There are 16 teams in the National League. Of those 16 teams, 4 teams will make the playoffs. 12 will be left out. There are a few teams in the NL that have just about no chance of making the playoffs. Those teams are:
Washington Nationals- Have a decent hitting team but do not come close to matching the Phils or Mets. The pitching rotation is defenitely not capable of giving the Nats a .500 or better season. They will be lucky to get 65 wins this year. Last place finish for sure.
Cincinnati Reds- The Reds are a young team that in a couple years will be a threat but in '09 don't expect them to go far. Upcoming players on the Reds like Volquez, Cueto, and Bruce need at least another year to develope. They will be one of the top teams in the N.L. in two or three years.
Pittsburgh Pirates- Obviously, they got no chance. This team should be last in there division for many years to come.
San Francisco Giants- This team has some very good young pitchers, but don't have the hitting this year to make the playoffs. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain should keep the Giants looking respectable but nothing better. If the Big Unit and Barry Zito pitch well they might have a chance at .500 season but I don't expect that to happen.
San Diego Padres- After Peavy and Young they got nobody. They are in deep trouble in the 3-5 spots in the rotation. There hitting isn't that good either. It could be mid-season departure for Peavy since the Padres are likely to be out of the race. Expect a last place finish fom this team.
There are 5 teams that, will most likely not appear in the playoffs unless they pull off a miracle. There are 10 more teams that have a chance but some are borderline, good/bad. Here are those teams:
Florida Marlins- This team has the potential to win it all in a couple years but right now they are too young to do much. They have a chance to be close in the N.L. East but I think will fall behind due to their lack of experience. Hanley Ramirez could be a candidate for the MVP award. There two top pitchers, Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson, should have very good years. But they will not top the Mets or Phils in a tough N.L. East.
Colorado Rockies- They have a decent team but are not good enough to be a real contender. It will help that there in a weak division but not enough. There rotation does not have a true ace and the offense isn't too great. Also, they have a pretty risky closer in Huston Street.
Milwaukee Brewers- This is a hard team to put here. They have a chance of making the playoffs but I doubt they will finish on top of the Cubs. The losses of Sabathia and Sheets will cost them. They have some very good young pitching. Yovani Gallardo will be an ace in a year or two. Look out for this team in a couple of years!!!!
Houston Astros- The Astros will be a good team this year but not as good as the Cubs. Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, and Miguel Tejada are three strong hitters in the middle of their lineup. Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn should only improve. The back end of the rotation is very weak. Roy Oswalt is a great pitcher but Idon't think he'll do enough to make the Astros a playoff team.
Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers are the best of these middle of the pack teams. The pitching after the Kuroda goes way down hill. And now with Kuroda hurt they are in some trouble. Also there top two pitchers are very young. There batting is good but I don't think the pitching will be enough to hold them up. They will finish second in a very weak division.
There are 6 teams left they are the Mets, Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Cubs. Three from the east, two from the central, and one from the west. Two of these six teams will not make the playoffs. The two that I don't think will make the playoffs are the:
Atlanta Braves- They are a very underrated team. The first three spots of the rotation are very good and if the Japanese pitcher they got turns out to be good, they can be a threat to the Phils and Mets. The hitting is great as well. The new kid Schafer looks he is in for a good career. The success of these Braves rests in the hands of Chipper Jones. If he can stay healthy they can make a push but if not they will end up 3rd or 4th in the east. They could be in playoff talks come September.
St. Lois Cardinals- A good team and if everyone comes back healthy they might make a good fight at the central division. The rotation will be good, especially if Carpentar comes back at full strength. He looked very good in his first start. With Albert Pujols in the middle of that lineup the Cubs will have a challenge.
So the four playoff teams are:
NL East Champs for the third year in a row the Philadelphia Phillies- World Champions!!! Great hitting and the pitching has been sub-par so far. I think Myers will come back strong. Moyer looked weak in his first start but he should be fine since his game doesn't rally matter about how old or how fast you throw it. They got Rollins and Howard two former MVP's and Utley a future MVP. Not to mention they got Lidge to shut everyone down in the ninth.
NL Cental Champs the Chicago Cubs- Strong all around. Soriano, Ramirez, Lee all can hit. The rotation is strong with Carlos Zambrano leading the way. If Rich Harden can stay healthy they will be in good shape. They will give the Phils a run for their money in the playoffs.
NL West Champs the Arizona Diamondbacks- Kind of by default. The rest of the division is terrible. I can't see them beating the Phillies in the playoffs but who know with Brandon Webb leading the rotation.
Wild Card the New York Mets- I hate to say it but I think the Mets will make the playoffs. They will still to choke to the Phils but will find themselves in October baseball. They have excellent hitting but the starting rotation is kind of spotty. The division will go down to the last few days again.