Saturday, March 25, 2006

2006 Season Preview - NL Central

I get to do the NL Central so I can talk about how great the Rocket is and how he's not going to return to the Astros but make a stunning comeback to the Yankees to pitch a perfect game in Game Seven of the World Series at Yankee yes...

St. Louis Cardinals (Or the Parrots as my Mum calls them)
2005 Record: 100-62
Position: 1st

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Juan Encarnacion OF, Braden Looper RP, Sidney Ponson SP
Out: Reggie Sanders OF, Matt Morris SP, Julian Tavarez RP

The Cards pounded their way to 100 wins last year but they failed in October when the surging Astros beat them despite that shot by Pujols off Lidge. They have had a quiet off season with no major moves meaning they are rightly still the favourites to win the NL Central and the NL in general this season.

2006 Projection: 103-59 and 1st place
Cards Link Blog - Cards Fan

Houston Astros
2005 Record: 89-73 (W/C)
Position 2nd

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Preston Wilson OF
Out: Roger Clemens SP (For how long?)

The Astros behind a stellar rotation of Clemens, Oswalt and Pettitte managed to go all the way to the World Series, where upon their inability to score runs finally caught up with them. Having lost the Rocket for now, they look like a team struggling to make it back to the playoffs and with Bagwell seemingly throwing the towel in today, part of the ballclub seems to of died.

2006 Projection: 81-81 and 4th place
Astros Blog Link - The Dugout

Milwaukee Brewers
2005 Record: 81-81
Position 3rd

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Brent Abernathy 2B, Corey Koskie 3B
Out: Lyle Overbay 1B

The Brew Crew are a decent outfit, finishing at .500 last year was impressive but this time around I think they might kick on. Prince Fielder will be the every day first baseman and everyone is hoping for big things from him, although this team will go as far as Ben Sheets, Chris Capauno and Doug Davis will take them.

2006 Projection: 88-74
Position: 3rd
Brewers Blog link - Brewers Bar

Chicago Cubs
2005 Record: 79-83
Position: 4th

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Scott Eyre SP, Bob Howry RP, Jacque Jones OF, John Mabry OF, Wade Miller SP
Out: Jeromy Burnitz OF, Nomar Garciaparra IF

The Cubs are all about those arms. If (and it is a big if) Prior and Wood go 60 starts this season they'll be there or there abouts, even 50 starts between the pair and they can be in the Wildcard chase, anything less and they'll be nowhere.

2006 Projection: 90-72
Position: 2nd
Cubs link blog - The Cub Reporter

Cincinnati Reds:
2005 Record: 73-89
Position: 5th

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Bronson Arroyo SP, Chris Hammond RF, Tony Womack, IF
Out: Wily Mo Pena OF, Ramon Ortiz SP

The Reds play in one of the most Homer friendly parks across the land, if only they could get a good pitcher or two they might be pretty good. They have the classic swing of Junior and the brute power of Dunn but after that not too much else.

2006 Projection: 70-92
Position 5th
Reds Blog Link - Reds Reporter

Pittsburgh Pirates
2005 Record: 67-95
Position: 6th

Major Off Season Moves:
In: Jeromy Burnitz OF, Joe Randa 3B
Out: Jose Mesa RP, Ty Wigginton 3B

What do the Pirates have to look forward to in 2006? Not a great deal, if they finish in 5th they'll of had a good season. Oliver Perez should be back and he could be an outside shot at the NL Cy Young.

2006 Projection: 63-99
Position: 6th
Pirates Blog link - Buried Treasure

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