2024 NL Central Preview: Jim Callis Talks Top Prospects for Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, Pirates

Jack Vita Show

08-04-2024 • 58 mins

Our MLB Preview Series rolls along on the Jack Vita Show, as MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis joins the program to break down the National League Central division!

Originally taped on Wednesday, March 20, before Opening Day, Jim and Jack put the NL Central under the microscope, leading off with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs impressed in 2023, compiling 83 wins and missing the playoffs by only a game. Over the winter, the club parted ways with manager and 2016 World Series hero David Ross, replacing him with Craig Counsell. Counsell signed the richest contract for a manager in baseball history. The Cubs also re-signed Cody Bellinger, added Japanese star pitcher Shota Imanaga, and traded for Los Angeles Dodgers top corner infield prospect Michael Busch. The Cubs have the second-best farm system entering the 2024 season, according to MLB Pipeline. The club hopes that its young players can continue to take steps forward and under a new manager, it will return to the postseason for the first time in a full, 162-game season since 2018. What is the outlook for the Cubs in 2024, and why is Jim so bullish on them?

Despite finishing in last place a season ago, the St. Louis Cardinals enter 2024 as favorites to win the NL Central. The club boasts of the highest over/under win total in most sportsbooks. Will the Cardinals jump from worst to first in 2024 and return to the top of the division?

The Milwaukee Brewers enter the season with the fourth-highest odds to win the division. Despite losing manager Craig Counsell and starting pitchers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee could have its best lineup of position players that it has had in years. The Brewers have reached the postseason in five of their last six seasons, winning the division three times during that stretch. Are they being slept on?

The Cincinnati Reds are the trendy pick in the NL Central. Will their young team exceed expectations?

Through the first month of the 2023 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the best record in the National League. The club ended up winning 76 games. Can the Pirates win the division in 2024?

Jim and Jack discuss how difficult the Central division is to forecast. There isn't a clear runaway favorite, but one could make a case for any of the five teams to finish atop the division. Jim also highlights the best prospects in the division, detailing which players fans should keep an eye that could potentially make a big impact at the Major League level in 2024.

Jim and Jack provide detailed outlooks and over/under win total projections for each team!

Chicago Cubs (0:00 - 14:25)

St. Louis Cardinals (14:25 - 20:40)

Milwaukee Brewers (20:40 - 29:30)

Cincinnati Reds (29:30 - 39:20)

Pittsburgh Pirates (39:20 - END)

You can follow Jim on Twitter (@jimcallisMLB) and catch all of his prospect analysis at MLB Pipeline!