From the short stint the Pittsburgh Pirates had in first place to the incredible run the St. Louis Cardinals had in September to make the wild card, the National League Central provided baseball fans with many riveting story lines throughout the season. The upstart Reds failed to defend their division championship from a year ago while the Milwaukee Brewers wound up running away with the division in the end. MVP candidate Prince Fielder led the way for the Brewers, and he highlights the infield for the All NL Central Team voted on by the staff here at Blog Red Machine.
Despite being the only selection that was not unanimous, this should not be a surprise to anyone. Molina is one of the best catchers in the game, and he had another monster year for St. Louis. His production and leadership was crucial during the Cardinals run late in the season. Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy tied with Ramon Hernandez for 2nd place but neither came close to having the type of season Molinaa had. Reds fans will never forget the walk-off shot Monie delivered on Opening Day.
Pitchers all over the league feared the middle part of the Brewers lineup thanks in large part to Prince Fielder. Fielder and his battering mate Ryan Braun were the catalysts of a very potent Milwaukee lineup. Many consider Prince a candidate for the MVP so these results should not come as a shock to anyone. The NL Central has three of the best first basemen in the game and I am sure any team would be happy to have any of these guys on their squad. Reds slugger Joey Votto beat out rival Albert Pujols for second place.
“Dat Dude” dominated the voting at the second base position, much like he dominated the nightly highlight reels with all of his dazzling defensive plays. Phillips finished the year batting .300 which was a career best. It will be a travesty if Phillips does not win his second consecutive gold glove. Phillips is the glue that holds the Reds clubhouse together and hopefully he will be receiving a long term extension from the Reds front office.Rickie Weeks placed second in the voting which is no surprise considering the numbers he put up against the Reds this season.
Despite finishing 5th in the division, the Cubs left side of the infield was very strong. Phenom Starlin Castro was the best of an overall weak shortstop class in the Central this year. Taking nothing away from the season Castro had, he just did not face much competition from any other shortstops in the division. Starlin is a star in the making.
Crazy to think the only team with multiple members on the All NL Central Infield was the Chicago Cubs. Saying it was a down year for third basemen in the Central does not do the position justice. Aramis Ramirez had his best season since 2008 batting .306 with 26 long balls and 93 RBI. No other team had a third basemen who came close to those numbers so Ramirez was the easy choice for this award.
Check back tomorrow for BRM’s All NL Central Outfield!