Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Baseball Preview Part II

NL Central

Order Of Finish

1. St. Louis         91-71
2. Chicago          83-78
3. Milwaukee      80-82
4. Cincinnati        78-84
5. Houston          74-88
6. Pittsburgh        62-99

1. St. Louis
2. Milwaukee
3. Chicago
4. Cincinnati
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

Young Players to Watch

Aroldis Chapman - CIN - (16)*

Colby Rasmus - STL - Played sparingly in 2009 and was productive, has a chance to be a breakout player and score 80+ runs behind the Machine.

Jeff Samardzija- CHC - Has the chance to be dominant out of the pen - can also be a total bust.

Key Player for Each Team

Astros - Roy Oswalt - SP - Must be good for them to be competitive and get good market value for a deadline deal.
Brewers - Ryan Braun - LF - MVP type talent and hasn't even reached his potential.
Cardinals - Adam Wainwright - SP - Can he improve on a spectacular season?
Cubs - Alfonso Soriano - LF - Can he stay healthy and be the driving force the organization needs?
Pirates - Andrew McCutcheon - CF- Enough reason to attend a Pirates game.
Reds - Joey Votto - 1B - He has the capability to mash this team to a wild card spot.

Notable FA Signings

Brad Penny - STL - SP
Gregg Zaun - MIL - C


The division that would fit the term “quantity over quality” better than any other division, baseballs only 6 team division and a lackluster group of teams is being generous. The division is split in 2 with the potential contenders and pretenders. The pretenders are the Astros, Reds, and Pirates. The contenders are the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs. Picking the winner of this division is a crap shoot.

The Cardinals have been the owner of this one for some time and will have the best chances of retaining that crown again this year. They have the best 1-2 punch with Carpenter and Wainwright and the best player in the game – Albert Pujols. But, they don’t have a lot that stands out other than that. Adding Brad Penny could be a steal pick up and Matt Holliday should really help the Machine for protection.

The Cubs and Brewers can easily put together an 88-90 win season and that could be plenty to take the division. Milwaukee has 2 of the best bats in the NL, they remind me of a poor man’s Phillies team. They have a lot of fire power in that lineup and could feast on NL pitching. The Cubs have the most talent on paper, but also the most headaches too.

Houston and Cincinnati have decent teams and the Reds always seem to be my dark horse every year and they always seem to disappoint. I like their mixture of pitching and power, but they cannot put it all together for a full season. The Reds play pretty good for half the season and pretty poor the other half. They can play for the wild card if they put a full one together. Houston is probably going to continue to rebuild as I figure they will ship Roy Oswalt to a contender come deadline time.

The Pirates are just looking to improve and add more pieces for a run at the division in hopefully 2 years – key word hopefully. They should be able to put more butts in the seats with Andrew McCutcheon playing a full season and possibly the most talented Pirate in….decades. You can see the formula the Pirates are following and that is similar to the Rays – speed. McCutcheon and Milledge figure to be their Crawford and Upton for a few years to come.

I’m going to play it safe and go with the best pitching staff in the division with the Cardinals, but I really like the Brewers this year. I think Braun and Fielder can hit this team to the post-season. The Cubs figure to be around with talent alone and the Reds should be pesky too. The Astros and Pirates will be the bottom feeders again, but the Pirates will jump the Astros to finish 5th – hey they need to start somewhere.

* - denotes spot in ESPN top 100 prospects.

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