FIP+: National League Central

At what point does the MLB reallign so we don't have six teams in one division?

Chicago Cubs

NAME IP FIP+
Kerry Wood 66.3 194
Scott Eyre 11.3 148
Jeff Samardzija 27.7 145
Rich Harden 71 138
Ryan Dempster 206.7 124
Carlos Marmol 87.3 121
Angel Guzman 9.7 108
Sean Gallagher 58.7 105
Randy Wells 4.3 103
Sean Marshall 65.3 103
Michael Wuertz 44.7 102
Bob Howry 70.7 102
Neal Cotts 35.7 102
Carlos Zambrano 188.7 101
Ted Lilly 204.7 99
Chad Gaudin 27.3 98
Kevin Hart 27.7 98
Jason Marquis 167 95
Jon Lieber 46.7 88
Rich Hill 19.7 73
Jose Ascanio 5.7 68
Chad Fox 3.3 48
Carmen Pignatiello 0.7 27

Kerry Wood missed some time due to injury this season as well, but for the most part he stayed on the field and excelled. 66.3 innings of 194 FIP+ ball is pretty impressive. Throw in Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol and the Cubs bullpen is extremely solid for years to come, assuming that Wood does re-sign in Chicago. Rich Harden or Ryan Dempster were the Cubs best starter, but unfortunately for the Cubs only one other starter, Carlos Zambrano finished with a FIP+ over 100, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, and potentially some combination of Chad Gaudin or Rich Hill will need to rise to the occasion next season. Chad Fox's attempt at a return did not go well or last long.

Cincinnati Reds

NAME IP FIP+
Bill Bray 47 135
Edinson Volquez 196 124
Jeremy Affeldt 78.3 121
Francisco Cordero 70.3 120
Jared Burton 58.7 118
Daniel Herrera 7.3 112
David Weathers 69.3 108
Ramon Ramirez 27 101
Bronson Arroyo 200 99
Mike Lincoln 70.3 99
Matt Belisle 29.7 97
Aaron Harang 184.3 95
Johnny Cueto 174 91
Kent Mercker 13.7 91
Nick Masset 17.3 89
Gary Majewski 40 87
Josh Fogg 78.3 74
Todd Coffey 19.3 73
Homer Bailey 36.3 71
Jon Adkins 3.7 67
Daryl Thompson 14.3 67
Adam Pettyjohn 4 43

This just in: Edison Volquez is really, really good. The two bullpen additions were pretty solid as well in Jeremy Affeldt (a free agent this off-season as well) and Francisco Cordero. You'll note that most of the Reds' above average pitchers were relievers, including Daniel Herrera who was the other part of the Josh Hamilton deal. Bronson Arroyo delivered about 200 innings of average ball, and Aaron Harang was slightly worse, as was Jonny Cueto. Homer Bailey and Josh Fogg were pretty awful to tally more than 100 innings, even worse: Fogg logged 3/4ths of them.

Houston Astros

NAME IP FIP+
LaTroy Hawkins 21 295
Jose Valverde 72 124
Chris Sampson 117.3 120
Geoff Geary 64 120
Wandy Rodriguez 137.3 119
Doug Brocail 68.7 118
Roy Oswalt 208.7 113
Alberto Arias 8 111
Randy Wolf 70.7 111
Fernando Nieve 10.7 111
Brian Moehler 150 94
Wesley Wright 55.7 89
Jack Cassel 30.3 85
Tim Byrdak 55.3 80
Chad Paronto 10.3 79
Shawn Chacon 85.7 76
Brandon Backe 166.7 74
Runelv. Hernandez 19.3 74
Dave Borkowski 36 74
Oscar Villarreal 37.7 57

I think LaTroy Hawkins may have avoided the non-roster invitee tag with his 21 innings in Houston. Chris Sampson is still going to be a steal for some team if they can pry him from Ed Wade's hands. Roy Oswalt recovered from a rough start to finish above average, although not by as much as you would expect. Serious question: how did Brandon Backe rack up 167 innings for Houston?

