Mar 29, 2014, 11:03AM

30 Baseball Questions for MLB’s 2014 Season: National League

If Andrew McCutchen played in NYC or L.A., would he be the face of baseball?

Andrew mccutchen.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

The National League is not the American League. Come October, I’d wager that only four or five of the top dozen major league teams will be from the senior circuit. It's not quite as lopsided as the NBA's conference disparity, but it's enough to make you wonder about future playoff formats. Let's take a closer look at the inferior NL.

NL East teams (listed in alphabetical order):

Atlanta Braves

  • In 10 years, will Braves closer Craig Kimbrel be known as the most dominant regular season closer (Mariano for the post-season) in the history of the baseball universe?
  • Will the Mendoza Line be renamed the B.J. line? (The Upton line sounds cleaner, but would be unfairly scathing to Justin.)
  • I hope former manager Bobby Cox and the always rocking pitching coach Leo Mazzone watch the games together... sitting in rocking chairs. This is not a question.

Miami Marlins

  • Will Giancarlo Stanton continue the name change pattern and become Giancarlo Esposito?
  • In what future season will Jose Fernandez and Andrew Heaney both receive Cy Young votes?
  • I wonder if Jeffrey Loria is considering moving the team to Cuba, so nobody else has to defect to play in the majors. This is not a question.

New York Mets

  • If a Mets batter strikes out at Citi Field this year, will anyone hear it?
  • How many promotional events will the Mets front office as Matt Harvey to do this year? (Answer: more than Tommy John's uniform number.)
  • Lucas Duda should marry a person with the last name "Day" so that he and/or his children might be called Duda-Day. This is not a question.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Where is Lenny Dykstra when you need him?
  • Where is Steve Carlton when you need him?
  • Jonathan Papelbon is there in Philly, even though this year, they won't need him very often. This is not a question.

Washington Nationals

  • What is Bryce Harper's age, in terms of emotional maturity? (Somewhere between 12 and 15?)
  • Will this be the year we get to see Stephen Strasburg pitch in October?
  • When the Nationals go by the nickname "Nats," they should be forced to add a "G" and be the Gnats. This is not a question.

Moving on to the NL Central:

Chicago Cubs

  • Is It 2017 yet?
  • If it isn’t (I believe it is 2014), will the Cubs lead the NL in home runs?
  • When Javier Baez and Kris Bryant make it up to the Windy City and take over the left side of the infield, the Cubs lineup will have some protection for first-baseman Anthony Rizzo. This is not a question.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Did Billy Hamilton ever run the 100-meter dash?
  • Has a hitter ever fully appreciated his time spent in the batter’s box more than Joey Votto does?
  • Joey Votto will take more than one pitch. This is not a question.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • The Brewers are honoring the history and accomplishments of Hispanics in baseball with “Cerveceros Night” again this year.
  • The Brewers are the only team in major league baseball without a Caucasian pitcher in their starting rotation. Kyle Lohse is one of the few Native American pitchers in the majors. Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, Marco Estrada, and Wily Peralta make up the rest of their mound men. With other stars like Jean Segura, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Gomez patrolling the field, it would make sense if the Brewers changed their name permanently to the Cerveceros, though I’m guessing this would be controversial. None of the above statements are questions.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • If Andrew McCutchen played in New York or Los Angeles, would he become the most popular player in all of baseball?
  • Is it possible for Francisco Liriano to remain “effectively wild” as they say, or will he turn back into the “ineffectively wild” pitcher he was for most of the last few years?
  • An outfield of McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco will cover every blade of green grass at PNC Park. This is not a question.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • If the All-Star Game had a catcher’s competition where a handful were asked to make several throws to each base, measured for speed and accuracy, would Yadier Molina win every time?
  • What do the equipment guys add to the Gatorade bucket that allows every one of their pitchers to throw over 95 miles per hour?
  • Extra Credit Question: Is Oscar Taveras here yet?
  • Mike Matheny has the same equally miserable and focused expression that Tony La Russa always wore on his face. This is not a question.

And the NL West:

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Who would win an arm wrestling competition between Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Davis?
  • Who would win a “Who Can Hit the Longest Home Run?” competition between Goldschmidt and Davis?
  • There hasn’t been a memorable major league pitcher named Archie in a very long time. Maybe ever. Archie Bradley is coming soon. This is not a question.

Colorado Rockies

  • If the Rockies operated like an NBA franchise, when would Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have been traded for draft picks?
  • If even Walt Weiss (eight of his 25 career homers came in one season with the Rockies) can hit a home run at Coors Field, how would the rest of us do in our attempts to clear the fences in Denver?
  • The Rockies have a 21 year-old shortstop prospect named Rosell Herrera, who might be vying for home run titles with Javier Baez in five years. I only know of Rosell because of my brother’s fantasy baseball league, which includes a minor league draft. These are not questions.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • If Yasiel Puig doesn’t sprint out of the batter’s box every time he hits the ball, will Americans lose their collective sanity?
  • Will the Dodgers be the first team to have an annual payroll of over one billion?
  • When Vin Scully retires, baseball should have a day of appreciation. This is not a question.

San Diego Padres

  • If the Padres can’t start putting together winning seasons, should the team relocate to Tijuana? The Tijuana Friars?
  • Is Andrew Cashner, who is starting to pitch like cash money, going to get any Cy Young votes this year?
  • San Diego is a city in California where it usually rains twice each year. When I visited San Diego with my wife several years ago, it rained three out of the four days we were there.

San Francisco Giants

  • Are Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval the two most unpredictable performers in the majors?
  • Is it possible for such bitingly cold wind as the kind that exists at AT&T Park (and the old Candlestick) to literally blow down a stadium?
  • I have a t-shirt that has a Giant Panda on the front. He is wearing a Giants jersey. On the back of the actual shirt is the name “Pandoval.” I hope he puts it all together this year. We shall see.

—Jonah Hall writes at www.darkoindex.com. On Twitter: @darkoindex


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