2010 All NL Central Team
The 2010 All NL-Central team…if only to give Cardinals fans something to cheer about. That has been my line in years past and it didn’t apply then and doesn’t now. This is the first year in a long time that I have no confidence in the Cubs to make any noise. Hopefully that will change. But here is this year’s team.
I’d say the only thing that could keep Pujols from being the best player in baseball is injury, but then that didn’t even slow him down. He’s gone over 1.100 OPS in 3 of the last 4 seasons.
Phillips doesn’t have all that much competition around the division, but even so he is a good player. He runs well and hits for power. He has 169 extra-base hits over the last 3 years, and more than 20 homers in each of those seasons.
A healthy Aramis Ramirez is the runaway winner at third base, but he might even be able to miss time and still be the best in division. Rolen is on the downside of his career. Feliz is decent, but not as good as Aramis. Most interesting is that former Cub Casey McGahee is starting at 3rd for the Brew.
There isn’t anything that impressive about Ryan, but his NL Central shortstops aren’t much to talk about. Ryan played his first full season in 2009 (129 games) and displayed a good glove, good range and a decent stick at the plate. It might be easier to pick Ryan Theriot here, but I think Theriot might not even last the year as the starter on the Cubs.
Braun is simply one of the best power hitters in all of baseball. Last year he upped his game by stealing 20 bags, hitting .320 and crushing 39 doubles and 32 homers. He’s not yet 27, but he already has 3 consecutive seasons of 30 or more homers.
The Cards made a bold move in getting Holliday from the A’s and he didn’t disappoint hitting .353 with an OPS over 1.000. He won’t be putting up insane Colorado numbers like 90+ extra base hits, but you know he will hit for power, average and get on base. Excellent addition by the Cards.
Maximum respect to Carlos Lee, who has hit over .300 in 5 of the last 6 seasons and hit for power in all of them. But his numbers are declining a bit and Garrett Jones is a star in the making. Jones is a late bloomer, but showed he is a patient power hitter. He whacked 21 bombs and drew 40 walks in just 314 at-bats. He hit .293/.372/.567. He’s already jacked 3 homers this year.
Carpenter made a wonderful return to the Cards and almost won the Cy Young. He was 17-4 with an impressive 2.24 ERA and finished just 6 points behind winner Tim Lincecum. He is a true ace.
There’s not a pitcher in the Central with better stuff than Marmol, who is basically unhittable. The main question is whether or not he will be able to curtail the control problems that he ran into last year. I think he will and he will be one of the games best closers. Before last year Marmol was almost 3-1 in K/BB ratio, and I see no reason why he won’t get back to that.