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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  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !

  • Yeah. "Goodbye!" is a lame HR call.

    I miss Len and JD -- although, driving home from a friend's, WBBM played all 6 HR calls in a row -- and Len got to call the Bryant/Rizzo back-to-back. Very fun.

  • Lackey has been a beast against us. His stats on 3 days rest, however, not as nice. There is plenty of hope.

  • And, no dreadlocks grown yet.

  • Captain Obvious Strikes Again!!!

  • Amen, brother.

  • In the wild card game he mentioned that aram started with the Pirates, then played for the Brewers, and now he's back with the Pirates. Uhhhh, missed a step there, guy.

  • i like ron darling the person, the interview, and the studio desk guy...but him calling a game can lead to some really stupid stuff coming out of his mouth.

  • If you think these announcers are bad ,the ones doing the Mets vs Dodgers (Ron Darling ,Cal Ripken and someone else)
    are worse they did the wildcard game I never knew Joe Jackson and Derrick Fowler played for the Cubs this year you
    would think there would be research by them.

  • daaaaaayam.

  • Soler's OPS in the NLDS? 3.750.

  • ...and HRs are good.

  • Theo: "So, let's see...should we put Soler on the post-season roster? Ummmm, yeah, I mean what the hell."

    Wow -- if he can bring that focus and plate discipline next year -- yowza! Seems like Manny has really helped him.

  • 2-1 series!

    1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason. woo.