The National League Central Dream Lineup 2013 may be the best divisional lineup from top to bottom. There is a great mix of young players, in their prime stars and veterans still raking. Many of the dangerous hitters in the lineup excel on the basepaths. The team can also flash the leather, with five current or former gold glove winners
1. Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates 8 (CF) Bats: Right
McCutcheon is no longer an emerging star, he arrived in 2012, finishing third in the MVP voting. In 2012 McCutchen knocked 31 home runs while slugging .553 with an OPS of .952. His 107 runs scored and .400 OBP make him a good fit at the top of the order. The fleet footed center fielder stole 20 bags while rounding out the complete package with an outfield gold glove.
2. Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds 4 (2B) Bats: Right
Since his arrival prior to the 2006 season, Phillips has been a solid producer for the Reds. He hit 18 home runs for the third straight year in 2012 and averages 15 steals per season since 2010. Another plus fielder with three gold gloves.
3. Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers 7 (LF) Bats: Right
Two thirds of the National League Central Dream Lineup outfield, Carlos Beltran (3) of the St. Louis Cardinals and outfielder Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate scoring during the first inning of the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports
The best hitter in the National League has finished 1st and 2nd in the last two MVP votes. Braun is a five time All-Star and five time Silver Slugger. He has posted five straight seasons with an .860 or better OPS, leading the NL in that category in 2011 and 2012. The past two seasons Braun averaged 37 homers and 112 RBI while swiping a combined 63 bags.
4. Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds 3 (1B) Bats: Left
Votto has established himself as one of the games premier hitters. The 2010 MVP had a higher OPS than Braun in 2012, but did not have enough AB’s to qualify for the award. The extra base hit machine had 44 doubles in 11 games in 2012 and has posted an OPS of .900 or better since 2009.
5. Aramis Ramirez Milwaukee Brewers 5 (3B) Bats: Right
Its hard to believe the veteran hot cornerman is only 34. A model of consistency he has nine years of 100+ RBI in his 15 year career. 2012 was another solid season for Ramirez, leading the league with 50 doubles while hitting 27 home runs and driving in 105 runs.
6. Carlos Beltran St. Louis Cardinals 9 (RF) Bats: Both
Beltran has a nice bounceback year for Mike Matheny though he faded after the All-Star break. Beltran’s .495 slugging percentage was in line with his career average as he belted 32 home runs and added 97 RBI. Though no longer a speedster, he still managed 13 steals.
7.Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals 2 (C) Bats:Right
The winner of five straight Gold Gloves came to the majors as a defense first catcher, but has emerged as a legitimate threat with the stick. In his ninth year he posted highs in every major statistical category including 22 home runs, 75 RBI and slugging over .500 for the first time.
8. Starlin Castro Chicago Cubs 6 (SS) Bats: Right
The 22 year old Castro has been one of the few bright spots on Waveland Avenue the past three seasons. His .323 OBP and low base on ball rate is why he does not bat leadoff in this lineup. Castro did hit an impressive 14 home runs for a shortstop and drive in 78 runs. He stole 25 bags but was thrown out a league leading 13 times.
9. Mike Leake Cincinnati Reds 9 (P) Bats: Right
The 25 year old Leake has an impressive .274 career batting average in 164 at bats. In 2012 he hit his first two career homers, driving in three runs. Leake slugged .443 in 61 AB’s in 2012.