The Astros eked out another division title on the last weekend of the season and will probably be in for another very close race this year. They lost one of their most productive hitters to a division rival but have plenty of depth from the farm. The real question is can their young starting pitching continue to perform at such a high level. The Cardinals have quality depth in the rotation and on offense, but they still have several holes and no one on the farm to address them. The Cubs have upgraded their offense and bullpen, and will continue to do so all season with quality players from their farm. Once Mark Prior arrives, they could have potentially the most dominating starting staff in the NL. Only one thing really stands in their way of a division title and a run for the World Championship: their manager, Don Baylor. The Reds are going to put a very potent offense on the field. Too bad they only have enough pitching to keep them out of the cellar. The Brewers have a nice young starting staff developing and only need some consistency from their offense to move up among the contenders. The Pirates are starting from scratch, but thanks to several trades with the White Sox they have the foundation for a nice pitching staff. If they could only kick the habit of acquiring players who don't get on base, they could move very quickly up the ladder.
St. Louis Cardinals