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Thread: Looking at our division

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  1. #1
    Member Tom Servo's Avatar
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    Looking at our division

    Now granted it is only mid-December and there is still plenty of time left for teams to improve upon their current roster, but I gotta say so far that I don't see any of our now 4 remaining division mates as being notably improved.

    Brewers - For a team that has often been very active in past offeasons, I'm really surprised so far by their inaction. Their rotation is Gallardo and a series of question marks. I could see them going after Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson, but I'm not sure if they are willing to spend the money they will be looking for. I see them more so looking at guys like Brett Myers and Carl Pavano and perhaps trying for another Greinke/Marcum type trade. They have some sluggers, but right now the feckless Carlos Gomez is penciled in at CF and it seems likely that Jean Segura could have growing pains at SS.

    Pirates - They upgraded their catcher position and that's it. Their rotation is a series of question marks after A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. They are basically the same team they were that lost all those games in August/September just with a better catcher. Can't write them off completely, but at some point they are going to have to actually prove they can have a winning season.

    Cubs - Epstein has done some nice patchwork with the rotation, acquiring solid starters like Scott Feldman and Scott Baker to go along with Matt Garza (who could still be traded) and Jeff Samardzija. Staying healthy is not the strong suit of these guys though. Like the Pirates, their lineup so far is basically the same barring a Soriano trade. It seems unlikely they will lose 100 games again this year but it's very, very hard to see them as a threat to the division right now.

    Cardinals - So far, traded Skip Schumaker and signed Randy Choate and Ty Wigginton. Obviously their lineup is set and their rotation is pretty much as well, though losing Lohse will hurt and Wainwright/Carpenter/Garcia each had injury/effectiveness problems in 2012. Still, they remain the biggest threat to a Red October.

    This is all just one man's opinion though. Feel free to chime in.
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  2. #2
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at our division

    Good thread, I was thinking about this the other day. The Cubs and the Pirates are nowhere near as good as us in my opinion, the Brewers lost Marcum and Greinke from last year's opening day starting rotation, and the Cards haven't really done anything to get any better. Granted, I fully expect the Cards and Brewers to do SOMETHING before spring training. But not sure it will put either one of them on par with us.

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    Re: Looking at our division

    The Cards were plenty good last year, actually besting us in run differential.

    With a number of decent young pitching, they aren't going away anytime soon.

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    Re: Looking at our division

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    The Cards were plenty good last year, actually besting us in run differential.

    With a number of decent young pitching, they aren't going away anytime soon.
    Young pitching is always a huge question mark, and Carpenter and Garcia have a ton of question marks on their game going into next year. Can either last the whole year? And with Lohse leaving, that's another hole it creates. There's a lot of potential there, but also a lot of question marks. They bested us in run differential, but I think that's deceiving. After an unbelievably torrid April, they were a pretty average team.

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    Re: Looking at our division

    Quote Originally Posted by cincrazy View Post
    After an unbelievably torrid April, they were a pretty average team.
    If there is one thing the Cards are not, it's an average team.

    They have some extremely high end prospects like Taveras, and some unusually high end pitching propsects.

    Their team is pretty much complete and there is no reason why the Reds and the Casds should not be battling for the division all year, with the loser being a wild card team.
    Last edited by PuffyPig; 12-14-2012 at 10:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at our division

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    If there is one thing the Cards are not, it's an average team.

    They have some extremely high end prospects like Taveras, and some unusually high end pitching propsects.

    Their team is pretty much complete and there is no reason why the Reds and the Casds should not be battling for the division all year, with the loser being a wild card team.
    I agree with you.
    Wainwright will be another year removed from TJ surgery.
    They are loaded with young good pitching, they can easily absorb Lohse leaving.
    I'm not sure how close Taveras is to the big leagues, but anyhow, they have chips to make a big move if they want to. In fact, I will be surprised if they don't add a major player (either a bat or a pitcher to replace Lohse) before opening day.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at our division

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    The Cards were plenty good last year, actually besting us in run differential.

