It's red-on-red violence between two founding franchises, but who'll wind up dead?
Back in the '70s, the Phillies and the Reds were half of a quartet of clubs that basically owned the National League. Dial up National League post-season action, and you'd get the Reds or the Dodgers from the old NL West, and the Pirates or the Phillies from the old NL East. That foursome won nine pennants and 18 of the 20 playoff slots from 1970-79; get picky and run from 1971-80, and it's still niine of 10 and 17 of 20. Yet for all that, this will be just the second time two of the league's founding franchises get to square off. You have to be a fan of a certain age or owe a bit to Joe Posnanski to have much memory of the 1976 NLCS, which was the Big Red Machine's stepping stone to its second (and last) pennant—they had to go through crushing the Phillies first, sweeping three in the best-of-five, with the third game decided in Cincinnati after an exchange of blown saves.
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.
Reds right fielder Jay Bruce doesn't bemoan his bad luck on balls in play.
Jay Bruce has the rudimentary understanding of sabermetrics and he grasps the concept of BABIP. However, the Reds right fielder declined the opportunity to write off his .223 batting average of 2009 to a poor BABIP.
Top prospects at short and catcher answer questions about their hitting, plus a pair of college arms garner extra attention.
J.P. Arencibia, C, High-A Dunedin (Blue Jays)
Matt Wieters gets a lot of attention, and rightly so, but there's another college-sourced catcher taken in the first-round of last year's draft who is impressing at High-A in his full-season debut. The 21st overall pick out of the University of Tennessee, Arencibia got off to a slow start in a pitcher's league, but his has been one of the hottest bats in the minors of late, with 18 hits, four doubles, three home runs, and 16 RBI in his last 16 games to raise his overall liine to .315/.342/.530 in 43 games. He's also showing improved defense behind the plate to accompany what has always been an above-average arm. He's not in Wieters' class as a prospect, but who is? Forget about that unfair comparison, and realize instead that the Blue Jays have a player in their system who projects as an above-average everyday big league catcher. Can more than half of the franchises in baseball even say that?
As in the AL, the Central division is as tight as can be, while in the East two Mets are predicted to take home some hardware along with their division flag.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the National League, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
Looking for a young player to add to your roster? Here are a few players to watch (or avoid), for this year and in keeper leagues.
Fantasy drafts are over, the real 25-man rosters have been announced, and we even have some baseball on record that didn't require an alarm clock to watch. Of course, this is the time of year where we lament the loss of sleeper picks who didn't make it out of spring training; the Reds alone demoted Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey, while the Marlins sent down top prospect Cameron Maybin. There are others, and some of them need the extra time in the minor leagues, but as a fantasy owner you want to know who is worth keeping on the roster, and who is just going to fall flat on their face and needs to be cut. That's what we will take a look at today, as I've picked a few players who I've received multiple questions about.
A tradition rolls into its third season, as Jim peeks at the projected VORP leaders among players without big-league experience.
Each year around this time, we take a look at the young players with no major league experience who have the highest PECOTA on a position-by-position basis. Some of these players are ready enough to pop, while others are still a few years away. Others still are non-prospects who just happen to be the most big-league friendly at their position, but who may never even see the majors owing to age and other factors. We're also going to look at how the players discussed in 2006 and 2007 fared. To be eligible for inclusion here, a player must have no major league experience, although I reserve the right to waive that restriction if a particular position runs thin. Even with that, it can be no more than a handful of plate appearances or batters faced.