This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
Last week we looked at the AL East, and for the next four weeks I'll continue to throw out some names for your consideration, covering one division each week. When the dust settles, we should be looking at Opening Day and hopefully have a value-laden pitching staff heading into the 2018 season. We're halfway home, so let's look at the:
National League Central
Chicago Cubs – With the recent signing of Yu Darvish, the Cubs may have one of the more "set" rotations in the National League. Darvish steps in as a true No. 1, and while he had a respectable season last year, I actually expect better in 2018. He has a pretty amazing repertoire, and while his command wasn't as sharp last year, I think it will be better. The next three – Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana – are viable rotation guys, not aces, but they can be productive pitching in front of that explosive lineup. Lester still makes me crazy with his refusal to throw over and hold runners (yet he has remained viable), and Quintana wasn't as successful as I expected, but I think they'll be reliable in 2018. That said, my biggest concern again would be Hendricks. Extreme soft-tossers tend to be vulnerable because they don't have the raw stuff to overcome mistakes. If he gets just slightly out of synch, things can get difficult, but he has proven he can spot his pitches consistently. They also signed righty Tyler