PDA

View Full Version : NL Central Rankings



WillRich
02-02-2012, 12:07 AM
ESPN is doing a series where they come up with the top players at each position in each division. They have completed 4 of the 6 divisions and have yet to do the Central so I decided I'd see how I would rank them. The points are determined by if the club has the best player(s) they get 6 points for first 5 for second 4 for third etc... This is just my rankings let me know what you think. Btw Cozart has potential to be a lot higher but it's to early to tell right now


NL Central

Catchers:
1. Yadier Molina
2. Ryan Hanigan/Devin Mesoraco
3. Geovany Soto
4. Jonathan Lucroy
5. Rob Barajas
6. Jason Castro

First Basemen:
1: Joey Votto
2. Lance Berkman
3. Garrett Jones
4. Carlos Lee
5. Bryan LaHair
6. Mat Gamel

Second Basemen:
1. Brandon Phillips
2. Rickie Weeks
3. Neil Walker
4. Darwin Barney
5. Skip Schumaker/Tyler Greene
6. Jose Altuve

Third Basemen:
1. Aramis Ramirez
2. David Freese
3. Pedro Alvarez
4. Scott Rolen
5. Ian Stewart
6. Chris Johnson

Shortstop:
1. Starlin Castro
2. Rafael Furcal
3. Clint Barmes
4. Alex Gonzalez
5. Jed Lowrie
6. Zac Cozart

Left Fielder:
1. Ryan Braun
2. Matt Holliday
3. Alfonso Soriano
4. Chris Heisey/Ryan Ludwick
5. Alex Presley
6. JD Martinez

Center Fielder:
1. Andrew McCutchen
2. Marlon Byrd
3. Nyjer Morgan
4. Drew Stubbs
5. Jon Jay
6. Jordan Schafer

Right Fielder:
1. Carlos Beltran
2. Jay Bruce
3. Corey Hart
4. David DeJesus
5. Jose Tabata
6. Brian Bogusevic

#1 Starter:
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Zack Greinke
3. Johnny Cueto
4. Ryan Dempster
5. Brett Meyers
6. Jeff Karstens

#2 Starter
1. Chris Carpenter
2. Mat Latos
3. Yovani Gallardo
4. Wandy Rodriguez
5. Matt Garza
6. Kevin Correia

#3 Starter:
1. Shaun Marcum
2. Jamie Garcia
3. Bronson Arroyo
4. Travis Wood
5. Bud Norris
6. Charlie Morton

#3 Starter:
1. Mike Leake
2. Randy Wolf
3. Chris Volstad
4. Kyle Loshe
5. James McDonald
6. Kyle Weiland

#5 Starter
1. Erik Badard
2. Paul Maholm
3. Jake Westbrook
4. Homer Bailey
5. Chris Narveson
6. J.A. Happ

Closer:
1. Ryan Madson
2. John Axford
3. Carlos Marmol
4. Joel Hanrahan
5. Jason Motte
6. Brandon Lyon

Bullpen:*
1. Cincinnati Reds (Sean Marshall, Nick Masset, Bill Bray, Jose Arredando, Carlos Fisher, Logan Ondrusek)
2. Chicago Cubs (Kerry Wood, Jeff Smardzija, James Russell, Justin Berg)
3. St. Louis Cardinals (JC Romero, Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas)
4. Milwaukee Brewers (Fransisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, Kameron Loe, Mark DiFelice, Marco Estrada)
5. Pittsburg Pirates (Evan Meek, Doug Slaten, Juan Cruz, Jason Grilli, Ross Ohlendorf)
6. Houston Astros (Wilton Lopez, David Carpenter, Wesley Wright, Fernando Abad, Zach Duke)

Intangibles:
1. St Louis Cardinals
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Pittsburg Pirates
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Houston Astros

1. Cincinnati Reds (74 points)
2. St Louis Cardinals (72 points)
3. Milwaukee Brewers (67 points)
4. Chicago Cubs (57 points)
5. Pittsburg Pirates (47 points)
6. Houston Astros (23 points)

RedsfaninMT
02-02-2012, 12:42 AM
Your logic on ranking Cozart last, should also apply to Mesoraco. I don't think Arroyo is #3, but #4 at best, maybe even a five if he doesn't turn it around. I also think Gallardo should be higher ranked, and I also disagree with your CF rankings as Byrd is fading. But generally, pretty fair rankings.

