2021 MLB Bold Predictions: NL Central


(Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

By: Evan Brown


Chicago Cubs: Kyle Hendricks Dealt for Pitching Prospects


Chicago has decided that they cannot compete this year with their counterparts, the White Sox, and have had many rumors swirling around this offseason. It seems the Cubs are blowing up their rotation and starting from scratch after losing Yu Darvish and Jon Lester and now listening to offers for Kyle Hendricks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dealt at the deadline for some much-needed pitching depth and potential from a team who could use another starter to solidify their competitive position. (Jays, Astros, Phillies, etc.)


Cincinnati Reds: Votto Comes Home


Joey Votto will turn 38 at the end of this season and still has some pop in his bat. As a strong-hitting lefty first baseman who has shown stellar defense over the years, he still has a lot left to give. Born in Toronto, Votto has spent his entire career in Cincy and it's time to come home. Around the deadline when the Jays need a boost of left-handed hitting and the Reds look to be out of the race, the deal will happen. Vladdy will go back to third, and Votto can not only play for his hometown team but mentor the young core of this Jays team.


Milwaukee Brewers: Yelich has Another Disappointing Season


2020 was not a great year for Christian Yelich. The former MVP only batted a measly .208 in 58 games with 78 strikeouts and only 22 RBIs, much to the dislike of fantasy owners (sadly like myself). Over a 162-game season, Yelich would've been on pace for 212 strikeouts, more than 70 above his career-high. Ironically, this terrible year came just after signing an expensive 9-year deal with Milwaukee. While most people think he will surely have a bounceback season, I think otherwise as his strikeout rate and how far his average fell, causes me to believe he will need another year to potentially get back to his all-star status.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Less than .275 win % (Less than 45 wins)


The Pittsburgh Pirates have very few things going for them this season. They were sellers in the offseason and will continue to sell the rest of this season leading to the prediction that this team will have one of the worst seasons of all-time. With minimal pitching and hitting, the one bright spot this year for Pirates fans will be Ke’Bryan Hayes, their young, top-prospect third baseman. However, since there are no standout players on this team and Ke’Bryan Hayes can only do so much, this Pirates team is bound to have less than 45 wins.


St. Louis Cardinals: Take Control of the Depleted Division


Probably the second biggest trade of the offseason after the Francisco Lindor trade was Nolan Arenado going to the Cardinals. Led by Arenado, a solid veteran leadership group including the re-signed Yadier Molina, and Jack Flaherty leading the charge for the pitching staff, this Cardinals team is going to take over this division. Between the depleted Cubs, Bauer-less Reds, a struggling Yelich for the Brew Crew, and the Pirates being… The Pirates, this is the year the Cardinals take top spot in the division and try their hand at the playoffs.