This is the National League sequel to yesterday’s American League predictions and Power Rankings; basically, the Danny Glover to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Predator series.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies continue to hit a lot of home runs, play sound defense and get quality starts from their whole rotation, only to see it all blow up in their face by the miswired pipe bomb that is Brad Lidge.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Manny Ramirez sneak out of their bunks one night before the big Dodgers vs. Angels series to steal the Halo’s good luck charm, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. After discovering JGL is 29 and an actor, the four kidnappers spend a night in jail and get swept in the series.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
Realizing he can’t control everything/one around him, new hitting coach Mark McGwire throws a temper tantrum before learning a valuable lesson in what it means to be an adult after a non-sequitur song-and-dance routine with Cloris Leachman. Oops, that’s the plot to every Will Ferrell movie.
4. San Francisco Giants
The Giants pitching staff continues to improve into one of the best in the MLB, thanks to a staff-wide imitation of ace Tim Lincecum’s rest-day regimen, highlighted by a third day ritual of brownies, heavy metal, Taco Bell and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In that order.
5. Colorado Rockies
Led by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and an emerging pitching staff unfazed by the high altitude, the Rockies probably will stay in contention throughout the entire season in one of the toughest divisions in the MLB.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
In an attempt to curb the boos directed at him by Brewer fans, Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at every Miller Park night game. Strangely, Hart turns in an improved season and sparks a debate over the cause of his success: the sunglasses or the fact that he started trying.
7. Chicago Cubs
Lou Piniella takes two weeks, three days and 12 hours to reach the mound to remove Carlos Zambrano in the fourth inning of a game. The Cubs tally a 10-4 record in that span without Lou, offering further proof that Piniella was a managerial failure in Chicago.
8. Florida Marlins
To try and bring back the magic of the 1997 and 2003 seasons, the Marlins sign, among others, Terry Pendleton, Bobby Bonilla, Jeff Conine, Livan Hernandez, Alex Fernandez and Ugeth Urbina, who is the only one unavailable for a reunion.
9. New York Mets
David Wright becomes the first everyday player to wear the new Rawlings helmet with dignity, and takes on the nickname “Bobblehead.” This proves to be a thankful distraction from the failures of Mets management and its overpaid and overworked roster.
10. Atlanta Braves
Bobby Cox is continually honored throughout his final season as the Braves manager for winning one title in 25 years and retiring five years too late. The team rewards him with this validation by finishing below .500 for the third time in five years.
11. Cincinnati Reds
After not fielding a winning team since 2004, Dusty Baker continues to receive praise as a quality manager worthy of a job. The Reds prove to be no different in 2010, as they improve their record on the backs of a young pitching core and developing hitters, not Baker’s managerial skills.
The Nationals continue their “Lord of the Rings” trek towards the .500 mark, while Adam Dunn continues to tick me off with his choice of either striking out or bombing a 450-foot home run in every at-bat.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb makes me look smart for drafting him as one of my last fantasy baseball picks by revealing he faked his arm injury so he didn’t have to play with the mentally unstable Eric Byrnes.
14. Houston Astros
Hunter Pence adds a new dimension to his versatile game by burrowing a network of tunnels to various points in the Minute Maid Park field and subsequently surprising opposing base runners by popping out in their running lanes.
15. San Diego Padres
Despite declining statistics and range brought on by aging combined with a lack of natural talent, David Eckstein is praised by every broadcaster for being a “scrappy grinder who hustles out every pop up, ground ball and walk.”
16. Pittsburgh Pirates
In an effort to bring more fans to beautiful PNC Park, the Pirates hold a fan referendum on which Pittsburgh-area celebrity should become the team’s next manager. Thanks to a late surge in voting, Bret Michaels wins the election over Christina Aguilera, Charles Grodin and Jeff Goldblum.
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