Today I am posting the first and second place teams Net Runs Above Average figures for the National League. Included again are the individual starting players NRAA scores, as well as team totals (for the starters). Let me put the chart in, then discuss what we see.
Let's start with the Phillies. They are not really the offensive juggernaut we assume them to be, as we can see from their NRAA scores. Much of it has to do with not having much for plus defenders on the team, while some of the blame lies on overinflated home stats. Since they lack the pitching to contend with the Cardinals, Braves or Astros (and a healthy Padres squad) I don't really see them surviving if they did reach the playoffs due to a lack of real threats. The offense is not as good as other offenses, and neither is the pitching. Also, Jason Michaels would be the team leader in NRAA if he were a starter in place of Kenny Lofton. He is better defensively (114 Rate2) and offensively (8.3 MLV in 76 games for an NRAA/162 of 40.37).
The Cardinals and Braves are the two best teams on this list, but the Braves are up there with the Cards offensively/defensively at the moment thanks to a small sample size from Jeff Francoeur. If he slips for a week offensively the Braves numbers will come down to earth rapidly. This isn't an omen so much as a warning for the Braves reliance on Francoeur to keep pace with the Cardinals in NRAA.
The Padres should have no trouble holding on in the NL West now that they regained the top spot with a little footing to spare. Their NRAA figure is superior to the D'backs, and they have the better pitching staff even without Adam Eaton. I really cannot stress these two numbers enough:
Guess whose splits those are? "Brian Giles, the Hall of Fame called. They said get the hell out of San Diego this winter if you want to ever talk to them again."
Oddly enough Arizona's NRAA figures are far superior to the White Sox ones I posted yesterday, as well as the Angels, but since their pitching is not that exquisite at all, they are a much worse team than those two. An overeliance on pitching beats a balanced offensive/defensive team it seems. I'll have to run the NRAA for the AL Central and check their records verse the White Sox to see. Remember, we're still trying to figure out what the NRAA figure has to be to constitute a win advantage (which is why I'm not so sure correlating with runs scored is that big a deal, due to the above average-ness of NRAA. You don't have to be above average to score runs.)
The Houston Astros...Ensberg, Berkman, Biggio, Clemens, Pettite, Oswalt, Lidge, Wheeler. No seriously, thats the whole team. I applaud the Astros for winning with an 8 man roster. I didn't think it was possible, but I tip my cap to the pitching performances of those 5 guys (especially the Big Three in the rotation. Give Roy Oswalt some love people!).