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It’s time to look at another “too-early” projected NL Central standings, this time we’re looking at CAIRO, named after the lovable utility infielder you and I are all too familiar with. While more changes are going to be made before now and the season, CAIRO was the best crystal ball when it came to picking the standings last season.

TM W L RS RA Div WC W+/- RS+/- RA+/-
Cardinals 92 70 762 676 42.50% 9.70% 1.1 32 36
Reds 86 77 755 721 22.20% 9.00% 7.5 82 -2
Cubs 84 78 749 726 17.30% 9.20% 0.7 42 54
Brewers 81 81 762 769 13.70% 7.50% 1.3 -23 -49
Pirates 70 92 730 839 1.90% 1.70% 8.2 94 71
Astros 69 93 663 771 2.50% 2.30% -4.9 20 1

W: Projected 2010 wins
L: Projected 2010 losses
RS: Projected 2010 runs scored
RA: Projected 2010 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC: Wild card win percentage
W+/-: 2010 projected wins minus 2009 actual wins
RS+/-: 2010 projected runs scored minus 2009 actual runs scored (positive means they are projected to score more)
RA+/-: 2010 projected runs allowed minus 2009 actual runs allowed (negative means they are projected to allow fewer)

Beware the Red Menace? I don’t have access to CAIRO’s individual projections, but we can make some educated guesses about why it projects the Reds to improve by 82 runs on offense next year.

  • Joey Votto will be awesome again.
  • Jay Bruce should improve. He was a -2 offensively last year, CHONE projects him for a +18 in 2010.
  • Willy Taveras was 27 runs below average last year with the bat, most of his playing time will be given to Drew Stubbs, who can’t possibly be worse.
  • Chris Dickerson should get most of the playing time in LF, and not Laynce Nix.
  • Scott Rolen is a nice improvement over Edwin Encarnacion.

Well shut my mouth. Neyer’s got a take on this as well.

As for the Cardinals, the offense will be better with Holliday (duh), but the pitching will likely regress to the mean.  Yep, it’s just hard to improve upon a season where your 1-2 starters finish 2nd and 3rd in the Cy Young voting. And Penny in 2010 isn’t likely to match Pineiro’s 2009, but neither is Pineiro for that matter. Sorry, I’m telling you stuff you already know.

As for the Cubs, they’re hanging in there. Soriano and Soto can’t possibly be worse, Ramirez will be healthy, Byrd in 2010 ought to be better than Bradley was in ’09. On the other hand, Randy Wells should fall back to earth some, and Rich Harden’s spot in the rotation is going to be replaced by Tom Gorzellany or *gasp* Carlos Silva.

Barring a disaster, this season *should be* a walk in the park for the Cardinals.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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