Central Intelligence

Week 18: NL Central deadline moves, July review

standings

NL Central Power Rankings Week 18

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 8/2/14.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 2)

59-51, 2nd Place, 1.0 GB, 409 RS, 407 RA (+2)

The Cardinals may have just gone 3-3 over the last week, but they now sit just one game behind Milwaukee. The Cardinals took two of three from the Brewers over the weekend, and if the playoffs started today, the Cards would be playing in the wild card game.

The Cardinals were busy at the deadline. They acquired starting pitchers Justin Masterson (20 GS, 5.63 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4.04 FIP, 0.9 WAR, 8.39 K/9, 5.11 BB/9) from the Indians, and John Lackey (21 GS, 3.60 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 3.57 FIP, 7.60 K/9, 2.10 BB/9) from the Red Sox. They did however pay a hefty a price for both pitchers.. The Cardinals gave away struggling OF/1B Allen Craig (.237/.281/.348, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 81 wRC+, -0.6 WAR), pitcher Joe Kelly (7 GS, 4.37 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3.94 FIP, 6.43 K/9, 2.57 BB/9), and a nice OF prospect – James Ramsey to the Indians (who is now listed as the Tribe’s 5th top prospect on MLB.com). The Cardinals will now have a great rotation of Wainwright, Lynn, Lackey, Masterson, and Miller. Michael Wacha could also return in a month, and that would make the Cardinals rotation even stronger.

MLB Pitching Ranks: 3.52 ERA (10th), 1.24 WHIP (9th), 3.52 FIP (7th)

MLB Batting Ranks: 95 wRC+ (13th), 406 Runs (29th), .691 OPS (21st)

Starting Pitchers in July

cards sp

Who’s Hot (month of July)

  • Matt Carpenter: .303/.406/.427, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 16 BB, 141 wRC+, 1.0 WAR
  • Kolten Wong: .284/.319/.567, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 6 SB, 147 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Jhonny Peralta: .289/.355/.446, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 125 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Matt Holliday: .269/.374/.513, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 151 wRC+, 0.6 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of July)

  • Allen Craig: .122/.204/.204, 6 for 49, 13 K, 17 wRC+, -0.5 WAR
  • Oscar Taveras: .222/.246/.302, 14 for 63, 52 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Tony Cuz: .189/.250/.243, 7 for 37, 11 K, 32 wRC+, -0.2 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (8:15), Wed (8:15), Thurs (7:15) vs Boston
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) at Baltimore

2. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 1)

61-51, 1st Place, 487 RS, 458 RA (+29)

The Brewers have allowed the Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds to inch even closer over the last week. The Brewers lost series against the Rays and Cardinals this week, and have lost 5 of their last 7.

The Brewers only trade deadline move was acquiring OF Gerardo Parra (.256/.304/.359, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 6 SB, 80 wRC+, -0.5 WAR) from the Diamondbacks.

MLB Pitching Ranks: 3.71 ERA (13th), 1.24 WHIP (9th), 3.98 FIP (23rd)

MLB Batting Ranks: 98 wRC+ (11th), 485 Runs (8th), .722 OPS (10th)

Starting Pitchers in July

brew sp

Who’s Hot (month of July)

  • Mark Reynolds: .200/.290/.509, 5 HR, 7 RBI, 120 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Ryan Braun: .277/.326/.494, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 126 wRC+, 0.4 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of July)

  • Aramis Ramirez: .233/.263/.278, 21 for 90, 16 K, 48 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Jean Segura: .179/.220/.269, 14 for 78, 11 K, 30 wRC+, -0.3 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10), Thurs (2;10) vs San Francisco
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs LA Dodgers

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 3)

59-52, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB, 468 RS, 459 RA (+9)

The Pirates are off to a nice 9-6 start to the second half, but they could have suffered a devastating loss on Sunday. Andrew McCutchen left the game with what could be an oblique injury, which could have him out for weeks. McCutchen is 7th in the MLB in WAR (4.5), and if he misses significant time, the Pirates are in major trouble.

The Pirates didn’t make any deals at the deadline.

