NL Central preview: What the 'experts' think -

NL Central preview: What the 'experts' think

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By Sarah Glenn By Sarah Glenn

With the Cardinals opening up its 2012 campaign against the Marlins on Wednesday, it's time to take a look at where the so-called "experts" think the Red Birds will finish in the standings this year.

We at checked out several major media outlets to get a feel for how the Cardinals are perceived nationally. Here's a few of the more prominent media predictions:

- Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown thinks the National Central division is going to be a tight one, but gave the edge to the Brewers, despite the loss of All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder to the Detroit Tigers. Brown said the loss of Pujols will be just enough to give the Brewers the division.

- Baseball America thinks the acquisition of pitcher Mat Latos will give the Reds enough of a boost to take the NL Central this year. The national publication says the return of Adam Wainwright will be a huge addition to the Cards, but the loss of Pujols will be too much to overcome in the division.

- ESPN thinks the division is going to be a three-way race, but has both the Reds and Brewers finishing ahead of the Cardinals. Like Baseball America, the "Worldwide Leader" thinks the addition of Latos will be enough to put the Reds over the top.

- Sports Illustrated's lead baseball man Tom Verducci has joined Baseball America and ESPN in jumping on the Reds bandwagon. Verducci says the Cardinals should still compete for the division title, but thinks the Reds' addition of Latos and relief pitcher Sean Marshall will be enough to give them the crown.

- CBS Sports did their predictions a little bit different and gave percentages for the chances each team has of winning the NL Central. In going with the theme of a tight race, CBS said the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers each have a 30-percent shot at wearing the division crown.

These are just a few of the multitude of predictions sweeping the web right now, but we can see most media outlets think the NL Central is going to go down to the wire.

Only time will tell.


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