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Rank the NL East! (Around the Infield)

As part of the lead-up to the season, I am ranking every team in the NL East by position and then establish a clarion dominance from one squad. Today: Infielders.

1. Brian Schneider (WAS) (.268/.330/.409/10 HR/44 RBI/1 SB in 116 G with WAS)
2. Paul Lo Duca (NYM) (.283/.334/.380/6 HR/57 RBI/4 SB in 132 G with FLA)
3. Brian McCann (ATL) (.278/.345/.400/5 HR/23 RBI/1 SB in 59 G with ATL)
4. Mike Lieberthal (PHI) (.263/.336/.418/12 HR/47 RBI/0 SB in 118 G with PHI)
5. Josh Willingham (FLA) (.324/.455/.676/19 HR/51 RBI/5 SB in 66 G with AAA Albuquerque)

No Piazza here anymore. A bunch of average hitters with average power. Schneider stands out being younger than Lo Duca and Lieberthal, but putting up better power numbers than Lo Duca and similar numbers to Lieberthal in a much tougher park. Schneider is also the best defensively, as Lo Duca and Lieberthal have deteriorated with age while McCann and Willingham are unproven youngsters, the latter who was moved to left field at one point. However, Willingham is a 27 year old rookie, while McCann is a 22 year old Met killer in training who left the Braves confident enough to trade Johnny Estrada. Expect him to be on the top of this list before long.

First Base:
1. Carlos Delgado (NYM) (.301/.399/.582/33 HR/115 RBI/0 SB in 144 G with FLA)
2. Ryan Howard (PHI) (.288/.356/.567/22 HR/63 RBI/0 SB in 88 G with PHI)
3. Nick Johnson (WAS) (.289/.408/.479/15 HR/74 RBI/3 SB but 8 CS in 131 G with WAS)
4. Adam LaRoche (ATL) (.259/.320/.455/20 HR/78 RBI/0 SB in 141 G with ATL)
5. Mike Jacobs (FLA) (.310/.375/.710/11 HR/23 RBI/0 SB in 30 G with NYM)

Mets and Marlins make a swap. Mets go from worst to first; Marlins from first to worst. Delgado is a machine, driving in 100 runs nearly every year of his career. Howard is a player with a lot of promise who could produce a lot of runs this year. LaRoche and Johnson are enigmas, as they are not typical run producers at first base. Johnson is consistently a good hitter for average and he takes walks, making him more valuable than the challenged LaRoche. Jacobs, however, might have a case for bein on the top of this list this year, as his eyepopping numbers took place in one-fifth of a season. However, based on recent production, the Mets easily have the edge in this category.

Second Base:
1. Chase Utley (PHI) (.291/.376/.540/28 HR/105 RBI/16 SB in 147 G with PHI)
2. Marcus Giles (ATL) (.291/.365/.461/15 HR/63 RBI/16 SB in 152 G with ATL)
3. Jose Vidro (WAS) (.275/.339/.424/7 HR/32 RBI/0 SB in 87 G with WAS)
4. Kaz Matsui (NYM) (.255/.300/.352/3 HR/24 RBI/6 SB in 87 G with NYM)
5. Dan Uggla (FLA) (.297/.378/.502/21 HR/87 RBI/15 SB in 135 G with AA Tennessee)

Well, this group includes a talented yung thumper in Utley, a leadoff hitter and proficient on-base man in Giles, an erstwhile All-Star in Vidro, a former shortstop fallen out of favor, and another unproven youngster with a funny name. This is one funny bunch, despite the fact that it does not include new Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano. Uggla's numbers are quite nice, though he was a 25 year old in Double-A, something that gives him a distinct advantage. If Vidro can stay healthy, it is likely that he could lead the pack.

1. Jimmy Rollins (PHI) (.290/.338/.431/12 HR/54 RBI/41 SB in 158 G with PHI)
2. Jose Reyes (NYM) (.273/.300/.386/7 HR/58 RBI/60 SB in 161 G with NYM)
3. Edgar Renteria (ATL) (.276/.335/.385/8 HR/70 RBI/9 SB in 153 G with BOS)
4. Cristian Guzman (WAS) (.219 /.260/.314/4 HR/31 RBI/7 SB in 142 G with WAS)
5. Hanley Ramirez (FLA) (.271/.335/.385/6 HR/52 RBI/26 SB in 122 G with AA Portland)

An intriguing group. Reyes is only six months older than Ramirez, but he has put together 2 partial seasons and one full season in the major leagues. Ramirez stalled at AA in the Red Sox farm system and wound up being moved in the Josh Beckett trade. Rollins is the best hitter among the bunch, Renteria the most experienced, Reyes the fastest and Cristian Guzman the one who has played the most games in a Minnesota Twins uniform. Renteria is an interesting reclamation project for the Atlanta organization after he made 30 errors at short and fell out of favor quickly in Boston. I see Reyes and Ramirez maturing this year, while Renteria will not produce much for the Braves. Rollins will try to continue his hitting streak at the start of the season, but, as a .253 April hitter the past 3 seasons, it is unlikely he will match Joe D.

Third Base:
1. Miguel Cabrera (FLA) (.323/.385/.561/33 HR/116 RBI/1 SB in 158 G with FLA)
2. David Wright (NYM) (.306/.388/.523/27 HR/102 RBI/17 SB in 160 G with NYM)
3. Larry Jones (ATL) (.296/.412/.556/21 HR/72 RBI/5 SB in 109 G with ATL)
4. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) (.326/.371/.528/9 HR/32 RBI/1 SB in 63 G with AA Harrisburg)
5. David Bell (PHI) (.248/.310/.361/10 HR/61 RBI/0 SB in 150 G with PHI)

It killed me to write this one. When I originally typed it out, I had D-Wright ahead of Cabrera. Cabrera benefited from a productive supporting cast (he was protected by Carlos Delgado and had Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo ahead of him), while Wright protected Cliff Floyd. If Willie does as he says and bats Wright sixth, he should be fired. The lefties should, without a doubt, be split up in the order and Carlos Beltran should not be a #3 hitter. Larry Jones still had a productive season despite being overwhelmed with injuries. However, it is likely that his foot will continue to bother him this season and he will miss significant time. Normally, I don't take minor league stats that seriously, but Zim has been extremely productive. He put up a gaudy AA line after playing 61 extraordinary games at UVA, where he hit .393 with a .469 OBP. He was drafted in the first round last year, and he will be ridiculously productive in the future. David Bell is old, he's having back pain now, what else is new?

Fun stuff. Outfielders and pitchers later.

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