Injury-Free NL Central Projections

Chris Carpenter (pictured) hit 94 mph with his fastball while throwing 38 of 54 pitches for strikes in his first rehab start the day before the All-Star game. If he is called up to the majors within the month it would give the Cardinals a nice edge over the strong Pirates club in the division challenging the AL East as the best division in baseball. Overall all five teams have been relatively healthy as the Reds try to join the two front-runners to make the Central the first division to ever have the top three teams in a league.

This division should finish about where it is now, with the Cardinals having a slight edge over the Pirates if Carpenter returns even in relief, and the Reds are just a big run away from overtaking the other two.

NL Central Act W Act L Full Strength Proj W Proj L Proj % Proj GB
St. Louis 57 36 -1 56 37 0.602 0.0
Pittsburgh 56 37 -1 55 38 0.591 1.0
Cincinnati 53 42 0 53 42 0.558 4.0
Chicago Cubs 42 51 0 42 51 0.452 14.0
Milwaukee 38 56 -1 37 57 0.394 19.5

The following are the players in the division who are expected to play most or all of the second half of the season, and probably would have added at least a win (0.5 or above rounded up) to the team’s win total in the first half if they could have played at least 75 games (or come out of the bullpen for 30 appearances or been on the mound for 15 starts). To be listed a player must have been worth at least 0.5 wins prior to the break or have been worth at least 1.2 wins in their last full season before an injury forced them to miss the first half. Calculations are based on the calculations of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as reported on http://www.baseball-reference.com/. 

A player who was worth 0.5 Wins in 25 games played would have been worth an additional 1.0 Wins if he had played 75 games in the first half, while a player who was worth 1.0 wins in 50 games would have been worth an additional 0.5 Wins if he had played 75 games. Star players who missed the entire first half are credited with 40% of their WAR for the last full season they played. Players who are not expected to return by early August are not considered in these projections. 

Team NL Central - If they'd been healthy WAR GP If played… ...Extra Wins
ChC Cody Ransom 1.3 33 75 1.7
ChC Matt Garza 1.5 22 30 0.5
Cin Ryan Ludwick (2012) 1.9 0 75 0.8
Cin Johnny Cueto 1 18 30 0.7
Mil Yovani Gallardo 0.6 21 75 1.1
Mil Ryan Braun 2.2 58 75 0.6
Pit Francisco Liriano 2.5 24 30 0.6
Pit Jody Mercer 1.2 53 75 0.5
St.L Chris Carpenter (2011) 3.5 0 30 1.4


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