MLB Pitching Ranks: 3.72 ERA (14th), 1.29 WHIP (15th)

MLB Batting Ranks: 106 wRC+ (6th), 466 Runs (9th), .726 OPS (6th)

Starting Pitchers in July

bucs sp

Who’s Hot (month of July)

  • Neil Walker: .316/.383/.558, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 11 BB, 1 SB, 166 wRC+, 1.0 WAR
  • Andrew McCutchen: .280/.360/.550, 11 BB, 5 SB, 152 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
  • Josh Harrison: .272/.306/.489, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 6 SB, 122 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Russell Martin: .306/.409/.389, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 11 BB, 131 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Jordy Mercer: .319/.385/.440, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 10 BB, 1 SB, 126 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
  • Travis Snider: .393/.452/.750, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 240 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of July)

  • Gregory Polanco: .214/.269/.327, 21 for 98, 25 K, 68 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Gaby Sanchez: .174/.328/.217, 8 for 46, 9 K, 70 wRC+, -0.2 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (7:05) vs Miami
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (7:05), Sun (1:35) vs San Diego

4. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4)

56-55, 4th Place, 4.5 GB, 417 RS, 400 RA (+17)

The Reds just won’t go away quietly in the NL Central. The Reds won 3 of 4 over the weekend in Miami, and are now 4.5 games back. The Reds offense has showed some life to help with their tremendous starting pitching, but it will be hard for the Reds offense to find any consistency playing replacement or below replacement level players at three positions.

The Reds were quiet at the trade deadline. The Reds are stuck with a record they felt was too close to be sellers, yet too far away to be buyers. Our own Steve Mancuso wrote about the Reds being quiet at the deadline earlier this week. For the Reds, it’s all going to be about getting Votto and Phillips back. If the Reds can get those two guys back, and playing productive, the Reds could make a serious run at the playoffs.

MLB Pitching Ranks: 3.39 ERA (8th), 1.20 WHIP (5th), 3.87 FIP (18th)

MLB Batting Ranks: 85 wRC+ (29th), 410 Runs (28th), .673 OPS (27th)

Starting Pitchers in July

reds sp

Who’s Hot (month of July)

  • Devin Mesoraco: .267/.345/.493, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 129 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
  • Ramon Santiago: .268/.368/.357, 10 BB, 6 RBI, 116 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Brayan Pena: .294/.314/.441, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 109 wRC+, 0.3 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of July)

  • Jay Bruce: .139/.209/.278, 11 for 79, 26 K, 29 wRC+, -0.7 WAR
  • Skip Schumaker: .224/.308/.310, 7 for 58, 14 K, 75 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Zack Cozart: .208/.265/.234, 16 for 77, 12 K, 40 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05) at Cleveland
  • Wed (7:10), Thurs (7:10) vs Cleveland
  • Fri (7:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (1:10) vs Miami

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5)

47-63, 5th Place, 13.0 GB, 429 RS, 468 RA (-39)

Rizzo, Coghlan, and Alcantara had tremendous months of July (as you will see below), combining for 3.1 WAR. The Cubs have won 5 of their last 7, including taking two of three from the Dodgers in LA over the weekend.

The Cubs traded away reliever James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio to Atlanta for catching prospect Victor Caratini (who is now listed as the Cubs 13th best prospect on MLB.com). The Cubs picked up SP/RP Felix Doubront (17 G, 10 GS, 6.07 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 5.30 FIP, 6.52 K/9, 3.94 BB/9) from the Red Sox for a PTBNL. The Cubs also of course made the big deal at the beginning of July, when they traded Samardzija and Hammel to the A’s for Addison Russell (7th top prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com).

MLB Pitching Ranks: 3.84 ERA (18th), 1.29 WHIP (15th), 3.44 FIP (3rd)

MLB Batting Ranks: 87 wRC+ (27th), 422 Runs (24th), .683 OPS (24th)

Starting Pitchers in July

cubs sp

Who’s Hot (month of July)

  • Anthony Rizzo: .308/.395/.588, 8 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 9 BB, 166 wRC+, 1.1 WAR
  • Chris Coghlan: .376/.449/.600, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB, 11 BB, 191 wRC+, 1.1 WAR
  • Arismendy Alcantara: .253/.337/.427, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 SB, 8 BB, 112 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
  • Ryan Sweeney: .288/.339/.519, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 134 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Justin Ruggiano: .338/.350/.486, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB, 127 wRC+, 0.4 WAR

Who’s Cold (month of July)

  • Junior Lake: .114/.133/.159, 5 for 44, 13 K, -30 wRC+, -0.6 WAR
  • Nate Schierholtz: .164/.179/.273, 9 for 55, 14 K, 17 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Starlin Castro: .221/.291/.260, 23 for 104, 20 K, 51 wRC+, -0.3 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (8:40), Wed (8:40), Thurs (3:10) at Colorado
  • Fri (4:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) vs Tampa Bay

NL Central Players of the July

  • Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: .308/.395/.588, 8 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 9 BB, 166 wRC+, 1.1 WAR

  • Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 5 GS, 33.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 32 K, 12 BB, 1.0 WAR

NL Central Players of the Week

  • Josh Harrison, Pirates: .452/.500/1.129, 5 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB,  352 wRC+, 1.2 WAR 

  • Homer Bailey, Reds: 15.0 IP, 1.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 8 K, 4 BB, 0.4 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

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