Oct 30, 2011; St. Louis, MO, USA; A general view as fans line the streets outside of Busch Stadium during the World Series victory celebration and parade. The Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers four games to three. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Beyond Busch: NL Central Rotation Previews & MLB Notes

This week Beyond Busch presents it’s first preview of the St. Louis Cardinals’ NL Central competitors focusing on each team’s rotation. Pitching wins championships so this is where we will begin. We will then cover the bullpen, projected lineups, management and then in the last piece we’ll provide a prediction for each team. That should bring us into the first full week of spring training games. At the end of spring training we’ll provide one final assessment including any changes that transpire between now and then.

Chicago Cubs

The rotation features two power pitchers at the top and finesse after that. The Cubs need solid seasons from top to bottom to have a remote chance of being competitive in the division. Here are the projected starters with last seasons standard stats.

  1. Ryan Dempster – 202.1 IP, 10-14, 4.80 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 191 K
  2. Matt Garza – 198 IP, 10-10, 3.36 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 197 K
  3. Randy Wells – 135 IP, 7-6, 4.99 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 89 K
  4. Chris Volstad – 165.2 IP, 5-13, 4.89 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 117 K
  5. Paul Maholm  - 162.1 IP, 6-14, 3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 97 K

 

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are going to be one of the teams to give the Cardinals the most trouble in the division. The rotation which besides Mat Latos, will not overwhelm anyone, is probably a small part of this.

  1. Johnny Cueto – 156.1 IP,  9-5, 2.31 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 104 K
  2. Mat Latos – 194.1 IP, 9-14, 3.47 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 185 K
  3. Bronson Arroyo – 199 IP, 9-12, 5.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP,  108 K
  4. Homer Bailey – 132 IP, 9-7, 4.43 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 106 K
  5. Mike Leake – 167.2 IP, 9-7, 3.86 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 118 K

 

Houston Astros 

The Astros are expected to be the cellar dweller in the Central and the starting rotation has something to do with this. Will Wandy Rodriguez finally get traded?

  1. Wandy Rodriguez  - 191 IP, 11-11, 3.49 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 166 K
  2. Brett Myers – 216 IP, 7-14, 4.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 160 K
  3. Bud Norris – 186 IP, 6-11, 3.77 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 176 K
  4. J.A. Happ – 156.1 IP, 6-15, 5.35 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 67 K
  5. Jordan Lyles – 94 IP, 2-8, 5.36 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 67 K

 

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers may have the best rotation top to bottom in the division and is top staff in the entire National League. The defending NL Central champs will be reliant on the rotation. The loss of Prince Fielder is going to be felt as is the potential loss of Ryan Braun, who is facing a possible suspension for performance enhancing drugs.

  1. Zack Greinke  - 171.2 IP, 16-6, 3.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 201 K
  2. Yovani Gallardo – 207.1, 17-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 207 K
  3. Shaun Marcum – 200.2 IP, 13-7, 3.54 ERA,1.16 WHIP, 158 K
  4. Randy Wolf – 212.1 IP, 13-10, 3.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 134 K
  5. Chris Narveson – 161.2 IP, 11-8, 4.45 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 126 K

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates success is going to be dependant on this staff and honestly it could go well or very wrong.  Can James McDonald string together the type of season the Pirates have been waiting for?

  1. Erik Bedard – 129.1 IP, 5-9, 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 125 K
  2. Charlie Morton  - 172.1, 10-10, 3.83, 1.53 WHIP, 110 K
  3. Jeff Karstens  - 162.1, 9-9, 3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 97 K
  4. James McDonald – 171.1 IP, 9-9, 4.21 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 142 K
  5. Kevin Correia – 154 IP, 12-11, 4.79 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 77 K

 

Here are notes on the remaining MLB rotations.

NL East

Atlanta Braves – Stood pat for a reason

Miami Marlins – It all hinges on Josh Johnson‘s health

New York Mets – What will the get out of Johan Santana?

Philadelphia Phillies – Top 3 would headline many staffs

Washington Nationals -Completely souped up staff, will help contend

NL West

Arizona Diamonbacks – Very deep rotation

Colorado Rockies – Very young, but has upside

Los Angeles Dodgers – Can Clayton Kershaw duplicate his 2011 Cy Young performance?

San Diego Padres - Luckily they pitch in Petco

San Francisco Giants – Sabean has tough choice with Matt Cain

AL East

Baltimore Orioles -Zach Britton could surprise

Boston Red Sox – Moving Daniel Bard into rotation weakens pen?

New York Yankees – If only they could sucker someone into taking A.J. Burnett

Tampa Bay RaysMatt Moore is the real deal

Toronto Blue Jays – Will give rest of the division trouble at times

AL Central

Chicago White SoxChris Sale transitioning to rotation

Cleveland Indians – Losing “Carmona” hurts

Detroit Tigers – Expect more of the same from Justin Verlander

Kansas City RoyalsJonathan Sanchez hopes new venue helps

Minnesota Twins - Need a full season from Scott Baker

AL West

Los Angeles Angels – Rotation is the strength here, 1-4 All-Star potential

Oakland A’sBartolo Colon now #3 here, big change, no pun intended

Seattle Mariners – Only Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas remain

Texas Rangers – Is Yu Darvish ready to face MLB hitters?

Click the link to each team to view FanSided.com coverage of the team. For general baseball news and commentary visit Call to the Pen and for minor league baseball coverage visit Seedlings to Stars. You can ‘Like’ Redbird Rants on Facebook here. You can follow Redbird Rants on Twitter at @FSRedbirdRants and Christopher Carelli on Twitter at @BaseballStance.

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Tags: A.J. Burnett Brett Myers Bronson Arroyo Charlie Morton Chris Narveson Chris Sale Chris Volstad Clayton Kershaw Daniel Bard Erik Bedard Homer Bailey J.A. Happ James McDonald Jeff Karstons Johan Santana Johnny Cueto Jonathan Sanchez Jordan Lyles Josh Johnson Justin Verlander Kevin Correia Mat Latos Matt Cain Matt Garza Matt Moore Mike Leake MLB NL Central Norris Paul Maholm Randy Wells Randy Wolf Ryan Dempster Scott Baker Shaun Marcum Wandy Rodriguez Yovani Gallardo Zach Britton Zack Greinke

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