nl central standings

NL Central Power Rankings Week 9

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 5/31/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 2)

34-23, 1st Place, 240 RS, 216 RA (+24)

The Brewers have won 4 of their last 5 games.  That was coming on the heels of a streak of going just 3-7 in their previous 10 games.

The pitching in Milwaukee has come back down to Earth after a terrific start to 2014.  In April, the Brewers 2.92 ERA was the 3rd best in the MLB, and their 1.11 WHIP was tied for the best in the MLB.  In May, their 4.12 ERA is tied 24th, and their 1.37 WHIP is tied for 25th.

The trio of Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Ryan Braun has been absolutely tremendous for the Brewers.  Those three players make the Brewers the only team in the NL to have three players with an OPS+ of 135 or better (minimum 150 PA).  The Athletics are the only other team in the MLB that can make that claim.

Starting Pitchers in May

Brew Sp

Who’s Hot (month of May)

  • Rickie Weeks: .413/.449/.609, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 196 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
  • Carlos Gomez: .354/.448/.598, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB, 191 wRC+, 1.5 WAR
  • Jonathan Lucroy: .347/.416/.505, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 157 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
  • Ryan Braun: .323/.354/.548, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 148 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
  • Khris Davis: .281/.330/.584, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 148 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
  • Wily Peralta: 6 GS, 2.87 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 29 K, 11 BB, 0.4 WAR
  • Kyle Lohse: 5 GS, 3.18 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 19 K, 2 BB, 0.3 WAR
  • Will Smith: 13.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 18 K, 3 BB, 0.6 WAR
  • Rob Wooten: 12.2 IP, 0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 10 K, 3 BB, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of May)

  • Lyle Overbay: .161/.232/.242, 10 for 62, 18 K, 30 wRC+, -0.6 WAR
  • Scooter Gennett: .247/.277/.390, 17 for 88, 71 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Yovani Gallardo: 5 GS, 5.79 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 21 K, 14 BB, -0.4 WAR
  • Marco Estrada: 6 GS, 5.05 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 34 K, 14 BB, -0.6 WAR
  • Francisco Rodriguez: 11.0 IP, 5.73 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 8 K, 2 BB, -0.3 WAR
  • Tyler Thornburg: 12.0 IP, 6.00 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, 8 K, 11 BB, -0.2 WAR

Injuries (click to expand)

Brew Hurt

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:20), Tues (8:10) vs Minnesota
  • Wed (8:10), Thurs (8:10) at Minnesota
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) at Pittsburgh

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 1)

30-27, 2nd Place, 4.0 GB, 218 RS, 205 RA (+13)

At the end of last week, the Cardinals had won 9 of 11 games.  This week wasn’t so kind, as the Cardinals went 2-4, losing series at home to the Yankees and Giants.

Like the Brewers, the Cardinals pitching wasn’t nearly as good in May as they were in April.  In April, the Cardinals 2.98 ERA and 1.14 WHIP were both the 4th best in the MLB.  In May, their 3.84 ERA is only good for 17th best in the MLB.  They might have been a bit unlucky however, as they did post a 1.20 WHIP, which is tied for the 4th best in the MLB.

The Cardinals called up top prospect outfield Oscar Taveras over the weekend, and he hit a HR in his debut.  Taveras was hitting .325/.373/.524 with 7 HR, 40 RBI, and 132 wRC+ at AAA.  He should help bolster the Cardinals lineup.

