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Matchups, best bets for the National League side of the MLB Dream Bracket

MLB and DraftKings are partnering for a simulation of the best baseball players for all 30 franchises and two additional teams in a bracket-style tournament

A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Today the Senior Circuit takes to the virtual field in MLB Dream Bracket Presented by DraftKings, where 32 all-time Major League Baseball teams will face off inside a computer simulation to determine a winner in a bracket-style tournament. This 16-team side bracket consists of the 15 National League franchises as well as a current 25-and-under MLB team, who will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round.

The tournament will be run using Out Of The Park Baseball 21, a simulation engine powered by advanced statistics, ratings, and a complete database of players going back to 1871. Each matchup will be a best-of-seven series between the teams until we get down to two final clubs to determine a winner for it all.

The entire first round of the NL is played today, and you can enter here to win up to $500 via a free entry at DraftKings! You’ll need to correctly pick the eight National League matchups as well as three other questions at a rate better than your opponents to take home the win.

Here are today’s matchups, and you can see the entire roster for all of today’s teams here. Here’s a few of our best bets for today’s action!

Philadelphia Phillies vs. 25-and-Under Team

With no offense to some terrific young stars in baseball such as Ronald Acuña Jr, Cody Bellinger, and Shohei Ohtani, this shouldn’t be close. The Fightin’ Phils are one of the most stacked rosters, with Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, and Roy Halladay on the hill, with Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and many more.

The simulation should weight towards the longer-term talent of the Phils here, who had some seriously high ceilings in their history. We’ll take the red pinstripes to win in four or five games.

Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves

The Fish have only been around since 1993, but some high ceiling players have passed through South Florida. Their loaded rotation includes Josh Johnson, the late Jose Fernandez, Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, and many more. Plus in the field there’s MVP’s such as Gary Sheffield, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and plenty of field talent too.

But we’ll take the Braves here, who claim their heritage going back to Milwaukee. Obviously one of the best rotations in Warren Spahn, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine, Javy Lopez behind the plate, and an outfield of Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and some guy named Hank Aaron in right?

Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

The Cubs might be lovable losers, but they’ve been that way since the turn of the last century, and plenty of amazing players have come through the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Fergie Jenkins, Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, Greg Maddux, and Jon Lester makes for one heckuva rotation, and every single position player is either in the Hall of Fame, or is current first baseman Anthony Rizzo (sorry, Mark Grace, you didn’t make the team). And with guys like Ernie Banks, Hack Wilson, and Sammy Sosa, there’s plenty to both hit and pitch here.

The Mets have an outstanding rotation in Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, and current ace Jacob deGrom, but just lack the position players of their first-round opponents. There are no Hall of Famers for now, though Carlos Beltran will get consideration soon. There’s just not enough pop in this lineup even with how good Darryl Strawberry was at his peak. The Cubs should win this one easily.

How many hits will Jackie Robinson have in Round 1?

0-2 hits
3-5 hits
6-8 hits
9+ hits

Jackie Robinson is one of the best pure hitters of all time, with a 61.7 WAR and .311 batting average for a career that ended a bit too soon. He’s facing the San Diego Padres in the first round, and with no disrespect to Jake Peavy, Randy Jones, Andy Ashby, Andy Benes, and Ed Whitson... they’re not exactly the Five Aces of the Braves of the early 90’s.

The only reason we’re going 6-8 here is that we think this series is a sweep, and it’s tough to get nine hits in four days on even good pitching. And that’s before right-handed reliever Trevor Hoffman eats up an at-bat or two.

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