NL Central Power Rankings Week 14

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 7/5/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week 1):

52-37, 1st Place, 393 RS, 362 RA (+31)

The Brewers have lost 5 of their last 6 games, and their lead in the NL Central is down to just 4.5 games.  Ryan Braun was out of the lineup the last two days, suffering from back spasms.

The Brewers will send four players to the All-Star game (Gomez and Ramirez are starters):

  • C – Jonathan Lucroy: .333/.402/.522, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 157 wRC+, 4.1 WAR
  • CF – Carlos Gomez: .303/.369/.511, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 14 SB, 146 wRC+, 3.6 WAR
  • 3B – Aramis Ramirez: .286/.339/.476, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 126 wRC+, 1.5 WAR
  • RP – Francisco Rodriguez: 42.1 IP, 2.34 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, 10.42 K/9, 1.91 BB/9, 0.4 WAR

Starting Pitchers this week

brew sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Ryan Braun: .313/.353/.750, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 201 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Jonathan Lucroy: .294/.350/.647, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 164 wRC+, 0.3 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Jean Segura: .071/.133/.071, 1 for 14, -47 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Mark Reynolds: .000/.154/.000, 0 for 11, 5 K, -46 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Carlos Gomez: .143/.250/.214, 2 for 14, 33 wRC+, 0.0 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10), Thurs (2:10) vs Philadelphia
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) vs St. Louis

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 3):

47-42, 3rd Place, 5.0 GB, 328 RS, 312 RA (+16)

The Cardinals have lost 5 of 8, and failed to gain ground during the Brewers recent struggles.  The St. Louis rotation is continuing to battle through injuries, with Wacha, Kelly, and Garcia on the DL.  ESPN’s David Schoenfield believes this could lead the Cardinals to acquiring David Price. 

The Cardinals will send four players to the All-Star Game (Molina is a starter):

  • C – Yadier Molina: .294/.347/.416, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 115 wRC+, 2.5 WAR
  • 3B – Matt Carpenter: .286/.378/.393, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 123 wRC+, 3.0 WAR
  • SP – Adam Wainwright: .124.0 IP, 1.89 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 0.90 WHIP, 7.69 K/9, 1.74 BB/9, 3.1 WAR
  • RP – Pat Neshek: 35.0 IP, 0.77 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 0.57 WHIP,  9.00 K/9, 1.03 BB/9, 1.2 WAR

Starting Pitchers this week 

cards sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Yadier Molina: .476/.542/.571, 2 RBI, 224 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Matt Carpenter: .435/.500/.609, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 218 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Mark Ellis: .200/.200/.267, 3 for 15, 4 K, 26 wRC+, 0.0 WAR
  • Jon Jay: .176/.222/.294, 3 for 17, 45 wRC+, 0.0 WAR
  • Matt Adams: .235/.278/.294, 4 for 17, 45 wRC+, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:15), Tues (8:15), Wed (8:00), Thurs (7:15) vs Pittsburgh
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) at Milwaukee

3. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 2):

45-42, 4th Place, 6.0 GB, 333 RS, 318 RA (+15)

The Reds entered this week winners in 8 of 9, coming off an impressive 4-game sweep at San Francisco.  They however got swept in San Diego to the lowly Padres, but recovered by taking 2 of 3 over the weekend against Milwaukee.

Despite some overreaction by the Cincy media, it doesn’t appear like Joey Votto is getting traded.  He is however reported to be heading to the DL, again.

The Reds had four players selected to the All-Star game:

  • 3B – Todd Frazier: .288/.354/.500, 17 HR, 47 RBI, 13 SB, 138 wRC+, 3.5 WAR
  • C – Devin Mesoraco: .307/.372/.631, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 177 wRC+, 2.7 WAR
  • SP – Johnny Cueto: 131.1 IP, 1.99 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, 8.91 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 2.9 WAR
  • RP – Aroldis Chapman: 24.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.80 FIP, 0.81 WHIP, 17.15 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, 1.4 WAR

Starting Pitchers this week

reds sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Devin Mesoraco: .308/.357/.692, 1 HR, 191 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Todd Frazier: .348/.400/.391, 1 RBI, 2 SB, 126 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Skip Schumaker: .400/.438/.467, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 158 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Jay Bruce: .000/.045/.000, 0 for 21, 6 K, -97 wRC+, -0.5 WAR
  • Brandon Phillips: .158/.227/.158, 3 for 19, 6 K, 8 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Joey Votto: .200/.238/.250, 4 for 20, 5 K, 33 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Zack Cozart: .158/.200/.211, 3 for 19, 5 K, 10 wRC+, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (1:10; 7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) vs Chicago Cubs
  • Fri (7:10), Sat (7:15), Sun (1;10) vs Pittsburgh

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 4):

47-41, 2nd Place, 4.5 GB, 362 RS, 363 RA (-1)

Here come the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They have won 12 of their last 15 games, and jumped the Reds and Cardinals this week into second place.

