Monday, March 22, 2010

NL East Preview Part I

Last but not least, the NL East:


Brian McCann-1
Carlos Ruiz-2
John Baker-3
Ivan Rodriguez-4
Rod Barajas-5

McCann wins a lot. The only catcher that you could definitely say is better than McCann is Joe Mauer. Since Joe Mauer plays in the AL Central, McCann is the #1 catcher in both the NL East and on Chedderhead. After McCann, it's the lesser of four evils....Ruiz has some decent upside but if he hasn't broken out already at 31 that's sort of a red light. I-Rod has had a great career and if we were talking about overall bodies of work he would be number 1 but he has seen better days. I could see Rod Barajas working out as a good signing, if he was a left handed hitter playing at Yankee Stadium. However, he ended up on a team that plays their home games at a stadium that suppresses his one strength (hitting home runs) which may explain how he ended up on my Razzball team.

First Base

1-Ryan Howard
2-Adam Dunn
3-Daniel Murphy
4-Troy Glaus
5-Gaby Sanchez

Howard continued to establish himself as one of the elite hitters in the game in 2009. I see no reason why this won't continue into the new decade. Adam Dunn has been and continues to be the Mr. 3TO.......Drawing Walks, Hitting Homers, Striking Out....Dunn has his game down to the basics. On name recognition, Glaus would get the nod over Murphy but a) it's tough to tell whether he will stay healthy all year and b) even if he is healthy, it's unclear whether he will return to form

Second Base

1-Chase Utley
2-Dan Uggla
3-Martin Prado
4-Adam Kennedy
5-Luis Castillo

Another position, another Phillies player amongst the elite of the game. Uggla has established himself as Adam-Dunn lite. Hits for a very pedestrian average, hits plenty of homers (30-ish but not as much as Dunn) he is drawing walks at an increased rate (14% vs. 18% for Dunn) but then again the power standards for second basemen is lower than for first baseman.


1-Hanley Ramirez
2-Jimmy Rollins
3-Yunel Escobar
4-Jose Reyes
5-Ian Desmond

One word.....LOADED. Han-Ram gives you 30-30 potential in any given year and makes a strong case for the best shortstop in the bigs (he even got drafted 1st overall in the league that Cheddarhead plays in). Yes, Jimmy Rollins had a rough season, it still seems odd that he won an MVP and doesn't draw very many walks. However, his struggles look to be linked to low BABIP and he should bounce-back strong in 2010. Escobar is a young talented player and will likely overtake Rollins as a player within a few years, I just don't think it happens this year. Jose Reyes is talented enough to be higher but with the injury problems he is facing/will inevitably face all year and the fact that the Mets fall back plan is Alex Cora, I can't really justify ranking him higher.

Third Base

1-Ryan Zimmerman
2-David Wright
3-Chipper Jones
4-Jorge Cantu
5-Placido Polanco

Seems to be a trend in the NL East where the best player by position is the best by a lot not a little. When that player happens to be the starting third baseman for Chedderhead, even better. Tough to tell what to expect out of David Wright in '10. He's still reliable to hit for a good average but whether his power remains at 2009 levels or returns to historical norms remains to be seen. His hr/fb% dropped last year which also coincided with moving to Citi Field. Too early to tell whether his power drop resulted just bad luck or the stadium. Regardless, this area of doubt is enough to drop him well behind Zimmerman but above Jones whose name recognition has overtaken production, Cantu who had one really good season and many indicators showing that his 2008 level of production is unlikely to replicate himself

Left Field

1-Josh Willingham
2-Raul Ibanez
3-Jason Bay
4-Matt Diaz
5-Chris Coghlan

An overall uninspiring group. I will always associate Josh Willingham as the guy who hit grand slams in consecutive innings off Jeff Suppan (making him single-handedly responsibility for my least favorite Brewers moment of the year). Given a chance to start he has a decent chance to go yard 30-35 times. Ibanez had a nice 2009....his home run totals were inflated by an abnormally high hr/fb ratio and had nothing to do with the weak steroid speculation or the bloggers that Ibanez thinks all live in their mothers basement. Jason Bay is a free agent bust waiting to happen. A combination of decreasing contact percentage (he dropped from 76% to 69% last year......only 3% away from becoming a Bill Hall All-Star) and moving to Citi Field where power goes to die.....a pretty good chance this goes down as another bad Mets contract before all is said and done.....also a generous ranking at 3rd....Also not sold on Coghlan replicating his Rookie of the Year Season.

Center Field

1-Nate McLouth
2-Carlos Beltran
3-Shane Victorino
4-Nyjer Morgan
5-Cameron Maybin

Another less than inspiring crop. McLouth is a decent player but definitely not a superstar. On talent and name-brand recognition Beltran should win this hands down but I have little to no faith in his ability to stay healthy. Victorino (like Bay) is a player i've never been too high on (being the same guy that hit a grand slam off C.C. Sabathia in the 2008 NLDS that made it official that the Brewers playoff appearance was only going to be a cameo don't help either) but get's the #3 spot by default. Not sold on Morgan replicating his strong 2009 season and not sold on Maybin.

Right Field

1-Jayson Werth
2-Cody Ross
3-Melky Cabrera
4-Elijah Dukes
5-Jeff Francoeur

Lost in all the Phillies firepower from players like Ibanez, Howard and Utley the fact that Werth hit 36 homers got lost in the mix. He comes back this year with an epic beard, a contract to play for and secondary numbers that indicate his power spike is legit....could he be dark horse MVP candidate.....not as crazy as it sounds. Cody Ross seems like a slighty improved version of Mike Cameron (at least as a hitter) slighty better average .260 range and 25 homers......but nothing that stands out....(well unless Ross hits 4 of said homers in a game or ever plays drunk and tells the media about it). Speaking of Mike Cameron, the player he almost (and thankfully) didn't get traded straight up for in the winter of 2008-2009 Cabrera gets the #3 spot mostly due to his competition being Dukes who seems determined to not live up to his talent and one of the members of my Razzball team, Jeff Francoeur.

Standings after Part I:

Phillies 17
Braves 22
Nationals 25
Marlins 27
Mets 29

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