Reds Round Table: the NL Central

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With all the stellar pitching the seems to reside in the NL East, I questioned my colleagues about of the NL Central has a viable Cy Young candidate. Most felt that there was not a legit contender for the award. Two of BRM’s writers, John Heitz and Kevin Geary, fell otherwise as they present their cases for the Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. John’s up first.

For a Cy Young candidate I would pick Joel Hanrahan. Without him closing out games without fail, the Pirates are not in contention. He has been rock solid this season, a perfect 26-26 in save opportunities with a 1.34 ERA what more could you possibly ask for?

And now Kevin will try to convince you…

Nobody jumps out in my mind. How about Joel Hanrahan? 26-26 in save opportunities with a 1.34 ERA. He doesn’t possess anything impressive, but he’s certainly getting the job done for the Bucs this season.

Both seem to like being perfect in save opportunities and that excessively sick looking ERA. I gotta go with my guys here. If there is a hurler from the division that could win it, I’ll go Hanrahan, too.

On to today’s final question…

Simply put, who should be considered the favorite to win the NL Central? The answers may surprise you. In fact, of the top four teams, no one mentions the Pirates at all. Also, the rest are split between the Reds, Cards and Brewers. Look at these differing opinions as everyone gets a crack in here…

Ronnie for Big Red Redemption seems to like the Reds chances…

I still can’t help but say that the Reds are still the favorites to win the NL Central. This team has been handed tough break after tough break and are still hanging around. Great news for Reds fans but bad news for the others who think they’re going to run away with this division. There is way too much talent on this team for it not to be the top dog in this division.

Alex, Kevin and John all agree with Ronnie. Four voted for the good guys!

That leaves five other “votes”. Well, three of those were swayed the way of the Milwaukee Brewers. JinAZ of Red Reporter provides some analysis that he seems to be against…and that’s not a bad thing either.

There is no clear favorite. BPro’s playoff standings have the Cardinals odds to win the division at 46%, with the Brewers at 40%. The Reds, meanwhile, have division-winning odds of 11%. Interestingly, the Reds have the highest 3rd-order winning percentage in the NL Central (barely). But their current win deficit, coupled with the fact that they’re so close in quality level with those other teams, makes it pretty tough to compete.

I think the Brewers’ rotation is being underrated in those rankings. Greinke, in particular, is a major puzzle, and I think is likely to have a monster second half. I don’t see any team competing with that rotation, their offense is top drawer, and they even seem to be catching the ball better this year than in years past. That’s the team to beat, as I see it.

That said, I also think the Reds have a run left in them. Four games back is just not that big of a deficit, and Walt has done some interesting things at the trade deadline.

JinAZ’s cohort BK from Red Reporter agrees as does BRM’s Justin. That’s three more. Seven votes cast.

Yes, Cards fans, and we do get a few that read here, BRM’s Kerry Moss was the only one that felt the Cards held the upper hand how ever slight he fells it is.

There is no clear favorite to win the division at this point. If I were forced to pick a favorite, I’d begrudgingly pick the Cardinals. They seem to be the team with the most balance. Their offense is probably the best in the division, and I’d argue they have the best rotation as well. They’ve survived an unbelievable amount of injuries and managed to hold a share of first place at the break…

The last vote? If you’ve been keeping track of the names I’ve listed here, you realize that leaves Tina with hers…

The answer to this question is: I have no idea. The NL Central is a division full of ups and downs, slumps and winning streaks, and really, it’s anyone’s game. Except for the Astros and the Cubs. Honestly though, the Reds are a winning streak away from first place, and although I’m not confident that the Reds will see another winning streak this season, anything could happen. The All-Star Break marks the (semi) halfway point of the season, and the Reds still have 70 games to make something happen!

Needless to say that even though we all blog about the Reds, as most of you expected, our opinions all vary. That’s what makes undertaking this so much fun. You get a chance to experience that.

Some of you may be thinking about the other answers that weren’t published here. Don’t you worry. I have a special “best of” coming up in the near future. Some of those response may blow off your doors!