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Monday, September 26th, 2016

ALL NL CENTRAL TEAM-INFIELDERS

24

Let’s take a look at what I consider to be the best of the NL Central. Hopefully arguments and chaos ensue…

1B. Choices- Fielder, Lee, Pujols, Hatteberg, Berkman, LaRoche. Zoner selects: Prince Fielder. We have a changing of the guard. Last year Pujols saw his slugging drop over 100 points and his homers drop from 49 to 32. I definitely take into account his injuries. The problem is those injuries remain. And as close to Superman as he is, at some point he will not be able to play through it. Fielder was the 2007 NL Home Run champ, belting 50 homers and adding 35 doubles. He also showed patience at the plate with 90 walks. He will only be 24 in May. If Pujols was entirely healthy, I might change my mind. But for now, Prince is the king of NL Central first basemen.

2B. Choices- Sanchez, DeRosa, Kennedy, Matsui, Weeks, Phillips. Zoner selects: Brandon Phillips. Easy choice. In his second full season, Phillips was a 30-30 player and he should easily outperform the lot of mediocrity that plays 2nd in the NLC. He also turned 113 double plays last year, against just 8 errors.

3B. Choices- Ramirez, Glaus, Encarnacion, Bautista, Wiggington, Hall. Zoner selects: Aramis Ramirez. Another fairly easy choice. I did consider Glaus, but I think Ramirez is the better hitter and any difference in defense is negligible. I think coming back to the NL will be very beneficial to Glaus, and he’ll likely end up as the newest Cub Killer. But I think A-Ram wins this one.

SS. Choices- Theriot, Hardy, Ryan, Gonzalez, Tejada, Wilson. Zoner selects: J.J. Hardy. I picked Ryan to represent the Cards because Izturis is the latter-day, Cub version of Rey Ordonez. He’s a no-hit, slick fielding shortstop that–oops–can no longer pick it. That was apparent in Chicago, apparent in Pittsburgh and already apparent to the Cards. He’s hitting .163 this spring with 7 errors in 12 games. Why they gave him almost 3 million is anyone’s guess. Ryan will be the starter by May if not sooner, and that’s good news for Cards’ fans as he had a nice run in 60+ games in 2007. As for Hardy, he will likely crush 25 homers again and probably surpass .800 OPS, something no other NLC SS will be able to claim.

C. Choices- Soto, Molina, Towles, Ross, Paulino, Kendall. Zoner selects: Geovany Soto. Last year was Yadier Molina’s first decent year offensively, and that still barely got him past .700 OPS. He’s also coming off knee surgery. Soto is for now the darling of all Cubs fans after his monstrous 26 HR, .353 BA season in AAA. He also played well in a short stint with the big club, stealing the job away from a veteran in a playoff race. It’s hard for me to believe he won’t be good for at least 18-20 homers and a BA of around .275.

So there it is. Fielder, Phillips, Ramirez, Hardy and Soto. Outfielders will be next…

[tags]Cubs, Cardinals, Prince Fielder, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez[/tags]

  • http://www.timellsworth.com Tim

    There’s more to catching than just offense. Molina’s defensive prowess easily makes him the pick of the NL Central. I can’t quibble with any of your other selections, but picking a guy with all of 80 at-bats in the big leagues over Molina is crazy.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Well, I am talking about this year, not last year. Furthermore, Soto was initially known for his defense. The bat just started coming last year. His arm is incredible. But we will see…

  • dhaab

    Zoner blogs about the NL central and makes Pujols the 2nd best 1st baseman in the division. Color me shocked! (eyes rolling)
    One great season versus 7 great ones. Matt takes the one over the 7. LOL

    Also can’t wait to see Soto show how over-hyped he is right now. Talk about much ado over nothing…

    Obviously defense isn’t even a factor in any of your rankings. It’s common knowledge that Fielder is pretty much a hack at 1st base and Soto is MILES behind Molina and others in the division defensively. “His arm is incredible” Compared to who…Jason Kendall? What a homer…

  • http://www.tremendousupsidepotential.com Rickhouse

    Wow, that crop of SS and cathers is pretty weak. I agree with everything, I guess, but it’s kind of shocking that Pujols isn’t even the best first baseman in the his own division when we all would have had him picked as the game’s best hitters for the next 10 years two years ago. I think he’ll be healthy in 09 and retake the throne.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    DHaab, if you asked MLB GMs today–not the last 7 years–who they would rather have for this year, I’ll bet you the majority of GMs would pick Fielder.

    How can Soto be overhyped? He’s a top prospect. All top prospects are overhyped. His arm is great; go read some other sources of scouting reports on him.

  • dhaab

    Soto wasn’t a top prospect until his miraculous season last year which came out of nowhere. In fact, he was considered to be a weak hitter by most with very little power. Minor leaguers in big markets almost always get way too much publicity and therefore are usually overrated coming into the bigs. That’s just the way it is.

    And regardless of how good/great you think Soto may possibly be, to rank someone based on potential and hype is rather frivolous.