WillRich
02-02-2012, 01:42 AM
Well saying I should rank Mesoraco as I did Cozart. I ultimately believe Hanigan will be the starting catcher on Opening Day and Mesoraco will slowly take over. Therefore I ranked that as Hanigan being the starting catcher and Mesoraco getting time. And on Arroyo I do agree with you I was torn on whether to make him a 3 or 4 but I came to the conclusion of who I think Dusty will go with. And I believed it will be Arroyo number three but I could be wrong, it's gonna be a close call. So are you saying you would take Gallardo over Latos?? And maybe even Carpenter? Byrd is as of now is fading but has still produced better than Stubbs and Morgan. But I do agree with those points overall. I'm just wondering on a few

[deleted]
02-02-2012, 04:01 AM
Some issues I took with your (mostly good) rankings:

Garza is the Cubs' best starter, and he would slide in after Greinke to push Cueto down to #4.

Gallardo is above Latos.

Axford definitely above Madson.

I don't know for certain where the Reds plan on pitching Arroyo, but he should be our fifth starter. And he should be at the bottom of the list. Perhaps you're giving him some "benefit of the doubt" points for career contributions, but he was beyond abysmal last year. Okay... maybe above Happ.

You did pretty well with the position players, though.

From this, it looks we have a shot.

alett12
02-02-2012, 09:27 AM
I think these rankings are about right. I would actually put cozart higher as well as heisey. I also wouldnt put an aging Beltran over Bruce.

lidspinner
02-02-2012, 09:49 AM
what are the plans for Chapman in this rating system?

Larkin88
02-02-2012, 10:55 AM
what are the plans for Chapman in this rating system?

I think this is assuming he starts the year in Louisville to work on starting, so he wouldn't be on the 25 man necessarily.

Pony Boy
02-02-2012, 10:59 AM
I also wouldnt put an aging Beltran over Bruce.

I would.

Beltran 2011 OPS+ 152
Bruce 2011 OPS + 119

thorn
02-02-2012, 02:07 PM
I think people are underestimating Leake, personally I think he will have a better year than Cueto. I would move Latos ahead of Cueto right now, moving Cueto to the 3rd spot of the #2 starters, all 4 (Bailey included) ahead of Arroyo, but overall you did a nice job, thanks for doing this.

Pony Boy
02-02-2012, 02:35 PM
I don't think Latos is better than Cueto, at least not in 2012. I would move him ahead of Carpenter though. Carpenter is slipping.

alett12
02-02-2012, 02:38 PM
Beltran is an aging player while Bruce is coming into his prime I think you have to consider that when ranking players. I like Leake as well he was the Reds 2nd best pitcher last year and is in my opinion a very similar pitcher going into year three of his career as greg maddux was with the exception that maddux had a little harder stuff.

Pony Boy
02-02-2012, 02:42 PM
Beltran is an aging player while Bruce is coming into his prime I think you have to consider that when ranking players. I like Leake as well he was the Reds 2nd best pitcher last year and is in my opinion a very similar pitcher going into year three of his career as greg maddux was with the exception that maddux had a little harder stuff.

It's fair to consider age of course, but the difference between Bruce and Beltran in 2011 (at least as the plate) was huge. I don't think Beltran falls off enough and Bruce improves enough to make up that difference in 2012.

Another point on these rankings, how is Grienke considered better than Cueto? Grienke had an amazing season in 2009, but hasnt been anything special since. He would be the #3 pitcher for the Reds.

alett12
02-02-2012, 02:50 PM
It's fair to consider age of course, but the difference between Bruce and Beltran in 2011 (at least as the plate) was huge. I don't think Beltran falls off enough and Bruce improves enough to make up that difference in 2012.

Another point on these rankings, how is Grienke considered better than Cueto? Grienke had an amazing season in 2009, but hasnt been anything special since. He would be the #3 pitcher for the Reds.

