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Sunday, March 25, 2007

NL Central Preview

1st Place, St. Louis Cardinals
Lineup:
SS David Eckstein

LF Chris Duncan
CF Jim Edmonds
1B Albert Pujols
3B Scott Rolen
RF Juan Encarnacion
2B Adam Kennedy
C Yadier Molina

Rotation:
RHP Chris Carpentar
RHP Anthony Reyes
RHP Kip Wells
RHP Adam Wainright
RHP Ryan Franklin
Closer: Jason Isringhausen

The reigning world champs are going to have to out-slug everybody else again this year with all their questions regarding their pitching. Carpentar, Reyes and Wainright should be solid, but Wells and Franklin will leave a lot to be desired. Jason Isringhausen has to be healthy or else Wainright goes back to the pen and the rotation gets even weaker. If Carpentar goes down for any length of time the Cards are in trouble. The best thing they have going for them is their weak division.

2nd Place, Houston Astros
Lineup:
CF Chris Burke
2B Craig Biggio
1B Lance Berkman

LF Carlos Lee
3B Morgan Ensberg
RF Luke Scott/Jason Lane
SS Adam Everett
C Brad Ausmus

Rotation:
RHP Roy Oswalt
RHP Jason Jennings
RHP Woody Williams
RHP Fenrnando Nieve
LHP Wendy Rodriguez
Closer: Brad Lidge

If Lidge rebounds, Clemens joins the team in June, and Brandon Backe makes it back this season and can contribute, the Astros will jump ahead of the Cards and win this division. Those are a lot of question marks, but they are very realistic possibilities. Adding Carlos Lee allows them to be able to match up offensively with the Cardinals, it will come down to who has the better pitching. Oswalt should once again battle for a cy young award.

3rd Place, Millwauke Brewers
Lineup:
2B Rickie Weeks
SS J.J. Hardy
CF Bill Hall
1B Prince Fielder
LF Geoff Jenkins
3B Corey Koskie
C Johnny Estrada
RF Corey Hart

Rotation:
RHP Ben Sheets
LHP Chris Capuano
RHP Jeff Suppan
RHP Dave Bush
RHP Claudio Vargas
Closer: Francisco Cordero

The Brew Crew should once again be average in 2007. Their front end of their rotation is solid with Capuano and Sheets, but they overpaid to get a mediocre pitcher in Jeff Suppan. The lineup should be good enough to put up some runs, but they are going to miss the big anchor in the middle, Carlos Lee. Rickie Weeks is going to breakout and have an all-star year. This will be an Alfonso Soriano type with better defense.

4th Place, Chicago Cubs
Lineup:
RF Alfonso Soriano

3B Mark DeRosa
1B Derek Lee

3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Jacque Jones
C Michael Barrett
LF Matt Murton/Cliff Floyd
SS Ronny Cedeno

Rotation:
RHP Carlos Zambrano
LHP Ted Lilly
RHP Jason Marquis
LHP Shawn Hill
RHP Mark Prior/Wade Miller
Closer: Ryan Dempster

The Cubs hope that the addition of Soriano will help jump start them after a few off-years, but the most important thing they need is health in their pitching staff. If they can get anything out of Prior and Wood this year it would be a plus. The Cubs got desperate for starting pithing this winter and blew close to 70 million dollars on 2 average pitchers (Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis). I also have my doubts about Dempster as a closer.

5th Place, Cincinnati Reds
Lineup:
RF Ryan Freel
1B Scott Hatteberg

CF Ken Griffey Jr.
LF Adam Dunn
3B Edwin Encarnacion
C David Ross
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Alex Gonzalez

Rotation:
RHP Bronson Arroyo
RHP Aaron Harang
LHP Eric Milton
RHP Kyle Lohse
RHP Matt Belisle
Closer: Mike Stanton

The Reds will always be a high powered offensive team in the ballpark they play so their question is always about pitching. They are actually entering the year with all of the same rotation they ended last year with so they could be on the right track. Their bullpen is still a mess as it looks like it will once again be closer by committee for Jerry Narron.

6th Place, Pittsburgh Pirates
Lineup:
CF Chris Duffy
SS Jack Wilson

3B Freddy Sanchez
1b Adam LaRoche
LF Jason Bay
RF Xavier Nady
C Ronny Paulino
2B Jose Castillo

Rotation:
LHP Zach Duke
RHP Ian Snell
LHP Paul Maholm
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
RHP Shawn Chacon
Closer: Salmon Torres

The Pirates are on their way up, although they still have a long way to go. They made some moves to improve their offense this winter, and their young starting rotation has another year under it's belt so they should be better than they were in '06. They lost their best reliever in Mike Gonzalez, but I think it was a good move for them in the long run. Sanchez-LaRoche-Bay should provide a young, dynamic 3-4-5 trio in Pittsburgh for years.
_________________________________________________ Get expert matchup reports and predictions on every single MLB game at Doc's Sports click Here _________________________________________________

4 Comments:

  • At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 2:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Cards' need Rollin and Edmonds healthy more than anything else.

     
  • At 8:38 PM, Anonymous kelsdad said…

    Nice work

     
  • At 12:27 PM, Blogger Peter N said…

    Yes...great blog..when you put my link up, let me know!!!!! Thanks......

     

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