Quick Plug

Just letting you guys know that you can read my NL Central prediction over at MVN's Pittsburgh Lumber Co. A little roundtable with some fellow NL Central bloggers. Also I've got a bit on the Cubs in The Hardball Times 2007 Season Preview. I don't know the particulars yet on when it ships or the cost, but I did want to give everyone a heads up so you can save your allowances.
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Interesting predictions. I think there's a little bit too much optimism about the Brewers and probably not quite enough for the Cubs, but it'll certainly be interesting to see how things shake out.

The Brewers and Pirates are my two sleepers in the National League. The Brewers quietly have assembled a nice pitching staff, and if Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder grow into superstars like many think they both will, then look out for this team. The Pirates are blessed with a lot of quality young arms, a potentially nice lineup and perhaps the most underrated manager in baseball.

Personally, I am looking forward to this seasons collapse of the Cardinals. No pitching other than Carpenter and one key injury (other than another Edmonds concussion) and this team self destructs.

What i just posted there:

"Chad says:
February 15th, 2007 at 2:49 pm
Homerism at its finest.

Milwaukee still sucks. Remember that.

Cinci - no chance.

The only reason the Cubs are in the mix is that they just spent a billion dollars and have done more to improve than any other team in the division. The Cards are done. They only won, what, 86 games? Its gonna take 90+ this year. Watch out for Houston!!!!"

While I don't think the Cardinals did anything to improve, Reyes was a pretty big-time pitching prospect and at the very least should duplicate Suppan's numbers. Are they still planning to put Wainwright in the rotation? If so, he's got a lot of upside, and he's not going to do worse than Marquis.

That leaves Wells vs Weaver...that's a wash to me, Wells will probably be better actually.

And an ugly 5th starter that they hope Mulder will take over sooner than later.

They're not that bad off and a few breaks and they can hit 90 wins again. Of course I could say that about any team in the NL Central besides the Pirates probably (a few breaks and I think they could be .500).

"They’re not that bad off and a few breaks and they can hit 90 wins again.'

That would be a 7 win improvement from a team that didn't improve. While you pointed out that their rotation seems to be equal, Jim Edmonds is only getting older and Scott Rolen keeps getting hurt. Sure, there is no reason why Rolen can't be 100% but old man Edmonds is not going to be the hitter he once was. Puljos is a given but I just see this team being @.500. I clearly see the Astros and Cubs being +.500.

Yeah, I think they're an 83-85 win team again, but so is ever team in the NL Central besides the Pirates. It's really going to be who gets lucky with the injuries (or lack thereof) and where the career years come from...

I disagree. Milwaukee was everyone's sleeper pick last year and I screamed that they sucked and would be sub .500. And they will be again. Cinci, Milwaukee and Pitt will all be under .500 again. They are not .500 teams nor will they be.

I see the Astros as a 2 man offense and a one man rotation. They would have to get huge years from Scott and Endsberg to have an average offense and after Oswalt their rotation is pretty horid.

well yeah, obviously 5-6 teams in the NL central will not all be .500 or just above. Injuries and bad luck will hit some of them, but talent-wise it's pretty even across the board imo....

well Jennings isn't complete crap, no reason he shouldn't easily duplicate Pettite's season at the very least. Their season completely hinges on Clemens coming back or not....

Offensively they're better than last year, Luke Scott certainly won't duplicate his 2nd half from last season but it'll be better than anything Preston Wilson contributed in the 1st half.

Across the board?

Soriano, Lee and Ramirez tower over the big three of Milwaukee. Next, Albert, Rolen and Edmonds and then C.Lee, Berkman and Ensberg.

These are far superior to the rest of the central.

I'm trying to go a bit deeper than 3 deep on the offensive side Chad....

We can play what-if's all day, but there's no certainty in any of these clubs. If Z, Hill, Prior all throw 30+ starts, I think we win going away and challenge for best record in the NL. And I do think we'll have the best or 2nd best offense in the Central (probably top 5 in the NL).

But if Prior stays injured, the innings catch up to Z, Izturis bats 2nd, a bird crashes into Ramirez's eye and we're not so great....

But whatever, I picked the Cubs and I'll stick to it, they seem the best fitted to handle injuries this year.

I'm not playing what ifs. I'm playing the core talent. and the Cubs lineup is freaking stacked this year. I think we will hit the ball so well, that we can carry a middle of the pack starting pitching staff.

Hilarious. In the face of uncertainty, be a homer, I guess.

Cubs have the best offense, middling starting pitching, good bullpen.

Brewers have the best rotation 1-5, real questions on offense.

Don't understand those who are high on the Astros. 2 plus hitters, 2 plus starters, and crap throughout. Clemens isn't coming back to whiff on another post-season. He's in New York or, if injuries happen, possibly Boston.

Cardinals are the Cardinals. I don't see it, but I didn't see it last year, or in 2004. Helps having the best player in baseball.

Pirates, Reds, meh.

Jennings is complete crap, I think he'll be pushing a 5 ERA away from the humidor, and the NL West.

Projected ERA's and WHIPS
RotoAuthority 4.47 1.43
Shandler 4.64 1.49
James 4.77 1.53

http://www.rotoauthority.com/2006/12/jason_je...

Here is what I would say about the Cardinals and their pitching.

Cardinal starting pitching was crummy in 2006 outside obviously Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan and a partial year of Anthony Reyes. Mark Mulder was a disaster, then went down injured. Jason Marquis was awful (cry). Sidney Ponson didn't pan out. And Jeff Weaver didn't start performing well until the playoffs.

So if you're the Cardinals, how can your starting pitching possibly be worse in 2007?!? I'm thinkin' it won't be. Carpenter is a stud ace. Reyes is a very promising young pitcher. Kip Wells is classic type pitcher that Dave Duncan works miracles with (e.g., Bob Welch, Storm Davis, Jeff Suppan). Adam Wainwright has a high quality arm. Ryan Franklin is a low risk experiment. And eventually Mark Mulder is expected back.

Therefore, I can't be dismissive of the Cardinals. Not with Dave Duncan around, and especially not with a lineup that includes the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols and an awful lot of other quality parts.

My NL predictions (from the head as opposed to the heart).

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

To my way of thinking, both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh could come out of nowhere and be real surprises in 2007. Especially the Brewers. Houston is in for a major downfall from grace. Their lineup is old, awkward and crummy. Cincinnati simply doesn't have the pitching.

and for all the crap the Cards got about their pitching, they were 5th in Runs Allowed last year (amazing what a good defense can do for a mediocre pitching staff)....

Their Team ERA was 9th though....

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

Milwaukee only finishes second IF only one team in the nl central finishes +.500. Milwaukee is not good team.

I wonder why Duncan's magic didn't work on Marquis (got worse his last two years under Duncan) or Ponson.

The 04 and 05 Cardinals got extremely solid and healthy performance from their pitching. That takes a lot of luck in today's age of pitching injuries. The 06 Cardinals got average luck and an average bullpen and they were an average (or 2 games above average) team. Because Jeff Suppan was solid, Kip Wells will be solid makes no more sense than because Ponson continued to stink Kip Wells will continue to stink. Wainwright is probably going to have trouble throwing 210 innings coming off a season as a reliever. Reyes was a good prospect and has shown flashes, but that describes Angel Guzman, and he's 7th on the Cubs depth chart, not 3rd.

The Cards have the worst or 2nd worst rotation in the division at this point. Is there potential? Sure. Would it be a good bet that Franklin, Wells, Reyes and Wainwright each throw 200 innings of sub league average ERA? You would have to be a retard to make that bet.

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