By stats he would be a number three guy but his name would put him at number 1. that is why the brewers payed as much as they did, the Yankees didn't give up nearly as much for Pindea a much smaller name who actually had better stats last year and is under team control for alot longer. I agree though that he would be a number 3 on the reds.

[deleted]
02-02-2012, 03:44 PM
...what.

There is no doubt that if Zack Greinke was a Red he would instantly be our #1 pitcher, in name AND in talent.

Just last year: 10.5 (!!) K/9 and a 2.98 FIP. When he throws 200 innings again this year, he'll be one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball.

SweetLou1990
02-02-2012, 06:10 PM
Looks pretty good, I pretty much agree. I think starters 1, 2 and 5 might even be underestimated. Hopefully this is the year that Carpenter turns into a braying donk at the # 1 - 2nd starter spot.

Larkin88
02-02-2012, 07:19 PM
;2532079']...what.

There is no doubt that if Zack Greinke was a Red he would instantly be our #1 pitcher, in name AND in talent.

Just last year: 10.5 (!!) K/9 and a 2.98 FIP. When he throws 200 innings again this year, he'll be one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball.

This man speaks the truth. Probably a little foolish to undervalue Greinke to the point where he would be a 3 on our staff. I love Cueto. I love Latos. But that's just calling a spade a spade. Cueto and Latos are trending in the right direction and are terrific pitchers, both at a surface level and in their peripherals. None of this is and indictment against either one of them, or the Reds.

But when healthy, Greinke is a bona fide 200 inning starter, and by true pitching metrics like FIP, has been outstanding over multiple seasons that long in his career. Cueto and Latos have come close and are hopefully going to get there this year, but neither one of them has eclipsed 200 innings in their quite career yet. Greinke struck out 4.5 guys for every one he walked last year. That's nuts. With a .298 FIP last year, his ERA might have looked a little rosier with a better defense behind him - .318 opposing batting average on balls in play last season with the Brew Crew behind him.

Cueto's BABIP was .249 last season, which is remarkably low. Combination of the Reds being one of the best defensive teams in baseball and, perhaps, a little bit of luck. Johnny and Mat have the potential to be every bit the pitcher Greinke is, but I would argue that they probably aren't there quite yet.

alett12
02-03-2012, 09:23 AM
I think Cueto will be the just as good this year. He is mentally ready to be the number 1 guy and showed it last year

Larkin88
02-03-2012, 10:33 AM
I think Cueto will be the just as good this year. He is mentally ready to be the number 1 guy and showed it last year

Okay, cool. I hope you're right and think he'll be a solid and crucial piece for the Reds as well. But there's a difference between saying that and saying that "by stats" Greinke would be a number three on this staff. That, to me, is a little bit too homery of a statement.

alett12
02-03-2012, 12:33 PM
Okay, cool. I hope you're right and think he'll be a solid and crucial piece for the Reds as well. But there's a difference between saying that and saying that "by stats" Greinke would be a number three on this staff. That, to me, is a little bit too homery of a statement.

In GABP I don't think if he pitched 1/2 his games there he would be anywhere near a good as Cueto or even as good as Latos will be or Leake for that matter.

Larkin88
02-03-2012, 12:47 PM
In GABP I don't think if he pitched 1/2 his games there he would be anywhere near a good as Cueto or even as good as Latos will be or Leake for that matter.

Then you're still failing to grasp the concept of FIP. Which is fine. But I empirically disagree with your assessment and it seems a little silly to apply a double standard about park factors where you predict Greinke would outperform Latos in GABP just because, when neither one of them has played a full season there.

Why don't you think he would do well in Great American? I'm sincerely curious. He has a ground ball to fly ball ratio about right in Cueto and Latos' territory. In his eight season career, he has given up 131 homeruns. Cueto has given up 80 in about 600 fewer innings pitched. What about Greinke's pitching abilities make him so poorly suited on our staff that he would be a 3 where he would be a guaranteed 1 or 2 on about 85% of the teams in baseball?

