Sunday, April 19, 2009

Week 2 NL Central Power Rankings

1. Chicago Cubs (7-4) - It was pretty hard to choose who deserves the top spot, but I had to give it to the Cubs, especially after taking 2/3 from the Cardinals this weekend. To be quite honest, the Cardinals could have easily won all three games this weekend, just as the Cubs could have won the first game. Both bullpens so far look shaky, but Carlos Marmol gives the Cubs a slight edge in my book as of right now...but that could quickly change. 

2. St. Louis Cardinals (8-5) - The Cardinals offense is on fire right now. Clearly Joe Thurston and Brian Barden are going to come down to earth, but I think that will be about it. Ryan Ludwick seems to really be in the same zone he was in last year, and I fully expect him to give Albert protection all year round. I don't think Chris Duncan's average will keep up, but I think he will have enough pop to scare opposing pitchers. Even with losing Chris Carpenter they should have enough to stay right at the top the way Lohse and Wellemeyer are throwing strikes. Adam Wainwright needs to stop throwing so many pitches, but it seems he always does what he has to do on 3-2 counts. 

3. Cincinnati Reds (6-5) - They are kind of quietly above .500, which is a good starting point for a team trying to jump tiers in a division. They have gone 2-0-1 in series against teams in the Central, which is also a good starting point. A series win against the Cubs would be a great way to establish themselves early in the season.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6) - The P's (as a friend of mine refers to them), have two things going for them that they didn't last season. They haven't been beat up by the Cubs as they did in the first few weeks last year. Also, and more importantly, Paul Malholm and Zach Duke have both looked solid so far, going a combined 4-0. Matt Capps too has looked solid so far, which is more than most teams in this division can say for their closer. 

5/6. Houston Astros/Milwaukee Brewers (4-8) - I know this a cop out. However, I couldn't pick between the Astros 36 runs scored this year (lowest in the division) or the Brewers 60 runs allowed (highest in the division). Lance Berkman really needs to get things going. 

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