Starting Pitchers in May

cards sp

Who’s Hot (month of May)

  • Matt Carpenter: .307/.383/.412, 9 RBI, 126 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Allen Craig: .291/.354/.427,3 HR, 19 RBI, 123 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Johnny Peralta: .278/.349/.443, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 124 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
  • Kolten Wong: .333/.418/.417, 6 RBI, 5 SB, 142 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Matt Adams: .329/.333/.471, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 118 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Michael Wacha: 6 GS, 2.43 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 31 K, 9 BB, 0.7 WAR
  • Adam Wainwright: 6 GS, 3.57 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 39 K, 6 BB, 0.9 WAR
  • Lance Lynn: 5 GS, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 21 K, 12 BB, 0.6 WAR
  • Pat Neshek: 12.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 11 K, 0 BB, 0.5 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of May)

  • Mark Ellis: .196/.283/.239, 9 for 46, 33 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Carlos Martinez: 12.2 IP, 7.11 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 8 K, 5 BB, -0.3 WAR
  • Randy Choate: 6.2 IP, 14.85 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 9 K, 3 BB, -0.1 WAR

Injuries (click to expand)

Cards Hurt

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:00), Tues (7:15) vs Kansas City
  • Wed (8:10), Thurs (8:10) at Kansas City
  • Fri (7:07), Sat (1:07), Sun (1:07) at Toronto

3. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 3) 

26-29, 3rd Place, 7.0 GB, 192 RS, 203 RA (-11) 

The Reds had a tough month of May, but they did finish the month and start June off on the right track.  The Reds matched their longest winning streak of 2014, at 3 games (they did it twice before: April 15-18 & April 22-24).

The Reds offense was absolutely horrendous in May.  Their 86 runs scored were the fewest in the MLB in May.  For the season, they have scored just 188 runs, which is the 2nd fewest in the MLB.

Todd Frazier (.269/.339/.488, 10 HR, 126 wRC+) and Devin Mesoraco (.351/.396/.680, 8 HR, 201 wRC+) have both been tremendous on a very bad offensive team.  They have combined to hit 18 of the Reds 47 homers (38%).

Johnny Cueto continues to be the best pitcher in the MLB.  His 1.68 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 3.1 WAR, and .463 OPS against are the best in the MLB.  He is also 2nd in the MLB in strikeouts with 92.

Ken Rosenthal seems to believe that the Reds could listen to offers for Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Aroldis Chapman.

Starting Pitchers in May

Reds SP

Who’s Hot (month of May)

  • Todd Frazier: .291/.351/.515, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB, 138 wRC+, 1.2 WAR
  • Brandon Phillips: .297/.327/.496, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 124 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
  • Devin Mesoraco: .239/.286/.609, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 142 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Johnny Cueto: 6 GS, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 42 K, 7 BB, 1.1 WAR
  • Mike Leake: 6 GS, 2.16 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 30 K, 9 BB, 1.1 WAR
  • Jonathan Broxton: 10.1 IP, 0.87 ERA, 0.48 WHIP, 5 K, 2 BB, 0.2 WAR
  • Aroldis Chapman: 9.0 IP, 2.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 16 K, 3 BB, 0.3 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of May)

  • Jay Bruce: .146/.222/.171, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 6 for 41, 19 K, -6 wRC+, -0.6 WAR
  • Ryan Ludwick: .231/.320/.308, 15 for 65, 20 K, 77 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Zack Cozart: .258/.305/.292, 23 for 89, 14 K, 61 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Skip Schumaker: .246/.300/.269, 16 for 65, 12 K, 77 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Tony Cingrani: 3 GS, 5.29 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 14 K, 8 BB, -0.3 WAR
  • Sean Marshall: 7.2 IP, 10.57 ERA, 2.48 WHIP, 9 K, 6 BB, -0.1 WAR
  • Manny Parra: 7.2 IP, 7.04 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 11 K, 5 BB, 0.0 WAR

Injuries (click to expand)

reds hurt

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) vs San Francisco
  • Fri (7:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (1:10) vs Philadelphia

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 4)  

26-30, 4th Place, 7.5 GB, 212 RS, 244 RA (-32) 

The Pirates have played pretty good baseball over the last week and a half.  They are 8-4 in their last 12 games, including taking three of four over the weekend at Dodger Stadium.

The Pittsburgh pitching has been the worst in the NL Central.  Their 3.94 ERA is 19th in the MLB in 2014.  They did improve a bit in May, as their team ERA was 3.81 for the month (15th in the MLB).