This is why normalized pitching statistics help you evaluate pitchers, to overcome park factors and defensive differences. Gotta pay attention to the peripherals.

alett12
02-03-2012, 12:53 PM
Then you're still failing to grasp the concept of FIP. Which is fine. But I empirically disagree with your assessment and it seems a little silly to apply a double standard about park factors where you predict Greinke would outperform Latos in GABP just because, when neither one of them has played a full season there.

Why don't you think he would do well in Great American? I'm sincerely curious. He has about a ground ball to fly ball ratio right in Cueto and Latos' territory. In his eight season career, he has given up 131 homeruns. Cueto has given up 80 in about 600 fewer innings pitched. What about Greinke's pitching abilities make him so poorly suited on our staff that he would be a 3 where he would be a guaranteed 1 or 2 on about 85% of the teams in baseball?

This is why normalized pitching statistics help you evaluate pitchers, to overcome park factors and defensive differences. Gotta pay attention to the peripherals.

Again, I've said this before, i do not believe to heavily in advanced metrics. If you matched up Cueto or Latos with Grienke I see them winning 9 of 10. Grienke has pitched in a more pitcher friendly park than Cueto so the number given up is a little different.

Grouse
02-03-2012, 01:59 PM
I think these rankings are about right. I would actually put cozart higher as well as heisey. I also wouldnt put an aging Beltran over Bruce.

True, but Cory Hart is better than both Bruce and Beltran at this time.

alett12
02-03-2012, 02:43 PM
True, but Cory Hart is better than both Bruce and Beltran at this time.

I don't see Hart being able to make the strides to catch up to bruce once he figures out how to become more consistant

[deleted]
02-03-2012, 03:16 PM
Again, I've said this before, i do not believe to heavily in advanced metrics. If you matched up Cueto or Latos with Grienke I see them winning 9 of 10. Grienke has pitched in a more pitcher friendly park than Cueto so the number given up is a little different.

What don't you believe in, numbers? "Home runs allowed" and "ground ball ratio" aren't exactly new-age saberstats. And as Larkin88 said, FIP is park neutral. If you aren't heavy into advanced metrics, fine. But you can't act like they simply don't exist. Someone didn't just magically pull numbers out of nowhere and say, "THERE IT IS, FIELDING INDEPENDENT PITCHING. BOOM." It's based on strikeouts, batters walked, homeruns allowed... I think we can all admit those are essential parts of a pitcher's performance.

Greinke bests every Reds pitcher in most every conceivable statistic, even most traditional. What are you basing this opinion on, then? I could see someone predicting Latos, perhaps, to outperform him this year... but Cueto? That's a stretch. LEAKE? WHY.

So you're just a huge homer. And I get that. We all are to an extent, seeing that this is a board specifically for Reds fans. But to say something so extreme and then remain stubborn in the face of empirical, objective data is the adult equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going, "la la la la la no no no I can't hear you."

alett12
02-06-2012, 02:42 PM
;2532430']What don't you believe in, numbers? "Home runs allowed" and "ground ball ratio" aren't exactly new-age saberstats. And as Larkin88 said, FIP is park neutral. If you aren't heavy into advanced metrics, fine. But you can't act like they simply don't exist. Someone didn't just magically pull numbers out of nowhere and say, "THERE IT IS, FIELDING INDEPENDENT PITCHING. BOOM." It's based on strikeouts, batters walked, homeruns allowed... I think we can all admit those are essential parts of a pitcher's performance.

Greinke bests every Reds pitcher in most every conceivable statistic, even most traditional. What are you basing this opinion on, then? I could see someone predicting Latos, perhaps, to outperform him this year... but Cueto? That's a stretch. LEAKE? WHY.

Homeruns allowed I am ok with same with groundball to flyball and in cinci you need groundball guys BUT you are full of **** if you say FIP is BALLPARK NEUTRAL it is impossible to count in ballparks because you are more likely to give up a homer in cinci or denver than Seattle or San Diego due to the way the ballparks are built and the ball carrys. Now as for picking Cueto and Leake over Grienke, Cueto showed what what kind of pitcher he can be last year, do i expect him to pitch as perfectly as he did last year? No but he showed he is better than Grienke just look at Runs Allowed and Batting Average Against he wins those. Now, for Leake, he is just reaching his prime and he wants to be out there everyday and win everyday which is an intangible no metric can acount for, i'll just hope Leake proves me right on this one.

