ST. LOUIS • Middle League middle-america team orders have produced seven of the last 11 most valuable players and National League Central teams have long claimed the best congregation of the first basemen in baseball.
On Wednesday, the group became even stronger.
In comments to Chicago media on Thursday, Cubs president, Theo Epstein, pointed out that he and his staff expect the Cardinals to bring together young talents and make a significant move, like Wednesday's first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The puppies have advertised moderation this winter, suggesting that any large pursuit would require a difficult reorganization of the payroll and the roster, given the commitments they have already made for the launchers and still have to get to Kris Bryant. The Cubs have seen the Cardinals as an aggressor on the market this winter – again.
"Not having done the playoffs for three years in a row and having that kind of depth of younger talent, we expected them to do another consolidation move for another great player, and they definitely have an elite player in Paul Goldschmidt, "Epstein told journalists in Chicago. "The Cardinals do a great job producing young talents, they have a lot of depth of young players and last winter it made a lot of sense to consolidate a lot of their young talent and their resources into one great player, and they did it with the trade of (Marcell) Ozuna ".
Milwaukee midfielder Christian Yelich became the second player of NL Central in three years to win MVP after Bryant. Of the last 11 MVPs of the NL, seven were won by NL Central players and four of these players are still in the division: Yelich (2018), Bryant (2016), Ryan Braun (2011) and Joey Votto (2010). Before that group, Albert Pujols won two back-to-back MVPs in 2009 and 2008.
As a cardinal, Pujols reached his position – and even after his migration to the American League in 2011, the first base was a force for many NL Central teams.
Since 2012, the first season of the division has not had Pujols, until today, Votto leads all the first baseman with a 0957 OPS, and the first Cubs player Anthony Rizzo is in fifth place with an .864 OPS. There, in second place behind Votto, there is Goldschmidt, with a .934 OPS since 2012. Rizzo is fifth among the first basemen with a slug percentage of .493 since 2013, and Votto is in second place in the position with a slug percentage of .516.
First of all when it comes to slugging?
"It was a big division before that trade and even better now," said Epstein. "It's to be expected, I said exactly the same thing last year, I just think the Central NL deserves it and we have our work to do for us, and that's what it should be."