Andrew McCutchen is looking very good again for the Pirates.  He hit 2 HR on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium, and is now hitting .307/.427.470 with 6 HR, 147 wRC+, and 2.3 WAR.

The Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco could be in the majors soon.  The Pirates have moved him to the leadoff spot at AAA, a position they are grooming him for in the majors.  Polanco is hitting .a ridiculous 349/.411/.552 with 6 HR, 46 RBI, 12 SB, and 168 wRC+ at AAA.

Starting Pitchers in May

Bucs SP

Who’s Hot (month of May)

  • Andrew McCutchen: .310/.435/.380, 9 RBI, 4 SB, 140 wRC+, 1.1 WAR
  • Josh Harrison: .317/.356/.488, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 137 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
  • Neil Walker: .313/.394/.464, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 144 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
  • Gabby Sanchez: .302/.351/.547, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 150 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Ike Davis: .326/.408/.453, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 143 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Starling Mare: .265/.321/.459, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 118 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
  • Charlie Morton: 6 GS, 2.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 24 K, 14 BB, 0.3 WAR
  • Tony Watson: 13.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 17 K, 5 BB, 0.4 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of May)

  • Jordy Mercer: .225/.244/.350, 18 for 80, 15 K, 63 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
  • Jose Tabata: .288/.295/.356, 17 for 59, 8 K, 79 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Travis Snider: .184/.326/.237, 7 for 38, 10 K, 65 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Edinson Volquez: 5 GS, 5.67 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 20 K, 14 BB, -0.6 WAR
  • Bryan Morris: 12.2 IP, 5.68 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 7 K, 10 BB, -0.9 WAR

Injuries (click to expand)

Bucs hurt

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (10:10), Tues (10:10), Wed (6:40) at San Diego
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) vs Milwaukee

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5)

20-34, 5th Place, 12.5 GB, 207 RS, 225 RA (-18)

The poor Cubs are already 12.5 games back.  Like the Reds, it has been their offense that has been absolutely brutal.  The Cubs rank 26th in the MLB in runs (207), 28th in AVG (.233), 28th in OBP (.300), and 26th in SLG (.366).

For the Cubs, it is time to start building towards next year.  I believe it would be in the Cubs best interest to trade Jeff Samardzija.  His value is at an all-time high, and the Cubs need more pieces to build a winner.

Starting Pitchers in May

Cubs SP

Who’s Hot (month of May)

  • Luis Valbuena: .295/.389/.513, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 148 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
  • Anthony Rizzo: .255/.388/.479, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 0.7 WAR
  • Junior Lake: .273/.313/.477, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 3 SB, 112 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Jeff Samardzija: 5 GS, 1.32 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 33 K, 8 BB, 1.1 WAR
  • Jason Hammel: 6 GS, 3.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 K, 8 BB, 1.2 WAR
  • Brian Schlitter: 14.2 IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 10 K, 4 BB, 0.2 WAR
  • Neil Ramirez: 9.2 IP, 0.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 16 K, 3 BB, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of May)

  • Emilio Bonifacio: .214/.257/.301, 22 for 103, 17 K, 48 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Wellington Castillo: .229/.255/.310, 18 for 84, 26 K, 49 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Ryan Kalish: .205/.271/.295, 9 for 44, 8 K, 53 wRC+, -0.4 WAR
  • Darwin Barney: .229/.255/.313, 11 for 48, 11 K, 44 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Travis Wood: 6 GS, 6.62 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 27 K, 14 BB, 0.2 WAR

Injuries (click to expand)

cubs hurt

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (8:05), Wed (8:05), Thurs (7:05) vs NY Mets
  • Fri (4:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) vs Miami

 

NL Central Players of the Month and Week

Players of the Month in May

  • Carlos Gomez, Brewers: .354/.448/.598, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB, 191 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

  • Jeff Samardzija, Cubs: 5 GS, 1.32 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 33 K, 8 BB, 1.1 WAR

