHeartRadio

Milwaukee fans have plenty to cheer about, even though they didn’t make it to the World Series. They took the NL Central after missing October the season before. But they DO have a few loose screws in need of tightening. For instance, their defense needs tending to, after committing 108 errors (3rd most in NL) and having a .982 fielding average (3rd lowest in NL). They may not have any Cy Young Awards contenders in their camp, but a polished defense could be major help down the line. This can also help take the Brewers even further into the Playoffs than this past season.

 

Featured image courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
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