The Pirates had three All-Stars selected (McCutchen is a starter):

  • CF – Andrew McCutchen: .322/.423/.542, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 13 SB, 172 wRC+, 3.8 WAR
  • UT – Josh Harison: .299/.336/.448, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 9 SB, 121 wRC+, 1.7 WAR
  • RP – Tony Watson: 40.2 IP, 0.89 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, 10.84 K/9, 2.21 BB/9, 1.2 WAR

Starting Pitchers this week

bucs sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Jordy Mercer: .529/.619/.765, 4 RBI, 278 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Andrew McCutchen: .450/.500/.800, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 261 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Russell Martin: .429/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 192 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Gregory Polanco: .300/.417/.500, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 164 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
  • Pedro Alvarez: .313/.313/.563, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 146 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Josh Harrison: .211/.211/.263, 4 for 19, 28 wRC+, 0.0 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:15), Tues (8:15), Wed (8:00), Thurs (7:15) at St. Louis

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5):

38-48, 5th Place, 12.5 GB, 331 RS, 344 RA (-13)

The Cubs made a major trade on Friday, as they sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s for their top prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, along with Dan Straily.

The Cubs lone representative at the All-Star game so far is SS – Starlin Castro: .290/.337/.470, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 3 SB, 121 wRC+, 1.9 WAR.

Anthony Rizzo is part of the All-Star Game Final Vote, and he is certainly deserving.  Rizzo is hitting .274/.384/.489 with 17 HR, 45 RBI, 140 wRC+, and 2.5 WAR.

Starting Pitchers this week

cubs sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Justin Ruggiano: .500/.500/.944, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 310 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Nate Schierholtz: .400/.400/.867, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 255 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Starlin Castro: .400/.455/.500, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 170 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Darwin Barney: .389/.389/.556, 1 RBI, 161 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Junior Lake: .000/.000/.000, 0 for 10, 7 K, -100 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Luis Valbuena: .118/.158/.176, 2 for 17, -18 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Anthony Rizzo: .150/.227/.150, 3 for 20, 6 wRC+, -0.2 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (1:10; 7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) at Cincinnati
  • Fri (4:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) vs Atlanta

 NL Central Players of the Week

  • Justin Ruggiano, Cubs: .500/.500/.944, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 310 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

  • Homer Bailey, Reds: 17.0 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 15 K, 5 BB, 0.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 0.5 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

12 Responses

  1. redsfan06

    How could Simon pitch 7.1 innings, give up only 2 runs and have a 1.09 WHIP end up with a -0.1 WAR?

    • Steve Mancuso

      Because fWAR is based on home runs, walks and strikeouts – isolating things the pitcher controls the most. Simon gave up a home run, only struck out three and walked two.

      • Eric the Red

        Simon has the “stuff” to strike out a lot more batters. That he doesn’t continues to puzzle me, and continues to hold him back with the advanced stats. Steve, can you think of any other pitchers with a similar profile, where they “should” strike out more batters but don’t, yet because they have such good “stuff” they get good results? If so, were they able to outperform their advanced stats over a meaningful period of time?

      • cfd3000

        I was headed to the bottom of the article to ask the exact same question. So my takeaway from this is that I better understand what fWAR measures, and am more convinced that it doesn’t do a good job of measuring run prevention, a pitcher’s single most important job. If Simon pitches to contact, induces more grounders than fly balls in a hitter friendly park and holds the opponent to 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings, and fWAR suggests that a replacement level pitcher would have been a better choice to start that game then I don’t want a better pitcher, I want a better stat. Odd case and minimal sample size to evaluate the merits of fWAR I know, but it does make me skeptical.

