Central Intelligence

Welcome back to Central Intelligence

Welcome back to Central Intelligence, the weekly column covering the National League Central posted every Monday morning. This will be my third season covering the NL Central for Redleg Nation, and I am looking forward to another great season. The Reds don’t figure to make much noise in the division this season (at least on paper), but the race between the Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates should be exciting.

Quickly, a little bit about myself for those who might not know. My name is Nick Kirby, and I have been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013.  I am a big fan of advanced statistics and sabermetrics. I will use them quite a bit in this column, but I will do my best to explain some of the different stats for those of you who might not be as familiar. I will also do my best to be as unbiased as possible in this column covering the NL Central, but of course it will be from a Reds perspective.

Redleg Nation will have a full report on each team in the division on the week before Opening Day (March 28-31). We will skip Central Intelligence next week while you digest each report, and then we will be back on Opening Day with an NL Central preview, prediction, and notes to get you ready for the season.


2015 NL Central Review:

The NL Central not only produced three postseason teams in 2015, but the three best records in the MLB belonged to the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs. The Cardinals won the NL Central, and it took all of 100 wins to do so. The Pirates made the postseason for the third consecutive season. The Cubs made the postseason for the first time since 2008.

The Cubs defeated the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game, behind Jake Arrieta’s five hit shutout. The game even included the benches clearing at one point. The Cubs then defeated the NL Central champion Cardinals in four games in the NLDS. The Cubs won games 2-4 after dropping Game 1. The Cubs offense was unstoppable in games 2-4, and they hit 10 home runs overall in the series. The upstart Cubs ran out of steam in the NLCS, as they got swept by the Mets.

As good as the top three teams in the NL Central were, that is just how bad the two bottom teams were. The Brewers and Reds were out of contention before the All-Star break, and sold away some big parts at the trade deadline. Both teams lost 90+ games, and have now entered rebuilding mode.

Here is my full NL Central review from October 5th, 2015.


Here is the team preview schedule:

Milwaukee Brewers – Monday, March 28th

Grant Freking and Jeremy Conley will bring you the Brewers report next Monday.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Tuesday, March 29th

Nick Carrington and Matt Korte will bring you the Pirates report next Tuesday.

St. Louis Cardinals – Wednesday, March 30th

Michael Maffie and myself will bring you the Cardinals report next Wednesday.

Chicago Cubs – Thursday, March 31st

Nick Doran and Wesley Jenkins will bring you the Cubs report next Thursday.


8 thoughts on “Welcome back to Central Intelligence

  1. If the Reds finish last in the division I’ll be shocked. I mean, the Brewers are abysmal. As for the others, I see the Pirates taking a step back in the same way the Reds did in 2014. The Cardinals will do what they do, but it becomes very precarious when your core is that old. The Cubs should win 93+ games and the division I would think. That said, they strike out a ton and don’t play very good defense. Arrieta and Lackey are strong regression candidates, and the bullpen could be susceptible to the usual variability.

    Lots of divisional games the first month. These teams better come ready to play!

  2. Welcome back CI.
    The ups and downs of the NLC. I think it will be safe to say that the 3 teams with the best records in MLB will not come from the NL Central this year. Going to be a tough year in St. Louis going by Cardinal standards. Getting 90 wins for the Cards may be a stretch. Pittsburgh’s window may only have 2-3 years left of its opening. McCutcheon is entering his age 30 season and is signed through 2017 with a team option for 2018. Do the small market Pirates extend McCutcheon’s contract further? Some of Pittsburgh’s core pitching and positional players will be getting close to free agency about the same time. Their window is now.

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing a .500 Cardinals team this year! Make it happen, Nick!

    • I’d love to see them sub .500 but thinking they are good for 86-90 wins. Dang they have a good program.

      • Sure do. Lose Heyward and Lackey and they probably won’t miss a beat. Sickening!😉

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