[Nick Kirby’s Central Intelligence column will return next Monday.]

Our Cincinnati Reds stand in first place in the NL Central after one week, followed by the Cubs and the Cardinals. The Pirates are fourth and the Milwaukee Brewers are last.


Offense The five NL Central teams are clumped together in hitting statistics, sorted by wRC+, with the Reds and Pirates tied for fourth and fifth. The Reds have the most home runs and the most stolen bases. All five of the offenses are off to a slow start.


Starting Pitchers The Reds have the second (after the Cubs) starting rotation, sorted by K-BB%, a strong indicator of future performance. The Cardinals and Reds are #1 and #2 in ERA in the division. The Cubs have the lowest FIP and xFIP. The Cubs and Reds are #1 and #2 in SIERA.


Bullpen The Reds bullpen is #1 in the division ranked by WAR. Other clubs lead in other statistics. It’s early and the bullpens haven’t thrown many innings.


This week: The Reds head to Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs, have Thursday off, and then head to St. Louis for a three-game weekend series. Mike Leake, Anthony DeSclafani and Jason Marquis will face Chicago, while Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Leake will face St. Louis.