With less than a week to go before Opening Day all the picks for WorldSeries champs are starting to trickle in and many people are picking the Washington Nationals. Four out of seven SI writers picked the Nats to win it all, five out of seven the NL, seven out of seven the NL East, and several of the same writers picked Harper to be MVP and/or Strasburg to win the Cy Young. The 2013 Washington Nationals are what you would call the best team on paper. The question here is which team has the next best chance at being the best team in the NL, and the answer is not what many may expect, the Cincinnati Reds.
While the Atlanta Braves arguably made the flashiest move of the off-season in acquiring Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks after adding his brother BJ; they also lost a lot of talent with Chipper Jones retiring, Michael Bourn leaving via free agency, and the inclusion of Martin Prado in the Justin Upton deal. In total the Braves lost 15.3 fWAR from their 94 win 2012 roster. The acquisitions of the two Uptons, increased playing time of Medlen and Simmons, and Maholm and Teheran instead of Hanson and Jurrjens is nothing more than treading water. There was one team a lot closer in 2012 to the 98 win Washington Nationals in the NL than the Atlanta Braves and that team, the 97 win Cincinnati Reds, didn't lose much and arguably gained more.Read More