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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  • Totally independent of the Cubs winning or losing today, Dan Haren came into today's game having earned $2M of his potential $3M in performance bonuses for 2015. 

    By making the start (his 32nd start of the season) he picked up $500K, and he'll get the remaining $500K if he can throw at least 8.2 IP in the game (he was at 181.1 IP coming into the game, and he needs to reach 190 IP to get the remaining $500K), 

    It's a bit like the old "Bowling for Dollars" TV show, but of course Haren is actually "Pitching for Dollars."

  • holy crap, MIL is just...awful.

  • i think he's currently playing for the Santo Domingo Meths. he's an Adderall-Star player there.

  • I'm longing for a Neifi sighting.

  • if you have stable/fast internet you can stream with and you don't mind giving up $20 a month check out "sling tv".

    TBS, TNT, ESPN 1+2, etc...100% legal.


  • 68 pitches (50 strikes)

    love seeing that...especially with the batters doing very little with it.

  • Yeah, keep him off the playoff roster.

  • Or, he's looked exactly like Ted Williams.

  • Lately he hasn't looked like Ted Williams...

  • Reading between the lines on some of his comments he seems to know his longish swing doesn't play well with a man on third and two outs, and two strikes on him. I doubt a playoff adjustment is happening, just something he'll need to figure out next year. I have this odd feeling he will.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Bryant leads NL rookies in HRs (26), RBIs (99), 2B (31) and runs (86). Last rookie to reach 26 HR, 99 RBI, 31 2bs, 86 runs and 74 BBs?

    Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
    Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939

  • Surprised and bummed that Mark Buehrle is retiring. One of my all-time favorite pitchers. I think he could pitch for 5 more years.

  • Probably going to a bar/restaurant with TBS. Cord-cutting is so over-rated.

  • Thanks for the update on Underwood.

  • I know, man. What a season. 3rd best record in all of baseball, good enough to have won any division other than the one there in.

    With a win tomorrow, the Cubs will match their 2008 record. Bad omen, I know. If they do win, the most recent year in which the Cubs will have won more games would be 1945 (98-56), the last time they went to the World Series.

    I'll take that omen instead...