Time to preview the NL Central for the upcoming season:
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
Best Player: Ryan Braun
Best Pitcher: Chris Carpenter
The Cubs are the clear favorite in the NL Central as they return a powerful lineup and an experienced, dominant pitching staff. Led by Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lee, the Cubs lineup has the potential to put up a crooked number any inning. In the rotation, Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden lead a staff that is front-loaded, with the 4 and 5 pitchers (Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall) a cause for concern. However, a strong bullpen with Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol should keep the Cubs in any ballgame. Overall, the team has a tremendous amount of talent and will likely be a contender for the NL pennant.
The Brewers lost C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets from their starting staff and that will seriously hurt their playoff chances, but their lineup is still stacked, giving them the ability to overcome mediocre pitching. With Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, runs will not be hard to come by, especially considering J.J. Hardy and Richie Weeks bat in front of those two sluggers. Jeff Suppan is the number one starter for Milwaukee and that is a sign for concern in itself as Suppan is not quite an ace. Follow him up with Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper, and Dave Busch, and the rotation is shaky at best. Recently-acquired Trevor Hoffman leads the bullpen, but even if he is terrific, Milwaukee is still going to need a lot of run-production to stay in the NL Central race. Continue reading “2009 National League Central Preview”
The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is just two days away and speculation about who is going to be traded to where has taken main stage across the sport. There have already been a couple of minor trades as well as two big ones (C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden). Harden and Sabathia have already paid huge dividends for the Cubs and Brewers respectively. Though winless in the NL, Harden has struck out 30 batters in 17 1/3 innings, possessing a 1.04ERA. Sabathia is 4-0 with three complete games and a 1.82 ERA. Those were two of the biggest names on the market and the fact that they have already been traded may mean that this year’s Trading Deadline may be uneventful, but anything could happen. Here is a look at a couple of interesting players:
Mark Teixeira: Look who is back on the market. The hottest free agent right now, Teixeira finds himself in an identical situation as last year when he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves. This time the Braves are shopping him around. The Diamondbacks seem to be the strongest pursuer of Teixeira, but there are plenty of other offers. The Braves are looking for a big-league bat and a strong pitching prospect for their star first baseman, whose stats speak for themselves (.280 avg, 20 hr, 78 rbi). Arizona is also joined by the Angels, Red Sox, and Rays in pursuit of Teixeira. I think the Braves will move Teixeira and that the offer by the D’backs will trump all other offers Atlanta will receive. Continue reading “MLB Trading Deadline”
It is nearly the middle of June and Interleague Play is about to get underway so I have decided that it is a good point to look back at the first couple of months of the season
Best Team: Though not completely clear cut, this award goes to the Chicago Cubs who are currently 18 games above .500 and own the best record in MLB, a game and a half ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. They have scored 369 runs, second in Major League Baseball, but the Cubs have allowed the fifth least amount of runs in the entire league at 268. The 101 differential between runs scored and runs allowed is first in baseball and they also have the best ERA in the National League at 3.66. Alfonso Soriano leads the team with 15 home runs and seven of the Cubs’ eight daily batters have averages equal to or above .280. The Cubs possess the best team OPS in National League at .809 and have the third best bullpen ERA at 3.17. Leading in almost ever statistical category, offense or pitching, the Cubs have jumped to the top of league as they hope to win their first championship in 100 years.
Worst Team: One of my favorite awards, the Worst Team Award gives me a chance to look at the most incompetent, hopeless, and pitiful team that Major League Baseball has to offer. Though there are many candidates for this award, the Washington Nationals are most deserving. Though they only have the seventh worst ERA in MLB at 4.56, they have scored the fewest runs out of any team for the entire season at 243. The Nationals have the second lowest OBP (.310) and the lowest OPS (.666). They have blown 14 saves in 27 opportunities and possess the third highest bullpen ERA at 4.37. All of these stats have combined to make the Nationals 15 games below .500, 6.5 games behind the fourth-placed New York Mets. Continue reading “2008 MLB Mid Season Report”