A fantasy baseball look at the National League Central in 2011 . . .
Players to draft in early rounds: Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman.
Players to draft in middle rounds: Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez, Francisco Cordero
Players to draft in late rounds: Jonny Gomes, Edgar Renteria, Ramon Hernandez, Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Nick Masset.
Reds’ biggest fantasy questions: Is this the year Francisco Cordero loses closer job? Can Joey Votto continue to improve? Can Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez stay healthy and consistent? Will Drew Stubbs take the next step? How much does Scott Rolen, Edgar Renteria have left?
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Players to draft in early rounds: Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday.
Players to draft in middle rounds: Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia, Lance Berkman.
Players to draft in late rounds: Ryan Franklin, Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumacher, David Freese.
Cardinals’ biggest fantasy questions: How much will contract talk surrounding Albert Pujols affect the team? Can Chris Carpenter stay healthy? Was Jaime Garcia’s 2010 season a fluke? Can Lance Berkman find happiness in the outfield? Other than Pujols, who is going to start on Cardinals’ infield?
Players to draft in early rounds: Ryan Braun, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo.
Players to draft in middle rounds: John Axford, Shaun Marcum, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart.
Players to draft in late rounds: Yuniesky Bettancourt, Randy Wolf, Chris Narveson.
Brewers’ biggest fantasy questions: Can Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum make smooth transition to National League? Can John Axford repeat what he did in 2010? Is Rickie Weeks going to remain a consistent elite fantasy player?
Players to draft in early rounds: Carlos Marmol.
Players to draft in middle rounds: Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Geovanny Soto, Alfonso Soriano.
Players to draft in late rounds: Tyler Colvin, Kerry Wood, Randy Wells, Thomas Diamond, Andrew Cashner, Marlon Byrd.
Cubs’ biggest fantasy questions: Will Carlos Zambrano avoid his yearly meltdown? Can Carlos Pena get his average up to .240? Will Aramis Ramirez, Geovanny Soto stay healthy? WIll Alfonso Soriano ever be a base stealing threat again? Can Andrew Cashner, Thomas Diamond pay dividends in 2011? How many at-bats will Tyler Colvin receive? Will Starlin Castro suffer from a sophomore jinx?
Players to draft in early rounds: Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence.
Players to draft in middle rounds: Bill Hall, Wandy Rodriguez, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers.
Players to draft in late rounds: J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, Brandon Lyon, Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace.
Astros’ biggest fantasy questions: Can Carlos Lee rebound? Will Bill Hall take advantage of starting job? Can Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace get better?
Players to draft in early rounds: Andrew McCutcheon.
Players to draft in middle rounds: Neil Walker, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata.
Players to draft in late rounds: Lyle Overbay, Garrett Jones, Matt Diaz, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf.
Pirates’ biggest fantasy questions: Can Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata take the next step and help lead this team? Is Neil Walker going to repeat his rookie year? Where will catchers Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder get their at-bats? Can this organization ever develop some consistent starting pitching? Can Andrew McCutcheon continue on his path of becoming the National League’s Carl Crawford?