The NL Central will lack a true competitor for the crown
In order to be the best team in the league, you must be the best team in your own division. Winning your division gives you a great advantage when heading into the postseason, especially now that the playoffs have expanded.
In 2022, the NL Central has been the weakest division in all of of baseball, but with three of the five clubs in rebuilding move, records for some of those clubs may improve next season. The bigger piece of this puzzle will be the continued decline of the Milwaukee Brewers.
St. Louis has been in a fight with Milwaukee for the NL Central title since 2018, with the Chicago Cubs fading from contention in 2021. The Brewers have been difficult to beat during this run, but the cracks in their club can be seen in 2022 and the club has likely already hit their peak with their current core.
Milwaukee does not have a strong farm system to make moves or infuse young talent, as Fangraphs recently ranked their system at 26th in all of baseball, by far the worst in the NL Central. The club also is not a huge spender, as evidence of the rumors of a Josh Hader trade in recent seasons and their ranking of the 19th highest payroll in baseball. With the club needing a revamp, the potential improvements appear bleak for the Brew Crew.
As for the rest of the division, the Cincinnati Reds are in the beginning stages of their rebuild, and will likely be bottoming out during the 2023 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs have the 2nd and 6th ranked farm systems according to Fangraphs, but will not be serious contenders in 2023.
The decline of the only true contender in the division in Milwaukee and the continued rebuilds of the Cubs, Pirates, and Reds gives a clear path to St. Louis to win the division, and potentially even have the best record in the National League.