    And any GM that would take Fielder over Pujols is an absolute IDIOT. I think most baseball people (especially those who don’t hate the Cardinals) would agree.

  • http://www.timellsworth.com Tim

    But if Zoner’s picking the players who are going to have the best season this year, I think you almost have to take Fielder over Pujols — because come July, when the Cardinals are 12 games under .500, I’d say there’s a chance that Pujols is going to go ahead and have his surgery. He’ll play as long as the Cardinals are in contention, and he’ll put up his typical numbers. But I don’t think anyone with an ounce of sense thinks the Cardinals are going to be in contention for long this year.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    And that’s all I was saying. How long can the guy play with injuries? And even last year, while his numbers were stellar, they were down considerably from the year before. So that’s why I say Fielder.

    But Pujols is one of the best players of our generation, maybe of all-time when it’s all said and done.

  • dhaab

    Cannot wait for the season to begin. LOVE it when my team is being given no chance.

    I don’t think you guys really understand the Pujols injury. He’s been dealing with the elbow and foot injuries for years now. The numbers he had last year weren’t necessarily because of his injuries, but probably had more to do with the fact that he had nobody healthy and hitting the ball well around him in the lineup. Rolen and Edmonds were hurt for most of the year and he had no protection in the lineup during the first few months. He was uncharacteristically swinging at pitches he normally takes. The first two months of last year was the worst slump he’s ever had in his career. But he eventually had a very good 2nd half.

    And look how he’s doing this spring. I realize they aren’t real games but he’s blistering the ball and looks like he did in the second half of last season. I predict a HUGE year for Albert this year and I think Fielder’s numbers will drop quite a bit.

    Obviously we disagree, but I think you’re overrating Fielder quite a bit. In his short career, he’s always been a great home run hitter, but he brings very little else to the table as an overall player. That is why I have such an issue with your rating. There really is no comparison between the two.

  • dhaab

    Now that I read through your ratings again, I think you basically rated your players based on offense alone.
    These are fantasy baseball ratings and even if you did it that way, you shouldn’t have Fielder ahead of Pujols. Pujols is a better offensive player than Fielder in every category except power.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    No they are not. And Pujols is at first because he was a crappy outfielder with no arm.

  • dhaab

    If you honestly believe Pujols isn’t a very good defensive 1st baseman, you’ve proven (ONCE AGAIN!) that you have absolutely no perspective when it comes to evaluating Cardinal players. He’s clearly one of the top 5 defensive 1st basemen in the game and has been for a few years now.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I never said that. I said why he is at first. It’s first base defense though. Don’t get too excited over that.

  • dhaab

    Yeah, Cubs fans don’t usually get excited about defense.

    The only thing all those yuppies at Wrigley get excited about are watching home runs and drinking their Old Style. :)

  • dhaab

    Did you see Fielder’s defensive gaffes in the opening game at Wrigley? What a HACK!

  • dhaab

    And how about that Soto kid and his D? LOL!!

  • http://puppetgov.com dhaab

    Okay, we’re almost through the season now and we can look back at this one and re-evaluate. I was wrong about Soto. The kid can hit and has some pop. He isn’t a great defensive player, but better than I gave him credit for.

    Now let’s talk about Pujols.
    .360 BA 33 HR’s 96 RBI’s .467 OBP .655 Slugging % (the 2nd ranked player in slugging is Berkman at .602) OPS 1.121
    And defensively, he’ll win the gold glove this year.

    He leads the major leagues in BA, OBP, SP, and OPS.
    Yeah, looks like that elbow injury didn’t hurt him too much. I think AP has a great chance to be the NL MVP this season. IMO, without him, the Cards would be under .500.

    Fielder’s numbers .261 BA 28 HR’s 84 RBI’s .361 OBP .472 SP
    Um, I think I’d rather have Pujols and so would any GM in the game.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    You’re not telling us anything new. The whole premise was that Pujols would not make it through the year due to injuries. It was never that Fielder was better.

  • dhaab

    LOL If you recall, I told you that Pujols has been playing with the same elbow and foot injuries for almost 4 years now. It wasn’t a big deal for him to play through it and I knew that. You obviously did not.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    “Also can’t wait to see Soto show how over-hyped he is right now. Talk about much ado over nothing…” There’s your LOL pards!

  • http://puppetgov.com dhaab

    Dude, I admitted I was wrong. Obviously the big difference between the two of us.

  • http://puppetgov.com dhaab

    Still not admitting his total and complete wrongness. Hatred of another team is a really dangerous thing and can completely blind one from seeing what is truly there.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    In the immortal words of he mortal Heath Ledger, “Why so serious?”

    Scroll up and read comment #8, which I wrote in March.

  • dhaab

    I’m not serious. I just think it’s hilarious how your blind hatred of everything involving the Cards makes you unable to admit you were wrong about Pujols injuries being serious enough to hurt his output.

    BTW, “Dark Knight” was a bit overrated, IMO. Very good movie, but not nearly as good as some folks were saying. Ledger was excellent, though.

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