Let’s Take a Look at How the NL Central is Doing in Spring Training Thus Far
The Milwaukee Brewers, at 9-8, are first among NL Central teams in the Cactus League. Though the average fan would be shocked to see the Brewers doing well, they really shouldn’t be. The Brewers have loaded up on young decent prospects, who are playing the majority of these games. This level of success will not transfer to the regular season when every team begins to put out their best possible lineup each night.
The Cincinnati Reds, at 9-11, are second among NL Central teams. Like the Brewers, the Reds have also loaded up on prospects who play the majority of these games. However, it is noteworthy to point out that Joey Votto, the star of the team, is batting at a blistering .370 average with a .500 OBP. This should be encouraging news to Reds fans. They need their few stars to perform well in order to avoid another dismal season near the bottom of the standings.
The St. Louis Cardinals are third at 7-9. The only thing that Cardinals fans should be focused on in these games is how Yadier Molina progresses from his injury and how some key young players are playing. First, Molina is well on his way to a full recovery and should be Opening Day, so that is good. Who cares about the 7-9 record? Also, Randal Grichuk is batting .423 and Stephen Piscotty is batting .393. These statistics are very very encouraging. These two young outfielders will be important in the lineup this year. If their performance in Spring Training is any indication of how they will playing in the regular season, we’re in for a good season.
— Nick Kirby (@Nicholaspkirby) March 21, 2016
The Chicago Cubs are fourth at 6-13. For now, their stars aren’t performing to the level of their massive expectations. Kris Bryant is batting .226 and Jason Heyward is batting .207 (Karma). When the games begin to matter, in order for the Cubs to live up to the level of their expectations, like ending their 100+ year World Series drought, the stars need to play well. Bryant and Heywards’ statistics are not encouraging and that is good news for Cardinals fans.
At last place, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 5-12. Andrew McCutchen, the face of the franchise, is batting .280. However, encouragingly for Pirates fans, outfielder Starling Marte, who will likely bat 4th behind McCutchen. is hitting .440. If he can be productive behind McCutchen, the Pirates will be a dangerous team to beat.
Spring Training games are nothing more than a warmup and a way for managers to see young players perform. Fans shouldn’t look too much into these games and the records other than the way key players are performing. I will guarantee you that the NL Central this year will not finish in the Brewers-Reds-Cardinals-Cubs-Pirates order. Guarantee. The Cardinals, Cubs, and the Pirates will be fine. They’re just warming up for a long 162-game season battle to see who will win the division. Get excited. It should be interesting.