March 17, 2014
Talkin' Baseball: NL Central
The Colonel: I like the NL Central much more than the AL Central. Many more interesting teams, many more interesting players, less interesting managers since LaRussa and Baker are gone. Just look at how Ryan Braun has become a villain.
49er16: I do like Braun's "I'm an artist" routine. That will go over about as well as when an athlete calls himself an "entertainer". Yeah Ryan you really are an artist in those Ed Hardy T-Shirts.
The Colonel: Hey someone had to replace ARod as MLB's chief villain. It's like a Batman movie, there's always the next villain. And you know what, he's narcissistic enough not to care what people think of him. That's really what separates players like ARod and Braun from the rest.
49er16: How do you think the Brewers will do overall? I like the addition of Garza, he makes their rotation deeper, but the rest of that lineup makes me squirm. Something called Juan Francisco is starting at first base continuing the Brewers tradition of failing to find anyone to replace Fielder.
The Colonel: Yeah I liked the Garza deal and they didn't have to give up half of their farm system to get him. Like you said though that lineup looks dreadful. Speaking of dreadful lineups, the Cubs lineup is disgusting to look at.
49er16: The Cubs at least have the promise of some good players coming through their system. They're basically the NL version of the Astros right now. Just try to stay afloat while waiting for the super prospects to make it to the big leagues.
The Colonel: The problem with the Cubs though, like the Astros, is that they're a guaranteed 8 to 10 victories this year for teams like the Cardinals and Reds.
49er16: But what can baseball do about that? Tell them to play better? Order them to call up their prospects? I know where you're coming from but everyone is stuck in a hard place there.
The Colonel: Oh there's definitely nothing baseball can do about it. I just wanted to complain because you know the Giants will be knocked out of the playoffs because the Cubs can't hold water against the Pirates or Reds.
49er16: Speaking of the Pirates, I don't like them at all this season. They mostly relied on their pitching staff last season and this year they lost Burnett and are expecting Liriano to continue to pitch well and are expecting that bullpen will be good again. They have regression written all over them.
The Colonel: Even PECOTA thinks they'll regress hard. And it's hard not to see why. They over relied on the starting pitchers and bullpen and there's mounting evidence that says bullpens that played as well as they did last season will regress badly.
49er16: PECOTA ain't exactly kind to the Reds, but I do think that's where they'll end up with 83 wins and just missing the playoffs. I do love the big story coming out of that camp about how petulant Brandon Phillips is acting.
The Colonel: He's been listening to Harold Reynolds a bit much. I love how his entire argument is based on RBI's while conveniently glossing over the facts that A) he was hitting behind Choo who was only 2nd in the league in OBP B) the rest of his stats say that he was actually worst last year than previous seasons.
49er16: The Reds are definitely the experiment when it comes to old school thinking about the game vs the stats driven thinking of the game. You have Phillips vs Votto and which one is more valuable. You have Harold Reynolds vs Brian Kenny. It definitely makes them interesting to debate about.
The Colonel: I'd rather be stoned by Roman kings than "debate" Votto vs Phillips.
49er16: Okay then, how annoying are the Cardinals? Not only are they good, but their in that Rays category of getting their knobs polished by all the sabermetric writers.
The Colonel: Frustrating that we went from the old men polishing LaRussa's knob, to now the sabermetric crowd drooling over every little thing the Cardinals do. I actually don't like them as much this season. They had an insane BABIP with runners in scoring position last season and I see that returning back to Earth. Holliday is getting older and Craig gets injured a lot. I hated the Peralta signing. They're my "sneaky not as good team as people expect".
49er16: So who do have winning this division? Someone has to win it right?
The Colonel: I think the Cardinals will still win it but they won't be that good. They'll win it with about 85 victories. As a whole this division doesn't look that great on paper. The Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates all look like they're going to regress. Milwaukee looks mediocre and the Cubs are rebuilding. 85 victories should be enough to win this division.
49er16: Sounds about right.
/watch three teams make the playoffs out of this division again