CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/25)
<< Previous Column
Prospectus Preview: NL... (03/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL... (03/25)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL... (03/25)

March 25, 2014

Prospectus Preview

NL Central 2014 Preseason Preview

by Ken Funck and Harry Pavlidis


In the week leading up to Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus is conducting a division-by-division dialogue, asking and answering five questions about each team. Below, Ken Funck and Harry Pavlidis discuss the National League Central.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

18 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Sharky

"Long duration spell"
"Thing one and thing two"

Can't tell you how much I enjoyed those references.

Mar 25, 2014 05:24 AM
rating: 0
 
Plucky

Question for discussion: In 2016, will the NL Central be the strongest division in baseball? I'd say there's at least a 1/3 chance. The Cubs, Cards, and Bucs wll have fearsome amounts of talent, and even if the Reds and Brewers are weaker links their talent levels will still be quite respectable

Mar 25, 2014 06:52 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Having a one-third chance sounds solid to me, since the other contenders would probably be the AL East and AL West. As you say, the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates all have tremendous young talent, and the Reds aren't pikers. Milwaukee may have the least impressive long-term outlook, but they still have great young-ish talent up the middle, plus Ryan Braun.

Mar 25, 2014 09:17 AM
 
Plucky

Just imagine what it it would look like in the alternate universe where the Brewers rather than the Astros were booted to the AL last year

Mar 25, 2014 09:50 AM
rating: 1
 
RossBukouricz7

Ben Francisco? Not that it really matters since Juan Francisco is getting released.

Mar 25, 2014 07:18 AM
rating: 0
 
INWarner413

Braun's career SLG is .564, not .464.

Mar 25, 2014 07:22 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Fixed.

Mar 25, 2014 07:24 AM
 
smocon

normalized on account of PED use.

Mar 25, 2014 12:01 PM
rating: 3
 
surfdent48

Yadier is a huge bonus for his pitchers. Just ask the guys who have been stuck for years with crummy catchers.

Mar 25, 2014 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
jdeich

Has anyone taken a good look at how pitchers perform (relative to predictions) when they join or depart the Cardinals during Yadier's career? There's the obvious stuff (throwing out basestealers is good for the ERA), but is there a reliable trend in BB%, K%, etc? If so, is it explainable just by framing/etc., or does it imply the pitcher is actually throwing better?

Mar 25, 2014 10:10 AM
rating: 0
 
Joe

Here's the part I don't get: This Cardinals writeup was basically pornography. Ken literally had to force himself to say anything bad about them. Yet they're projected for 88 wins, 9 fewer than last year.

Now, I've heard the basic explanation for this, which to my understanding is basically: PECOTA will tend not to predict 95-win seasons; if a team wins 95 games, it's generally because it performed to its 80th or 90th percentile PECOTA projections, which, hey, good for them, but PECOTA isn't designed to identify those in advance.

But then right there are the Dodgers, projected for 98 wins. I mean, if this level of enthusiasm = 88 wins, what's that writeup going to be? Just a link to an Isaac Hayes Spotify playlist?

Mar 25, 2014 09:35 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

I seriously hope when the NL West writeup comes out later thsi week, it will now include a link to an Isaac Hayes Spotify playlist. That's awesome.

The primary difference PECOTA seems to see between the Dodgers and Cardinals is proven veteran pitching vs. unproven young pitching. PECOTA buys into Wacha (projected 3.2 WARP), but not so much with Lynn (1.3), Miller (0.4) and Kelly (-0.3); compare this to Ryu (2.4), Haren (1.8) and Beckett (1.1). I personally think that undersells the young Cards and oversells the veteran Dodgers, but I can see where PECOTA gets that from.

A lot of my enthusiasm for the Cards (if that's a sentence a Cubs fan is allowed to type) isn't so much that they're better than the Dodgers, it's that they've built this team with a payroll half that of the Dodgers, and are so well-positioned for the long-term with young, cheap starting pitching and yet more high-end prospects on the way.

Mar 25, 2014 11:10 AM
 
Joe

This, and your reply to the comment below this one, are both helpful in providing context and much appreciated.

Mar 25, 2014 17:40 PM
rating: 0
 
maphal

I respect PECOTA quite a bit. He's a funny guy and great at parties. But the Cardinals seem like a lock for 95 wins. Virtually zero weaknesses. So 88 seems like the low end. I'm a Reds fan, btw.

Mar 25, 2014 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

I agree with you that the Cardinals should win more than 90. One of the things we know that PECOTA doesn't take into account is that the Cardinals have so much depth and positional flexibility, they're in a great position to call up Taveras (who doesn't have a job yet), or trade second-tier prospects, to fill any holes that develop due to injury or ineffectiveness.

Mar 25, 2014 11:22 AM
 
BrewersTT

Ultimately the regular season wins won't matter that much, unless they slip to the point where they can be caught. At this far remove, I'd still like the Cardinals to handle the Dodgers in the post-season.

Mar 26, 2014 07:47 AM
rating: 0
 
oldbopper

When I saw that PECOTA gave Beckett a 1.1 WARP, it really caused a great deal of doubt about the efficacy and accuracy of PECOTA. I know PECOTA has a track record but the list of pitchers that have been worse than Beckett has been since late 2011 is very short, in fact there might not even be a list and to imagine him being better than either Miller or Kelly is unimaginable.

Mar 25, 2014 19:50 PM
rating: 1
 
jfranco77

The only thing that surprises me about PECOTA giving the Cards 88 wins is that PECOTA seems to hate the rest of the contenders (Reds 81, Pirates 79) so where did those wins go? I guess that's what happens when you give the Brewers 80 (maybe, I guess) and the Cubs 73 (probably not gonna happen).

Mar 26, 2014 05:11 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/25)
<< Previous Column
Prospectus Preview: NL... (03/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL... (03/25)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL... (03/25)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
The BP Wayback Machine: Can Spring Training ...
Fantasy Article The Adjuster: Relief Pitchers
Fantasy Article Fantasy Three-Year Projections: Relief Pitch...
Fantasy Article The -Only League Landscape: American League ...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Don't Call It A Committee!
The Lineup Card: Nine Ways to Improve Your F...
Fantasy Article Player Profile: David Robertson

MORE FROM MARCH 25, 2014
Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL East 2014 Preseason P...
Premium Article Notes from the Field: Backfield Scouting Not...
Premium Article Moonshot: Attrition Over Time
Premium Article Minor League Update: Spring Training Games o...
Tout Wars Recap
Fantasy Article Daily League Strategy: Introduction
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: ERA

MORE BY KEN FUNCK
2014-04-07 - BP Unfiltered: Pineda is Back
2014-04-03 - Pitcher Profile: New Arms (and Pitches) of t...
2014-03-31 - Framing the Future
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: NL Central 2014 Preseaso...
2014-03-08 - BP Announcements: Prospects, Pizza, and More...
2014-03-03 - Framing and Blocking Pitches: A Regressed, P...
2013-12-19 - Baseball Prospectus News: A New Direction fo...
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS PREVIEW
2014-03-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: NL West 2014 Preseason P...
2014-03-26 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL Central 2014 Preseaso...
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL East 2014 Preseason P...
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: NL Central 2014 Preseaso...
2014-03-24 - Prospectus Preview: NL East 2014 Preseason P...
2013-03-29 - Prospectus Preview: These Questions Three: T...
2013-03-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: These Questions Three: T...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-03-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL West 2014 Preseason P...
2014-03-27 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: NL West 2014 Preseason P...
2014-03-26 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL Central 2014 Preseaso...
2014-03-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Preview: AL East 2014 Preseason P...