Continuing my little project, I will move westward and cover the NL Central.
Chicago Cubs- Yikes. I'm not stoked on any of their players for a short term investment. Alfonso Soriano is at least 56 years old, and rapidly declining. Aramis Ramirez can't stay healthy. Their starting pitchers are crazy (Carlos Zambrano), or mediocre (Ryan Dempster.) That leaves me with two viable options: Closer Carlos Marmol, or OF Tyler Colvin. I will take Colvin. He had a great rookie year, and still has room to improve. My keeper is SS Starlin Castro. He can do a little bit of everything, and is only 20 years old. He entered last season as one of the top prospects in the game, and did fairly well at the Major League level, despite being so young.
Cincinnati Reds- Easiest team in the division. Joey Votto was the NL MVP this year. He's the real deal. Aroldis Chapman. AKA The Cuban Missile, is probably the top pitching prospect in the game. He did this...
So yeah. The only argument to be made is Devin Mesoraco, a power hitting catcher from Punxsutawney, PA. Chapman would probably be the top pick if there were a prospect draft, and I can't pass up 105.
Houston Astros-After trading Berkman and Oswalt this year, there aren't many players who jump out at you. Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence are unspectacular outfielders. Wandy Rodriguez is a high strikeout pitcher. I would take Pence, mainly due to Lee's past injury history and advanced age. Prospect wise it comes down to two players: 1B Brett Wallace and C Jason Castro. I would lean toward Castro since he catches, but Wallace should be a good player.
Milwaukee Brewers- It starts and ends with Ryan Braun. The Hebrew Hammer is one of the best players in baseball, and with Prince Fielder's tough year, it's not really a contest. One other option is Yovani Gallardo, a young fireballer. I will take the hitter here, but after looking at Gallardo's stats, it was closer than I thought. They just traded top prospect Brett Lawrie, so he's out. That leaves a bunch of prospects with question marks. I will go out on a limb and take Gallardo long term. He's stll only 24, and has proven MLB success. Their prospects after trading Lawrie just don't impress me much.
Pittsburgh Pirates-I will start with the keeper. Pedro Alvarez is their top prospect. He hit .239 with 10 homers on the ML level this year, but he should improve on that in the future. As for present help, I really like Andrew McCutchen. He has some pop, steals bases, and plays a great CF. Another easy team to pillage.
St. Louis Cardinals- Another easy one. Albert Pujols is a future Hall of Famer. He plays defense, and has stolen 30 bases the last two years combined. On a team with pitchers like Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, it shows you how great a player Pujols is. Their farm system is decent, but Shelby Miller is a stud. Rated the #3 pitching prospect by project prospect (say that 3 times fast), he has a great fastball, along with plus pitches in his curve ball and change up.
Overall, an easy division to select from. There are some guys that I really like that didn't make the cut, like Mesoraco and Wallace, but that's how it goes in these types of things. As always, if I made any egregious oversights, call me on it.
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