    • lwblogger2

      I really don’t like fWAR for pitchers. I’m not very big on WAR in general, but that’s partly due to too many people looking no further than WAR when comparing players. No “one stat to rule them all” is going to give you the whole picture. WAR does about as well as any stat can and it still falls way, way short.

      I will note that it’s times like when that -0.1 WAR shows up that gives the non-metric aligned crowd an awful lot of ammo when debating the merits of advanced metrics. So they see that -0.1 WAR, look at Simon’s performance, and say “See, I told you advanced metrics don’t mean anything!!!” When in fact there are many really good metrics out there (wRC+, I’m talking to you!). That’s also why I like WAR a little better for position players but as there are some issues with defensive metrics, especially over a small sample, and while these metrics are an important component of WAR calculations for position players, there are problems there as well.

      • Steve Mancuso

        The WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference shouldn’t create the same issues for people who look at runs surrendered as the virtually exclusive way to measure pitchers. It uses ERA as the baseline, not FIP. So runs surrendered matters most of all. Simon’s overall WAR at B-R is 1.9 (0.5 at FanGraphs) and it was positive for the Milwaukee start.

        The “see, WAR is stupid” crowd really just don’t like fWAR in this case. To me, WAR does a better job with pitchers because the position player WAR has such a big defensive component in it, and those numbers are pretty unreliable over short periods of time (like half a season).

      • cfd3000

        I’m definitely not in the “WAR is stupid” camp, nor do I disdain all advanced metrics. But I do struggle with the mingling of predictive and summary stats. I understand that the “f” in fWAR stands for future and it is therefore intended to be predictive of future performance. But it’s not at all clear to me that fWAR is a good predictor (or at least, I feel that it can often be a misleading predictor for certain pitchers). Rather, I perceive it simply as a summary stat to identify pitchers who are good at striking out many batters without walking many. I totally understand that those two are desirable traits, but it misses (or undervalues) pitchers who pitch to contact and avoid yielding line drives. If you’re good at inducing popups and fly balls, or at inducing grounders, you don’t have to strike out anyone to be a good pitcher. Which may just be a long way round saying what LWBlogger2 has already pointed out. WAR’s and fWAR’s are intended to be all encompassing stats and I’m not convinced they tell us much we don’t already know.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes bWAR is a little better in my book for pitchers but I still am not a giant fan. I would love to see a WAR calculation that perhaps used SIERA. Even then, I’m not so sure about it’s use as the be all, end all stat that some of my peers use it as.

  2. WVRedlegs

    Thank you Theo Epstein. Trading Hammel and Smardzijan just before the Reds open a 5 game series is fortunate for the Reds hitters.
    I heard on the post game show that David Holmberg will be pitching in the double header and not Chen Ming Wang. It’ll be interesting to see the lefty pitch. I was hopeful it would be Holmberg instead of Wang.
    I see that Oakland DFA’d Jeff Francis after their big trade with the Cubs. I wonder if Walt re-signing him is going to be Jocketty’s big July move?

  3. redmountain

    Read today a very interesting point made by the St. L Dispatch. They talk about the organizational philosophy to stockpile pitching. People on this blog talk about the lack of talent in the minors, but where do the Reds have prospects at every level? Pitching. The Cards have been doing it this way for over ten years and that means the philosophy was started by-wait for it-Walt Jocketty. The Cubs have been stockpiling position players, which is fine, but they have less pitching now than they had a week ago. Reds need to get fat this week.

  4. Steve Mancuso

    There are pretty convincing analysts out there who are saying that teams should stockpile hitters instead of pitchers. With the dramatic reduction in offense in MLB over the last ten years (it’s really enormous) good hitters are more scarce than good pitchers. So the formula that worked 15-20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, isn’t the formula that works now. I’m not saying that this is right, only that it’s a pretty persuasive case. The Cubs are stockpiling good young hitters and when they are ready for the major leagues, the team will go out and sign pitchers in the free agent market. Again, not defending, just offering an explanation.

  5. pinson343

    Some All Star talk. A lot of angry noise from the pros on mlbnetwork about Metheny’s selections of Carpenter and Pat Neshek. And this is from people who generally adore the Cardinals. At 3rd base, better choices would have been Anthony Rendon and Casey McGehee. Many relievers more qualified than Nesek, Houston Street was mentioned the most often. Even a Cardinal fan called in to criticize the choice of Carpenter.