[deleted]
02-07-2012, 03:04 AM
Homeruns allowed I am ok with same with groundball to flyball and in cinci you need groundball guys BUT you are full of **** if you say FIP is BALLPARK NEUTRAL it is impossible to count in ballparks because you are more likely to give up a homer in cinci or denver than Seattle or San Diego due to the way the ballparks are built and the ball carrys. Now as for picking Cueto and Leake over Grienke, Cueto showed what what kind of pitcher he can be last year, do i expect him to pitch as perfectly as he did last year? No but he showed he is better than Grienke just look at Runs Allowed and Batting Average Against he wins those. Now, for Leake, he is just reaching his prime and he wants to be out there everyday and win everyday which is an intangible no metric can acount for, i'll just hope Leake proves me right on this one.

You're talking way over your head here. Pardon me when I said FIP was park neutral, I meant xFIP - and yes, it truly is, even if you think I'm "full of ****." Obviously I know that different parks have different effects on homeruns. Dimensions, the way the ball carries, etc. That's why they make these stats ballpark neutral. Can you accept that this is possible? It really isn't difficult to understand: xFIP uses the league average HR/FB ratio, thus normalizing any park advantages (and come on, it's not like Miller Park is a pitching haven, so Greinke didn't exactly have it easy). So, how did our pitchers do last year with normalized home run averages?

Cueto: 3.90
Leake: 3.68
Greinke: 2.56

These numbers are scaled to ERA standards and based entirely on things only a pitcher can control: walks, strikeouts, hit batsmen, and set to the NL's average homerun rate (so although I know you want to just dismiss this as sabermetric nonsense, come on - these are some key stats). Greinke clearly dominates. Yes, Cueto had a better batting average against least season - due highly in part to the differences in defenses (notice FIP neglects those?). Cincinnati had an elite defense, Milwaukee's was awful. This is why Cueto's BABIP was so low, his ERA was so far off from his FIP, and why people expect him to regress. Greinke actually had a slightly unlucky BABIP, so he could get better. Remember, FIP is a metric used to evaluate future performance. Keep in mind during the "he let up less runs" argument that Greinke pitched more innings and started more games.

As for the rest of your reasons - they're totally subjective conjecture. Cueto "showed what what kind of pitcher he can be last year"? Yes... a good one. But can't we use that argument for Greinke? Didn't he do the same? A... better one? And Mike Leake. Who, while good in his own right, is still considerably worse in every facet, who has not approached Greinke's numbers in any significant manner thus far, will outperform him because "he wants to be out there everyday and win everyday." Really?

You realize that this is why we can't judge players based on "intangibles," right? They're subjective. Saying "he's a winner who just goes out there and plays everday" means nothing. Watch, I'll show you:

"I watched every Reds game last year and man, Mike Leake was just phoning it in. He looked sluggish and apathetic on the mound, like he just didn't care."

See? It's especially bad because your "he wants to go out there and win" description could be slapped on any player in Major League Baseball. Literally anyone. This is why we have stats: to measure the stuff that CAN be measured and make evaluations from there.

Cueto and Leake are good pitchers. They could break away next year and be better than Greinke. Sure, it's completely possible. But there's not much to suggest it, so don't count on it.

[deleted]
02-07-2012, 03:49 PM
http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/20589/nl-central-showdown-position-rankings

There we go. I think he does a pretty good job, though I think he severely underrates Wainwright, and Hart is about two spaces too high. Braun's suspension should also have more weight, so I think his Brewers total should be a bit more down to earth.

He's really throwing us a bone with the Arroyo/Chapman ranking, though.

Pony Boy
02-07-2012, 04:33 PM
Yep, how do you give the Brewers full credit for Braun? He is going to miss almost a third of the season, won't have Prince batting behind him and presumably won't be on 'roids this season. He put on .150 points to his OPS in 2011 from 2010. I think he falls back to his 2010 level.

texasdave
02-07-2012, 04:39 PM
These numbers are scaled to ERA standards and based entirely on things only a pitcher can control: walks, strikeouts, hit batsmen, and set to the NL's average homerun rate (so although I know you want to just dismiss this as sabermetric nonsense, come on - these are some key stats).

