2011 NL Central at a Glance

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, March 31, 2011

How They'll Finish in 2011:

1. CUBS - A healthy team rebounds.

2. Cincinnati - Don't believe the hype.

3. Milwaukee - Pitching lacks depth.

4. St. Louis - Too many question marks.

5. Houston - Aging team in decline.

6. Pittsburgh - At least PNC is gorgeous.

Most Heated Rivalry: Cincinnati and St. Louis

Most 2010 Home Wins: St. Louis, 52

Fewest 2010 Home Wins: CUBS, 35

Most 2010 Away Wins: Cincinnati, 42

Fewest 2010 Away Wins: Pittsburgh, 17

Highest 2010 Attendance: CUBS, 3,062,973

Lowest 2010 Attendance: Pittsburgh, 1,613,399

2011 NL Central Preseason All-Star Team

C- Geovany Soto

1B- Albert Pujols

2B- Rickie Weeks

3B- Casey McGehee

SS- Starlin Castro

LF- Ryan Braun

CF- Andrew McCutchen

RF- Jay Bruce .

RH- Zack Greinke

RH- Yovani Gallardo

RH- Chris Carpenter

LH- Jaime Garcia

RH- Matt Garza

CL- Carlos Marmol

Best Offense: Milwaukee

Worst Offense: Pittsburgh

Best Pitching Staff: CUBS

Worst Pitching Staff: Pittsburgh

Best Defense: Cincinnati

Worst Defense: St. Louis

Poor Colby Rasmus. He'll have a lot of ground to cover in center field with Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman manning the corners. Ryan Theriot will man shortstop for the Cardinals after spending most of 2010 at second base.

Best Infield: Milwaukee (Prince Fielder, Weeks, McGehee, Yuniesky Betancourt)

Strong bats make up for erratic defense.

Best Outfield: Houston (Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence)

Three Best Players: Pujols, Braun, Joey Votto

Best Rookie: Aroldis Chapman

Most Exciting Player: Chapman

Most Overrated Player: Carlos Pena

Pena barely edges out Ryan Theriot and Berkman for the dishonor.

Most Underrated Player: Marlon Byrd

Newcomer to Watch: Greinke

Most Admirable Player: Ryan Dempster

Guys I Love To Hate: Braun, Theriot, Tony LaRussa, Dusty Baker

Best Switch Hitter: Berkman

Best Power/Speed Combination: McCutchen

Fastest Player: Bourn

Best Baserunner: Bourn

Slowest Player: Humberto Quintero

Worst Baserunner: Fielder

Believe it. Fielder is worse than Theriot. The fat man went from first to third on a single just once in 56 opportunities to do so last season. He scored from first on a double just once in 10 opportunities.

Strongest Player: Byrd

Best Bunter: Dempster

Dempster laid down 16 successful sacrifices in 17 attempts last season, according to John Dewan.

Best Defensive Player: Yadier Molina

Best Arm: Braun

Iron Man: Prince Fielder

Fielder has missed just one game over the last two seasons.

Highest 2010 Batting Average: Votto, .324 (minimum 460 at-bats)

Lowest 2010 Batting Average: Aki Iwamura, 182 (minimum 149 at-bats)

Most 2010 Home Runs: Pujols, 42

Most 2010 RBI: Pujols,118

Most 2010 Stolen Bases: Bourn, 52

Best Pitcher: Greinke

He'll spend at least the first month of the season on the DL.

Best Control Pitcher: Carpenter

Best Fastball: Chapman

Best Curve: Brett Myers

Best Slider: Marmol

Best Cutter: Garcia

Most 2010 Wins by Pitcher: Adam Wainwright, 20

Bronson Arroyo won 17 games to top the division's active pitchers.

Most 2010 Strikeouts by Pitcher: Wainwright, 213

Dempster struck out 208.

Best Hitting Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano

Worst Hitting Pitcher: Dempster

Best Defensive Players By Position:

C - Molina

1B- Pujols

2B- Brandon Phillips

3B- Scott Rolen

SS- Paul Janish

LF- Jonny Gomes

CF- Bourn

RF- Kosuke Fukudome

All-Butcher Team

C- Ryan Doutmit

1B- Fielder

2B- Skip Schumaker

3B- Aramis Ramirez

SS- Betancourt

LF- Holliday

CF- Chris Gomez

RF- Berkman

Best DP Combination: Cincinnati (Janish and Phillips)

Worst DP Combination: Houston (Clint Barmes and Bill Hall)

Best Manager: LaRussa

I can't stand the guy, but LaRussa consistently gets more out of less than any other manager in baseball.

Best Pitching Coach: Dave Duncan

Best Hitting Coach: Rudy Jaramillo

Heaviest Player: Fielder, 270 pounds

Fielder, who apparently had just one foot on the scale, appears to be at least 30 pounds heavier than his listed weight. Houston pitcher Jeff Fulchino is listed at 285 pounds.

Lightest Player: Marcos Mateo, 160 pounds

Tallest Player: Kameron, Loe, Logan Ondrusek, 6-foot-8

Shortest Player: Daniel Ray Herrera, 5-foot-6

Most Handsome Player: Marmol

Marmol, big ears and all, was the runner-up closer on The Dugout Doctors' "All-Dream(y) Team."

Most Aesthetically Challenged Player: Lyle Overbay

Posted Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Chris Rewers

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