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
2B- Brandon Phillips
3B- Scott Rolen
SS- Paul Janish
LF- Jonny Gomes
RF- Kosuke Fukudome
C- Ryan Doutmit
2B- Skip Schumaker
3B- Aramis Ramirez
CF- Chris Gomez
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