Milwaukee Brewers

 

NAME IP FIP+
Todd Coffey 7.3 202
Julian Tavarez 7.3 172
C.C. Sabathia 130.7 168
Ben Sheets 198.3 125
Brian Shouse 51.3 113
Salomon Torres 80 104
Yovani Gallardo 24 103
Manny Parra 166 102
Zach Jackson 3.7 102
Mitch Stetter 25.3 97
Seth McClung 105.3 96
Mark DiFelice 19 96
Guillermo Mota 57 96
Carlos Villanueva 108.3 94
Dave Bush 185 86
Tim Dillard 14.3 83
Jeff Suppan 177.7 79
David Riske 42.3 78
Eric Gagne 46.3 71
Derrick Turnbow 6.3 44

The Brewers made restructuring their bullpen a top priority last off-season, which is why it's somewhat ironic that their top two contributors (in terms of FIP+ at least) from the pen were late season acquisitions Julian Tavarez and Todd Coffey while Eric Gagne and David Riske were two of the worst. Derrick Turnbow was also just pitiful. I believe I called their bullpen one of the most volatile I'd seen purely from the amount of boom or bust types, and boy they delivered. Salomon Torres was a bit above average, and there's really not much more to say about CC Sabathia, he was just straight up amazing at times. Ben Sheets was also very good, almost topping the 200 innings mark as well.

Pittsburgh Pirates

 

NAME IP FIP+
Ty Taubenheim 6 127
Damaso Marte 46.7 125
Matt Capps 53.7 124
Tyler Yates 73.3 100
Paul Maholm 206.3 99
Romulo Sanchez 13.3 98
Jesse Chavez 15 97
Zach Duke 185 93
John Grabow 76 91
Phil Dumatrait 78.7 90
Ian Snell 164.3 89
Jeff Karstens 51.3 85
Yoslan Herrera 18.3 85
Jason Davis 34 84
Denny Bautista 41.3 82
T.J. Beam 45.7 81
Sean Burnett 56.7 81
Franquelis Osoria 60.7 80
Ross Ohlendorf 22.7 77
Tom Gorzelanny 105.3 64
Craig Hansen 15.7 60
Matt Morris 22.3 58
Marino Salas 17 54
Evan Meek 13 53
Jimmy Barthmaier 10.3 50
John V. Benschoten 22.3 48

One day Pirates fans are going to look back at their 2008 pitching staff like Rays fans do their 2007 staff. Outside of Matt Capps there was not much positive happening post-trade deadline. Paul Maholm ate a ton of innings at an average rate at least. Tyler Yates was okay too, but otherwise there's not much to say. They will be better next year, I have faith in Neal Huntington.

St. Louis Cardinals

 

NAME IP FIP+
Jason Motte 11 418
Josh Kinney 7 336
Chris Carpenter 15.3 141
Aaron Miles 1 134
Russ Springer 50.3 118
Adam Wainwright 132 110
Kyle Lohse 200 107
Kyle McClellan 75.7 106
Brad Thompson 64.7 101
Anthony Reyes 14.7 99
Christopher Perez 41.7 95
Ron Villone 50 95
Todd Wellemeyer 191.7 92
Braden Looper 199 91
Ryan Franklin 78.7 90
Joel Pineiro 148.7 87
Mike Parisi 23 86
Jason Isringhausen 42.7 85
Randy Flores 25.7 85
Mark Worrell 5.7 73
Mark Mulder 1.7 69
Mitchell Boggs 34 65
Kelvin Jimenez 24 59
Jaime Garcia 16 58

And then there's the Cardinals. Aaron Miles pitched one inning and has a 134 FIP+, gotta love that. Kyle Lohse getting a big deal looks awful using your pitching metric of choice, 4/41 for a 107 FIP+? Ew, and consider that the Cardinals dealt Anthony Reyes, who probably puts up near similar numbers given the opportunity, good get by the Indians. Jason Isringhausen enters the free agency market with one of his worst seasons.

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