    With a number of decent young pitching, they aren't going away anytime soon.
    I agree. I really like their young pitching and while Wainwright and Garcia have had their ups and downs, by and large they are really good pitchers. Carpenter is Carpenter and I wouldn't count him out no matter how much we wish he would fall on his face.
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    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at our division

    I think the Cards will be in the race all summer and will push Cincinnati hard. The Pirates might make some noise but will ultimately fall off again; they are a few years away from being a force to be reckoned with. The Brewers need to get very lucky to contend but with the right moves and the right circumstances could be there at the end. The Cubs are flat out bad.

  9. #9
    The rest is drama. marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at our division

    I look for a complete collapse from the Pirates. Not even an early season mirage. I think last year was totally disheartening, If this finally makes them dump Neal Huntington, this will be tor the best.

    The Brewers have a lot of work to do to contend again, and I don't see them getting the necessary pitching.

    The Cubs are a long way away still.

    The Cards remain solid. This should be a two team race.

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    Re: Looking at our division

    The Cardinals are still banking on a ton of offensive production from often injured and aging superstars...

    Oscar Tavares scares the heck out of me though...
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    Re: Looking at our division

    Not so sure about the Cardinals next season.

    They lose their Ace in Lohse with no one to fill that role. Wainwright should be better than he was last season, but history tells us he won't ever be as good he was before TJ surgery.

    But even if he does get back to Ace status, the rest of the rotation will be Lance Lynn, who fell apart after the league saw him enough times; Jake Westbrook, who will be 35, and was basically back of the rotation stuff at age 34; Jaime Garcia, whose coming off a big injury, and a down year, and Joe Kelly, who got knocked around his second time around the league. And while Miller and Rosenthal have nice arms, rookie pitchers are a huge risk.

    As for offense, they had a lot of guys outperform their talent and/or age, which is not likely to happen again. Beltran rarely has two good years in a row, and really wore down the second half last season, as did Furcal, who might be toast. No way Allen Craig OPS's near .900 again. And Yadier Molina's three wishes probably run out this season (or whatever else he used recently that comes out of a bottle to help his hitting.)

    I guess you can assume that they will always have their Cardinal magic, but in terms of talent, they aren't that good of a team.
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    Re: Looking at our division

    DP
    Last edited by 757690; 12-15-2012 at 03:30 AM.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

  13. #13
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    Re: Looking at our division

    The Cardinals will still be our main competition. Barring any injuries this Reds team should run away with the central as we did last year. Our lineup is better for 2013. our starting pitching should be better with the addition of Chapman and another year under the belts of Latos and Bailey. Our bullpen may not be as strong as it was last year but a minor tweak here or there will solve that issue. This Reds team is built very solidly for the next 3 to 5 years IMO. Almost like the Indians teams of the 90's only lets hope we get to hang a banner.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Looking at our division

    The differences between the projected St. Louis and Cincinnati lineups are health, age, 2B, starting rotation upside, and the pen.

    Health
    In short, the Cardinals are banking on oft-injured players at multiple positions. Freese, Furcal, Beltran, Jay-- all missed chunks of season last year and half of their offensive starters have significant injury histories. In the age of PED testing, counting on so many oft-injured players seems to be a very large gamble only a few teams take. Some years, everything comes together. Most years, however, the players are indeed what they say they are on the back of their bubble gum cards.

    Age
    Quick quiz: how many St. Louis regulars are over the age of 30? 35? Their lineup has three guys looking at AARP subscriptions and two more on the backside of 30. Only Jon Jay, Allen Craig, and David Freese (perhaps David Descalo) are in their prime seasons.

    Second Base
    In analyzing the teams, it pretty much all comes down to Brandon Phillips.
    Joey Votto >> Allen Craig
    Brandon Phillips >>>>> Danield Descalo
    Todd Frazier < David Freese
    Zack Cozart > Rafael Furcal
    Yadier Molina >>> Ryan Hanigan
    Matt Holiday > Ryan Ludwick
    Choo >> Jon Jay
    Jay Bruce = Carlos Beltran
    Yadier Molina < Choo

    The Cardinals can come close to matching the Cincinnati lineup when both teams are healthy. However, neither Descalo nor Wiggington are close to Phillips.

    Even if you add Oscar Taveras to the St. Louis lineup, who's he going to replace? Beltran? Likely. Jay? Perhaps. But, because both players are already very productive, the Cardinals gain little even if Taveras is the real deal (and, by almost all accounts, he's a year away and entirely for real).

