First things first……the movie Central Intelligence, staring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart is not based off my weekly column. I know many would like to think the movie which debuted on Friday by making $13 million is based off a Redleg Nation column, but that is not the truth. They have also completely stole our title covering the National League Central Division. We are debating on filing copyright infringement charges against them.

The Cubs were swept in Washington by the Nationals to begin the week, but responded by sweeping the Pirates at Wrigley over the weekend. They still however hold a 12.5 game lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals are currently 1.5 games behind the second wild card spot, with a 35-33 record. The Pirates have fallen below .500, as they’ve lost 10 of 11. They are still only 4.0 games out of the second wild card spot however.

Chicago Cubs 47-20 –
St. Louis Cardinals 35-33 12.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 33-36 15.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 31-39 17.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 27-43 21.5 GB

Chicago Cubs


The Cubs called up their #2 prospect (according to MLB Pipleline) Wilson Contreras on Friday. He hit a home run on the first big league pitch he ever saw on Sunday. Contreras is a catcher, who has also played 3B, 2B, 1B, LF, and RF in the minors. He was hitting .353/.442/.593 with 9 HR in 55 games at AAA.

Evan Massey of Forbes thinks that the Cubs should go after Aroldis Chapman. A name that he mentions as a possible trade piece is Jorge Soler. If the Cubs were to add Chapman, that could give them a three-headed bullpen monster very similar to what worked for the Royals. The Cubs currently have two excellent relievers in Hector Rondon (1.48 ERA/1.86 FIP) and Pedro Strop (2.77 ERA/2.75 FIP).

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Anthony Rizzo: .333/.481/.762, 2 HR, 222 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Miguel Montero: .100/.100/.100, 1 for 10, 2 K, -59 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (2:20) vs Cardinals
  • Thurs (7:10), Fri (7:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (1:10) at Marlins

Milwaukee Brewers


The Brewers had a rough west coast road trip. They lost 6 of 7 to the Giants and Dodgers. One of the bright surprises for the Brewers of late has been Zachary Davies. He has a 0.96 ERA through four starts in June. The Brewers got Davies last season in the Gerardo Parra trade to the Orioles.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Zachary Davies: 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.69 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Chase Anderson: 2 GS, 7.1 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 13.50 ERA, 8.32 FIP, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (10:05), Wed (3:35) at A’s
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) vs Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are a mess. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games. Their ace Gerritt Cole was placed on the DL on Tuesday. Their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .244/.324/.416. It’s not going to get any easier for the Pirates either. They play seven games this week against the Giants (44-26) and Dodgers (38-33).

The Pirates did get a big start from Jameson Taillon on Tuesday. Taillon pitched 8.0 shutout innings on Tuesday. He was recalled to take Gerritt Cole’s spot in the rotation. Taillon is currently the #48 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jameson Taillon: 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.64 FIP, 0.2 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jon Niese: 2 GS, 10.2 IP, 17 H, 12 ER, 5 HR, 5 BB, 10.13 ERA, 8.76 FIP, -0.4 fWAR

This Week

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (12:35) vs Giants
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (7:15), Sun (8:08) vs Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals


The Cardinals recent hot streak hit a major halt this past week. They went 0-5, losing five games at home to the Astros and Rangers. The Cardinals offense has gone cold, as they have scored just 10 runs during their 5 game losing streak.

The good news for the Cardinals is that their pitching is coming around. In June, Wainwrigh has a 1.80 ERA/2.09 FIP, and Martinez has a 1.69 ERA/3.23 FIP. They will also get some bullpen help as Seth Maness was activated off the DL on Sunday.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Matt Carpenter: .500/.625/.583, 1 R, 239 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Aledmys Diaz: .067/.176/.067, 1 for 15, 2 K, -50 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (2:20) at Cubs
  • Fri (10:10), Sat (10:10), Sun (4:10) at Mariners

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. Chicago Cubs

  2. St. Louis Cardinals

  3. Pittsburgh Pirates

  4. Milwaukee Brewers

  5. Cincinnati Reds

(all teams stayed the same)

Players of the Week

Pitcher: Zachary Davies, Brewers: 13.0 IP, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.69 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.4 fWAR

Batter: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: .333/.481/.762, 2 HR, 222 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR


All statistics only include games played through 6/18/16, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).