All pitchers don't walk batters at the same rate, they don't strike them out at the same rate, the don't hit them at the same rate, they don't give up grounders or flies or line drives at the same rate. All pitchers don't do anything at the same rate. So why would you give them all the same home run rate? And, if you are going to give them all the same home run rate, why use it in your calculation at all?

I also believe it is incorrect to assume that pitchers have no control over the balls that are put into play. If that was the case there would be no ground ball pitchers, or fly ball pitchers and they would all have the same line drive rate. It is simply incorrect to say that pitchers have no control over those things.

Additionally, all pitchers don't have the same approach to pitching. Cueto is a good example. He has said he eschews the strike out and wants the batter to put the ball into play. It is obvious the negative repercussions this will have on his xFIP.

[deleted]
02-07-2012, 05:36 PM
All pitchers don't walk batters at the same rate, they don't strike them out at the same rate, the don't hit them at the same rate, they don't give up grounders or flies or line drives at the same rate. All pitchers don't do anything at the same rate. So why would you give them all the same home run rate? And, if you are going to give them all the same home run rate, why use it in your calculation at all?

I also believe it is incorrect to assume that pitchers have no control over the balls that are put into play. If that was the case there would be no ground ball pitchers, or fly ball pitchers and they would all have the same line drive rate. It is simply incorrect to say that pitchers have no control over those things.

Additionally, all pitchers don't have the same approach to pitching. Cueto is a good example. He has said he eschews the strike out and wants the batter to put the ball into play. It is obvious the negative repercussions this will have on his xFIP.

Because the strike zone is theoretically the same across all games, for all pitchers (discounting umpire discrepancies). A pitcher who strikes out a ton of batters does it of his own talent, and the inverse is true for walks. Home runs, of course, will fluctuate wildly depending on the park. And even so, that's why FIP AND xFIP exist - so you can use both in conjunction.

You're right that certain pitchers have tendencies toward FB or GB. But you can't use that as an argument to suggest pitchers have control of balls put in play - obviously once it is hit on the ground/in the air/as a line drive, the pitcher has no control. He might have some control over what kind of hit (if he's a sinkerballer, etc) but he can do nothing once the bat hits the ball, as studies suggest.

And maybe Cueto does have a "bat on the ball" philosophy. Maybe he truly does have the ability to pitch to contact. At that point, I would say... "why?" The absolute best result a pitcher can have in an at-bat is a strike-out, end of story. Pitchers who miss bats consistently have the highest rates of success. History has shown us this. Maddux is the exception that proves the rule.

Thomaswaynem
02-07-2012, 06:50 PM
I have already been on record as saying I don't like metric stats either, however I have to agree with the statisticians here. Greinke would be our best pitcher and to try to argue he would be a #3 or #4 on our team is a bit ridiculous.


With regards to Braun being too high, it still isn't a given that he is going to get the suspension. It does seem likely, but it still hasn't been decided upon.

faffy42
02-07-2012, 09:00 PM
Holy crap...when did we need to major in statistics to understand baseball....I just crapped my pants in ignorance trying to read this post

10xWSChamps
02-08-2012, 05:25 AM
I think Jason Motte at #5 is under-rating him quite a bit, he really came into his own last year and was downright filthy in the last 1/3 of the year and into the playoffs.

Marlon Byrd is ranked way to high IMO. I think he could be the worst of the bunch. I like Jon Jay's chances to have a better year then Drew Stubbs and Nyger Morgan. Looking over that list, it's clearly the weakest position overall in the NLC.

Lohse >> Volsted


Overall though it's a well thought out list. Except for Motte and Byrd, the rest are mostly quibbles.

Although I'm not sure the ranking system quite works. It's not a zero-sum game, meaning that Adam Wainwright as the first ranked #1 starter and Eric Badard as the first ranked #5 starter should not be equals as far as points go in a ranking system, for obvious reasons.