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How bad is the NL Central this year?


After spending the last two weeks in St. Louis, I've been getting a heavy dose of the St. Louis Baseball media. Normally this is only slightly irritating, but with the Cardinals injured and slumping, there is new theme brewing among the sportswriters in the Gateway to the West: The NL Central isn't very good.

The accusations:

-Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch via twitter: here and here

-Bernie Miklasz's column in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch, quote: "That the Cardinals trail Milwaukee by only three games says a lot about their resolve. It also says something about the Brewers and the NL Central."

More and a poll after the Jump...

I'm a little sensitive to this issue. I'm a long suffering Brewer fan. I spend a lot of time in St. Louis. My significant other and his family are born and breed Cardinals fans, and I've noticed that the Cardinalati love to look down at their NL Central foes (who wouldn't? the view from the top is quite nice). So I thought I would do a little number grubbing to see where the league stacks up.

W-L and the obvious

As it stands today, the standings look like this:

Milwaukee Brew_crew_ball_mBrew Crew Ball 44 35 .556 0
St. Louis Birdos_mViva El Birdos 41 38 .518 3
Pittsburgh Bucsdugout_mBucs Dugout 39 38 .506 4
Cincinnati Redreporterscruffy_mRed Reporter 40 39 .506 4
Chicago Cubbyblue_mBleed Cubbie Blue 31 46 .402 12
Houston Crawfishboxes_mThe Crawfish Boxes 28 51 .354 16

 

First of all, making an argument for the NL Central is not helped by the Astros and the Cubs. They have the two worst winning percentages in all of baseball. The next worse is the Twins at .421 (the Padres are at .430, and the nose-diving Marlins are at .436).

On the plus side, the other four teams in the division are above .500 (The NL East and AL East are the only other divisions with 4 at or over .500). The Brewers have a winning percentage of .556, tied for third best in the NL with Atlanta (and only one behind the Giants in the loss column). There are only three teams in the AL that have the same or better winning percentage, all of them in the East: the Yankees (.592), Red Sox (.582) and Rays (.556).

The Other Numbers

Here is where the Brewers (and other NLc teams) rank in other team stats: (this is just a sampling, head to Fangraphs to sort your own favorite stat)

Team wOBA: .328 (6th in MLB, Boston on top with.352, the Cardinals and Reds are also in the top 10)

Team WAR: 16.5 (6th in MLB, Red Sox at 19.9, the Cardinals and Reds are in the top 10 as well)

Team FIP: 3.49 (6th in MLB, Giants lead at 3.08, the Cardinals are 14th)

Team tERA: 3.88 (8th in MLB, Phillies lead at 3.29, Cardinals are 9th)

So...

Do these (limited) numbers prove that the NL Central is mediocre, or worse? What do you think?

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