NL Central Intelligence: A Look Around the Division for the Week of March 18

The regular season starts on Thursday, which means we are less than a week away! The anticipation is really getting to most fans, but here is a recap of spring training in the central to hold you over.

Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs are 18-12 this spring
  • As the roster takes shape, Victor Caratini has been named the backup catcher over Chris Gimenez
  • Joe Maddon announced that the Cubs will carry eight relievers ;this is good news for a guy like Eddie Butler, who has been battling for a spot on the roster the entire spring
  • Ian Happ has seven home runs this spring, five of which have led off games; are the Cubs still looking for a leadoff hitter?

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Take it for what it’s worth, but the Crew have clinched the Cactus League title at 19-9 with some games to play
  • Yovani Gallardo and last season’s Opening Day starter Junior Guerra have both been informed they did not make the roster; Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter will round out the rotation
  • Ryan Braun is going to get some time at first base this season against left handed starters, which will be a big change for a guy who’s been an outfielder for a majority of his career
  • We have talked about him before, but it’s worth mentioning again: Keep an eye on Keston Hiura, a rookie hit .419 this spring

St. Louis Cardinals

  • The Cardinals are 16-11 as we wrap up spring training
  • The Birds have gotten some horrible news to start the season: Closer Luke Gregerson and starter Adam Wainwright will both start the season on the disabled list, thinning the limited depth they already have
  • Infielder Yairo Munoz is going to make the Opening Day roster, a nice opportunity for the rookie to prove he belongs
  • Miles Mikolas has finished his spring strong after a rough start; he looks primed and ready to go for the season, so at least St. Louis has one guy who’s not battling an injury

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • The Pirates are 10-18 in spring, just waiting to start the season
  • The Bucs have revealed their rotation to start the season: Ivan Nova will start Opening Day, followed by Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl; Jameson Taillon will be the fourth starter, with Joe Musgrove rounding things out
  • Tyler Glasnow will make the team, but will work out of the bullpen; he can have a lot of success there facing fewer hitters on a game-by-game basis
  • Closer Felipe Rivero was locked up long-term earlier this off season, signing a four-year contract extension worth $22.5 million

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds sit at 10-17 in spring games; good thing these don’t count, right?
  • Homer Bailey was announced as the Opening Day starter; Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sal Romano are set in the rotation, while the fifth spot is coming down to Amir Garrett and Brandon Finnegan.
  • Ben Revere has failed to make the Opening Day roster and will go to Triple-A Louisville; he would have been a fine bench player with his speed
  • Journeyman infielder Cliff Pennington has found a home again, making the Reds roster out of camp
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