MLB NL Central Report Card 2022
The National League Central was a relatively competitive division between its first and second place teams, but the other three let the division slip away in failure and rebuilding years.
Here’s a season recap of the NL Central:
St. Louis Cardinals (93-69): A-
St. Louis walked away with the division, but it was still a Wild Card pick and a first-round exit at that.
With the postseason loss to Philadelphia, two legends left St. Louis: Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. Pujols joined the prestigious 700 home runs club and had a Home Run Derby stint, and Molina and Adam Wainwright set a record for consecutive games as a pitcher-catcher battery.
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt both had great offensive seasons, and they were both nominated for National League MVP alongside Padres shortstop Manny Machado.
The Cardinals had the power to go farther in the postseason, but lost to the eventual NL champions anyways. “A-” for effort.
Milwaukee Brewers (88-76): B
The Brewers finished second in the division and fell short of a Wild Card spot.
A trade with the San Diego Padres sent All-Star closer Josh Hader to California in exchange for Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet and two prospects.
A potential great season from Christian Yelich was plagued by two trips to the injured reserve, and Hunter Renfroe went on the injured reserve early after his trade to Milwaukee.
The Brew Crew played tough, but got themselves into a losing stint toward the end of the season that resulted in Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Diego with the three Wild Cards.
The Brewers receive a “B” for trying but not succeeding.
Chicago Cubs (74-88): C-
If you looked up “rebuild” in the dictionary, there would be a big picture of the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs have had losing records for the past three seasons and lost a lot of key players from the World Series team.
Patrick Wisdom had a decent season for Chicago, and Ian Happ posted good numbers, but most of Chicago's roster is unrecognizable
All-Star catcher Willson Contreras is a free agent and also rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer.
The Cubs need to offer Contreras more if they want to keep him and receive a “C-“ in hopes of next time.
Cincinnati Reds (62-100): D
The Reds had too talented of a roster to end up tied for last in the division.
Joey Votto went down hard due to rotator cuff surgery, and Mike Moustakas ended up on the injured list six times last season.
Johnathan India was also injured for a few months of the season but posted relatively similar numbers in his sophomore season.
The Reds sent Luis Castillo to the Mariners in exchange for prospects; a trade that might work out for Cincinnati in the future, but didn’t do a lot to improve the team right now.
Though not walking out to trumpets, Alexis Diaz was great out of the bullpen in his rookie season with a 1.84 ERA in 59 games.
The injuries didn’t help the Reds this season, and it feels like they wasted potential. “D” for Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh Pirates (62-100): D
The ship didn’t sail this season for the Pirates, as they tied for last with Cincinnati.
Oneil Cruz is the shining, promising light for the Pirates, hitting .233 and 49 RBI in 87 games.
The Tampa Bay Rays just traded first baseman Ji-Man Choi to the Bucs for a pitching prospect, who could build a strong infield alongside Cruz or an impactful utility player.
The Pirates need to build a stronger pitching staff and bullpen in the offseason. They receive a “D” for having a similar year to Cincinnati and hopes of acquisitions paying off.
Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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