NL Central Third Basemen: LaRoche Could Be 'The Best Around?'

2009 was a wild year for major league third baseman.  As we look at the NL Central specifically, something really stood out to us.  Aramis Ramirez is the best.  No question.  We could roll out stats to prove our point. But you know he is the best in the division, one of the premier third baseman in the game.   So we agree on that.

But answer this question.  If Ramirez goes down this season, who would you say, by default would then become the best 3B in the NL Central?   We say if Ramirez were to be injured again and miss considerable games,  Andy LaRoche will be the best third baseman in the division.   Feel free to call us insane in the comments section below.  (And before someone attacks us, we don’t wish injuries on any player, we’re  just playing the what if game…)

Enough of the day dreaming….

NL CENTRAL THIRD BASE RANKINGS:

1.  Aramis Ramirez never bats below 285.  This season will be no different.  25HR/80RBI.  30+ VORP  Now just how many games will he play?  He averaged 130 the past five years with only 82 games last season.  So is Ramirez starting to show that he’s a 32-year old on the down side?  Yes.  It’s just that Aramis Ramirez down side is still in the top tier of ML thirdbasemen.  Gulp.

Ramirez had three hits in 10 at-bats.  A lonely double and two RBI.  I hope you enjoyed last year Pirate fans, we won’t have Mike Fontenot to enjoy this year. 

Aramis talks about the pressure of going to the World Series. This video is old, but I wonder how many times he has been asked that question? [Also, I understand it was the Grand Opening, but if its' such a great bar Harry put his name on then why is that 60 Minutes on behind Ramirez? Come on.]


Aramis Ramirez 2009 stats:

VORP: 29.4

BAVG: .317 (306AB)
OBP: .389
SLG: .516
H: 97
HR: 15
RBI: 65
Runs: 46

Casey McGehee  OK.  Explain this to me.  Never did McGehee do anything like this in the minors.  Hell, he never hit 300.  He slugged like an honor student, not this frat boy like .499, shit McGehee never had a slugging percentage higher than 4 20 something.  Now this waiver wire pick up from the Cubs finished in the ROY race ?  And now we are expected to project what this freak is going to do this year?   I guess that’s what Miller Time is all about. 

With some luck and a full recovery from October knee surgery, McGehee could produce this in 2010…  18HR/275BAVG/65RBI  The dart kept landing on 17 so we will say that’s our VORP because primarily we see him moving back to a more contact hitter.   Surely he wont be as patient as last year and please don’t feed him fastballs.  

McGehee mashed two bombs off Pirate pitchers.  One homer was at PNC (interview below), but he was held to just one other hit, a single, as the Dave Kerwin and his staff held him to a .118 BAVG at PNC Park.  At Miller he was 3-for-8 with a homer.  He struck out five times in his 25 total at-bats against the Bucs.

Casey McGehee 2009 stats:

VORP: 26.6

BAVG: .301
OBP: .360
SLG: .499
H: 107
HR: 16
RBI: 66
Runs: 58

3.  Andy LaRoche  is our highest rated Pirate infielder.  He looked inspired at PirateFest.  Sparked.  Healthy.  Could he be fully recovered and ready to exceed his much ballyhooed press clippings?  We believe so. 

Look at LaRoche closely last year and he basically split a career year with a putrid one.  Will he maintain that white hotness?  No way.  But we believe he is headed in the direction of above average production, his final two months made us believers.  How did Pedro Alvarez do in his final two months, did anybody notice?  He was solid as well?  Hmmmm.

The work LaRoche did this offseason work will turn his consistent 2009 warning track power into a few more extra base hits and  homeruns as well. 

How good would production like this look at second base?  We can see  275/18HR/70 RBI 15 VORP

Andy LaRoche 2009 stats:

VORP 12.3

BAVG: .258
OBP: .330
SLG: .401
H: 135
HR: 12
RBI: 64
Runs: 64

4.  Scott Rolen is a beast.  He could melt down his Gold Glove collection and amass more than enough gold to supply the recent need in Vancouver.  But this beast is slowing.  He has played in 112 games in ’07, 115 in ’08 and 128 last season.   The 1997 ROY seemed to spark the Reds.  Or did he?  Take a close look at just who the Reds beat up on after Rolen arrived. 

One hint, Rolen fared well against Pirate pitchers in his 37 at-bats with 11 hits.  He had two doubles, a triple and a homer piling up nine RBI and five walks.

As Pirate fans, it was fun watching the Reds give up that much talent for Rolen.  The 2010 Reds believe they are ready to make a run., sorry but we don’t see  Rolen being  a big help  270/12HR/60RBI

 

Scott Rolen 2009 stats:

VORP: 4.6

BAVG: .305
OBP: .368
SLG: .455
H: 145
HR: 11
RBI: 67
Runs: 76

5. Pedro Feliz should do well on the right side of the infield with SS Manzella.  The Astros defense will improve.  Houston was in a situation similar to the Bucs at 2B with nobody ready in the minors, so Feliz fills the spot for the right price.  But we don’t like it. Remind me how are the Astros going to score runs this season?   I guess prospect Chris Johnson isn’t even close?

Feliz will jerk a few more HR’s at Minute Maid.   We see 14 but his average will drop from last year .250 to .260.

Feliz had four hits in 22AB against the Bucs in 2009 with two doubles and a homer.  He slugged .778 at Citizens and .154 at PNC.


Pedro Feliz 2009 stats:

VORP: 3.5

BAVG: .266
OBP: .308
SLG: .386
H: 154
HR: 12
RBI: 82 (24 RBI increase over ’08)
Runs: 62

6.  David Freese has solid numbers.  In the minors.  A foot injury sidelined him early last year.  He is a concern at 3B.  What?  The Cardinals have question marks?  Rejoice.  Pardon me readers, the angels are singing right now. 

Freese could put up 10HR and 50 RBI.  Here’s hoping the Cards problems continue, their fans need some suffering.  But here is also hoping Freese doesn’t decide to drink and drive again.  No matter how he struggles.

David Freese 2009 stats:

VORP: 2.3

BAVG: .323 (31AB)
OBP: .353
SLG: .484
H: 10
HR: 1
RBI: 7
Runs: 3

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