NL Central Smackdown: The Aces

Left Fielders | Poll
Right Fielders | Poll
Center Fielders | Poll
Catchers | Poll
Third Basemen | Poll
Shortstops | Poll
2nd Basemen | Poll
1st Basemen | Poll


I had to take a little break to bash Brenneman yesterday, but NL Central Smackdown is back. I was going to just try and cover all the pitching in one post and have you guys vote on the pitching staffs as a whole. But who really want to decide between Brandon Backe vs Braden Looper. On the other hand, the crown for the best staff ace is worthy of discussion.

Let's see how it breaks down...

Player 3-Year Warp-3 Average
3 Year Warp-3 Projection
Rob's Ranking
Carlos Zambrano
8.1 4.1 3
Ben Sheets 5.13 3.47 4
Adam Wainwright 7 (1 year) 3.6 5
Roy Oswalt
8.7 4.57 2
Aaron Harang
8.3 4.9 1
Ian Snell 4.43 3.6 6






The Justification: I just put Ian Snell in there so the Pirates didn't feel slighted. I won't even bother putting him in the poll. The list doesn't even include Chris Carpenter and Yovani Gallardo. And once again I remind everyone, I did these rankings before the year started.

It was pretty much a toss-up between Harang, Oswalt and Z for the top spot and if Ben Sheets could stay healthy, he's probably got the best stuff of the group. Z had been on a steady decline since 2004 in ERA and his peripheral numbers so I knocked him down to the three spot. Oswalt just got nudged by Harang due to my concerns over his dropping K rate. And Wainwright hadn't quiten proven himself to be considered with those heavyweights.

But now it's 2008 and Z is looking as good as ever, while Oswalt and Harang struggle out of the gate. Although in Harang's case, he's just not getting much run support. Sheets has been healthy for the most part and dominating and Wainwright has been matching all of them start for start.

So how say you? There's another poll for you guys to fill out below this and I'll leave the old polls open until we finish this.

Please note, you do have to register to vote. This isn't some scheme to solicit registrations, it's just an anomaly of the site and the poll software that's built in. Trust me, I'd love to fix it, but I haven't found another piece of integrated software that does these ranking polls which I really like. Plus if you register, you get a better user experience as I tend to test everything as a registered user and you get an uncached version of the site. You can also view the results of the poll after you vote, instead of having to wait until I close it. It takes all of two minutes to register and unlikes some sites, I'll be more than happy to cancel your account if you wish. You'll never receive any spam from us either...promise.


There is very little that separates 1 - 4.

If Z's demeanor matches up with his talent (like what he is doing so far this season) then he is a stand out 1st and the rest of these guys fight for 2nd.

I'm not really up on WARP 3. What's with the precipitous drop off for all these guys (esp. Z, Oswalt, & Harang) from the past three years to the future projections? Is it age and abuse or what?

I ranked them thusly:


Maybe a little homerism, but Z is very durable. That's worth alot, despite his inconsistency.

On Oswalt, I am probably biased by the fact that I saw him get knocked around at Wrigley this year, he seems to have lost something off his stuff.

Only one more year of Sheets for us. I nominate him as "Most Likely to Get a Large Contract Offer from the New York Yankees this coming offseason"

Ben "Mark Prior" Sheets has to be last in my book. You just can't be a great ace from the training room and/or during rehab starts.

Recent comments

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  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer

  • Hahahahaha