    Starting Rotation Upside
    Carpenter is old. 37. He's been ridden hard and needs good stuff. There are huge question marks surrounding him. Adam Wainwright had a very good year coming back from TJ surgery, but I think we all agree he wasn't the Wainwright of old. Jaime Garcia struggled (and apparently ticked off teammates). Jake Westbrook is hurt, old, and largely a meh starter.

    Wainwright = Cueto
    Carpenter < Latos
    Garcia > Bailey
    Chapman > Miller
    Westbrook < Arroyo

    The Bullpens
    St. Louis really struggled with their pen for about three months last season. The Alphabet Brigade couldn't duplicate its post-season success from two years ago, and there just aren't that many high leverage arms for help on the St. Louis farm. In fact, depending on what's done with Leake/ Chapman, the Reds could dominate the pen rankings fairly easily.
    J. Motte = Broxton
    M. Boggs < Sean Marshall
    E. Mujica < Hoover
    M. Rzepczynski < LeCure
    T. Rosenthal = Arredondo
    R. Choate = Simon
    F. Salas < Ondrusek/ Simon/ Leake
    Last edited by Scrap Irony; 12-15-2012 at 08:10 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Looking at our division

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    The differences between the projected St. Louis and Cincinnati lineups are health, age, 2B, starting rotation upside, and the pen.

    Health
    In short, the Cardinals are banking on oft-injured players at multiple positions. Freese, Furcal, Beltran, Jay-- all missed chunks of season last year and half of their offensive starters have significant injury histories. In the age of PED testing, counting on so many oft-injured players seems to be a very large gamble only a few teams take. Some years, everything comes together. Most years, however, the players are indeed what they say they are on the back of their bubble gum cards.

    Age
    Quick quiz: how many St. Louis regulars are over the age of 30? 35? Their lineup has three guys looking at AARP subscriptions and two more on the backside of 30. Only Jon Jay, Allen Craig, and David Freese (perhaps David Descalo) are in their prime seasons.

    Second Base
    In analyzing the teams, it pretty much all comes down to Brandon Phillips.
    Joey Votto >> Allen Craig
    Brandon Phillips >>>>> Danield Descalo
    Todd Frazier < David Freese
    Zack Cozart > Rafael Furcal
    Yadier Molina >>> Ryan Hanigan
    Matt Holiday > Ryan Ludwick
    Choo >> Jon Jay
    Jay Bruce = Carlos Beltran
    Yadier Molina < Choo

    The Cardinals can come close to matching the Cincinnati lineup when both teams are healthy. However, neither Descalo nor Wiggington are close to Phillips.

    Even if you add Oscar Taveras to the St. Louis lineup, who's he going to replace? Beltran? Likely. Jay? Perhaps. But, because both players are already very productive, the Cardinals gain little even if Taveras is the real deal (and, by almost all accounts, he's a year away and entirely for real).

    Starting Rotation Upside
    Carpenter is old. 37. He's been ridden hard and needs good stuff. There are huge question marks surrounding him. Adam Wainwright had a very good year coming back from TJ surgery, but I think we all agree he wasn't the Wainwright of old. Jaime Garcia struggled (and apparently ticked off teammates). Jake Westbrook is hurt, old, and largely a meh starter.

    Wainwright = Cueto
    Carpenter < Latos
    Garcia > Bailey
    Chapman > Miller
    Westbrook < Arroyo

    The Bullpens
    St. Louis really struggled with their pen for about three months last season. The Alphabet Brigade couldn't duplicate its post-season success from two years ago, and there just aren't that many high leverage arms for help on the St. Louis farm. In fact, depending on what's done with Leake/ Chapman, the Reds could dominate the pen rankings fairly easily.
    J. Motte = Broxton
    M. Boggs < Sean Marshall
    E. Mujica < Hoover
    M. Rzepczynski < LeCure
    T. Rosenthal = Arredondo
    R. Choate = Simon
    F. Salas < Ondrusek/ Simon/ Leake
    You gotta figure 18 game winner Lance Lynn (with the 5th best K/9 ratio among starters in the majors) makes the team.


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