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Rowland’s NL power rankings

1. St. Louis. Carpenter and Wainwright on the mound, Pujols and Holliday at bat. The Cards have bullpen issues (not sold on Ryan Franklin) but playing in the Central can turn a very good team into a great one.

2. Colorado. Huston Street will start the season on the DL, though he’s not expected to miss much time. Assuming he doesn’t, the Rockies have fewer holes than any NL team. Great at nothing, above average at everything and only getting better.

3. Philadelphia. They can’t get by with that bullpen forever, but if Lidge reverts to 2008 form they’ll be the class of the NL.

4. The local nine. Like the Rockies, minus the speed but with better starting pitching. B-Mac is an under the radar MVP pick. Bet on 30 homers, 110 RBI and a .300-plus BA.

5. San Fran. Jonathan Sanchez will take a big step forward this season, a la Matt Cain in 2009. But can the Giants’ peerless rotation overcome a middling offense? It won’t be as captivating as the ’93 race, but the Giants could emerge as the Braves’ biggest rival in 2010. Their lack of depth will hurt.

6. Los Angeles. They should be atop this list, if not for the McCourts. Five words: Vincente Padilla, Opening Day starter — though he’s far from the Dodgers’ best hurler. Don’t be surprised if Clayton Kershaw wins the Cy Young.

7. Florida. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are studs. The rest of their rotation (welcome, Nate Robertson) sucks, though if Annibal Sanchez reaches his potential the Fish become contenders.

8. Cincy. My annual dark horse has become everyone’s dark horse in 2010. They have the talent to contend but are still a year away. Cincy’s 2011 rotation — Chapman, Cueto, Bailey and Volquez — will be the envy of baseball.

9. Milwaukee. The Brew Crew’s future may well depend on what they get for Prince Fielder when the inevitable trade occurs. Erecting a statue of Bud Selig in front of Miller Park is bad karma.

10. Arizona. If Brandon Webb, KJ and Chris Young bounce back, watch out. Too many ifs, but Justin Upton can overcome a lot of uncertainty.

11. Chicago. Plummeting fast. If Troy Glaus doesn’t pan out (and the Braves are in contention) expect to hear plenty of  Derrek Lee (a FA after this season) to Atlanta rumors.

12. San Diego. No one thought they’d win 75 games last year. They have enough young talent to win five more this season, assuming they don’t trade Adrian Gonzalez. Watch out for Kyle Blanks.

13. Muts. Oliver Perez. Mike Pelfrey. Jeff Francoeur. A hobbled Carlos Beltran. Jose Reyes’ tricky thyroid. And now, Manny Acosta in the ‘pen. A .500 record would be an achievement for this bunch.

14. Houston. Getting old fast with little help on the farm. Only a team run by Ed Wade would re-sign Brian Moehler (8-12, 5.47 ERA in ’09).

15. Pittsburgh. How long ’til they trade Andrew McCutchen?

16. Washington. The baseball establishment has eagerly jumped on their bandwagon, but why? Strasburg will start the season in Double-A and their only additions of note are Jason Marquis and Pudge Rodriguez. Neither would make the 2010 Braves. Check back in two years.

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15 Comments on Rowland’s NL power rankings

  1. Is anyone attending Opening Day? I’m flying in from Omaha to see the game and would love to give a “hello” to fellow Office devotees.

  2. PepeFreeUs // March 31, 2010 at 1:13 am //

    If we wind up with DLee, I may wet my pants with glee.

    Agreed, completely, about the Nationals and their sudden status as sexy pick. They suck, from top to bottom.

    You may have the Dodgers a little too high.

  3. CD and I will both be there, CMC (though not together). Where you sittin?

  4. Jack Straw // March 31, 2010 at 7:59 am //

    The Phillies are aging, though they still are the team to beat in the East. Unless Happ can repeat what he did last year, they will find themselves struggling a little, Roy Halladay notwithstanding.

  5. Sure, let the Phils edge us out for the division title. The Bravos, plus the wild card, plus Bobby’s last go round, equals a team on a mission.

    Wish I was heading back for Opening Day. I’ll be watching in Pacific Standard Time.

  6. I used to be a PST’er. I sort of enjoyed watching games at 4:30 (back when I was a freelancer/bum)

  7. Tofu Dan // March 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm //

    Nice to get the first pitch in the late afternoon. And football kicks off at 10am. And Dustin Hoffman stands in front of you at Kinkos. And yes, I’m aware that third one is unrelated.

  8. rankin' rob // March 31, 2010 at 1:20 pm //

    Chipper’s out today with an ingrown toenail. And so the steady drip drip drip begins.

    With as many toe problems as he’s had over the years, I think he’s wearing the wrong size cleats. Could he be that dumb?

  9. I have a great story about Jonathan Silverman, his rabbi father and Jose Canseco’s-ex.

  10. I’ll be in the last row of the Hank Aaron seats. Would lvoe to meet the faces behind Rowland.

  11. I’m in Upper Box, 410. Feel free to email me: and we’ll try to figure something out.

  12. PepeFreeUs // March 31, 2010 at 5:24 pm //

    I think Jack is dead on. The Phillies are about one bad campaign away from falling off the map like the Mets have.

    They were the best team in the division for 3 years straight and now, 2 years later, they’re a pile of shit. If you get old/hurt in unison and have nothing to replenish the team with (which they don’t), you can be in big trouble. Halliday might find hismelf in the same position Santana’s in now in 2011 or ’12.

  13. clete boyer fan // March 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm //

    I’ll be there; love the afternoon time. I need to kick Paddy in the pants though to see what his plans are.

  14. Wren will we build a winner // March 31, 2010 at 11:37 pm //

    I think your list is about what I’d say. I might flip Cincy and the Brewers. I always think its Cincy’s time to take the next step and they never do. Wish I could go to opening day but live in Nashville and I’m lucky I’m getting to take a half day at work to watch the game. Guess I’ll have to settle with going home and firing up the grill and enjoying some adult beverages, burgers, and the game with my friends.

  15. I’m a Braves fan too but the Phillies are better; even with their uneven bullpen. They also have the cash and the coulyans to trade for relievers. I’d rate the Phils one spot eblow the Cardinals. San Diego and Cincinnati will both win more games than they did last year.

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