Players of the Week

  • Khris Davis, Brewers: .522/.577/.1.130, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 364 wRC+, 0.9 WAR

  • Johnny Cueto, Reds: 13.2 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 10 K, 3 BB, 0.66 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 0.4 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

13 Responses

  1. CTRedsFan

    My skepticism about WAR as a legitimate statistic continues. How in the world does Jason Hammel have a higher WAR in May than either Samardzija or Cueto? Edwin Jackson, with an ERA over 4 is basically the equivalent WAR of Adam Wainwright? In fact if you add up WAR the Cubs have far and away the best rotation in the NL Central. Surely, you jest? It makes absolutely no sense.

    • Ellis Henry

      It makes sense to intelligent people.

      • CTRedsFan

        You mean people with intelligent comments like yours?

      • BRowe

        WAR isn’t a great statistic to use for a monthly assessment — bad/good players can have hot/cold streaks that last 5-10 games. I do put more stock in the stat over a full season.

    • ToddAlmighty

      The fact that everyone calculates it differently would be my reason of occasional pause. The difference on batters generally isn’t TOO vast (Votto had 6.4 bWAR/6.1 fWAR last year)… but Fangraphs uses FIP to calculate WAR for pitchers while Baseball-Reference uses ERA.

      So you get things like Johnny Cueto leading all MLB pitchers in bWAR with 3.2, but being 9th in fWAR with 2.0 while Corey Kluber leads MLB in fWAR with 2,8 despite being 15th in bWAR with 1.9.

      A bigger jump would be Mike Leake, who is 19th in pitcher bWAR, but 51st in pitcher fWAR.

  2. ToddAlmighty

    Wow, I didn’t even notice it until I read the Reds section. Why is Trevor Bell not on the 60-day? Guy’s been hurt pretty much all year, and does anyone actually want him back? If the problem with getting Jumbo on the roster is that he’s not on the 40-man, then why not make space on the 40-man by putting Bell on the 60-day?

    Or are we just hoping his eventual return will bolster the bullpen with his 67.50 ERA?

  3. BRowe

    Reds are a dangerous team if the VIPs can stay healthy. Will be interesting to see if they can start scoring more runs, and if they will end up shopping a pitcher to bring in a bat or two.

    • ToddAlmighty

      VIPs were healthy at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. Did not look impressive offensively.

  4. ToddAlmighty

    That’s what I was looking at earlier too. It seems like NL Central might be the weakest division in baseball right now. The Reds would be 5th place in 4 of the other 5 divisions right now. The NL Central might not get one of the wildcard spots. The Giants or Dodgers will take one of the wildcard spots.

    That means the Reds are competing with the Marlins, Nationals, Cardinals, and Rockies for the final spot. I just don’t see the Reds adding enough to compete with them, because they all probably will add pieces. I can see the trade deadline pass up and Walt saying “There were some possibilities out there, but we felt best sitting put with what we had. We just need to get everyone healthy and for guys to play to their history and we’ll compete.”

  5. redmountain

    The Brewers will fade, I do not believe in them at all. As the season progresses the teams with the good rotations start to move. This is what makes teams like LA, SF, Atl, St.L. the dangerous teams. The Reds are closer in their rotation to those teams than to the Brewers. The Brewers have perhaps 2 above average pitchers and the Reds have 4 or possibly 5. The hitters will have to hit better and those that are doing well need to keep some semblance of what they are doing. A few years ago the Giants were supposedly dead and they went on to with the WS. I would argue that the race has just begun.

  6. Matt

    For hitters, BABIP is indeed seen as, to a certain extent, higher for good hitters, who hit more line drives, for example. It’s used as a measure of luck by comparing not to MLB average, but to the hitter’s career average.

    Pitchers are seen as having little control over their BABIP, but while it seems clear to me they have less control over it than do hitters, like you, I’m a bit skeptical about the claim that they have little to no control.

  7. the next janish

    IReally? How can you consider Cozart cold this is the hottest he’s been all season!