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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  • I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work

  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...

  • Zimmermann 5/$110m with Tigers. Youch.

    And the updated predications page:

  • Cubs 3B Christian Villanueva (who is out of minor league options) is hitting 358/464/500 for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and is leading the LMP in OBP, is second in BAvg and walks, is seventh in SLG, and is tied for 8th in HR. He also has struck out only 16 times in 175 PA. 

  • CTSteve, thanks for spelling Zimmermann correctly. We don't need another first baseman.

  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:

    It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

    The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

  •'re flip-flopping again?!

    Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind?

    I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

  • Happ signs w Jays

    Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

  • needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

  • As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing