Sunday, March 20, 2011

AL Central Preview

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1st Place - Minnesota Twins


Key Players:
1B Justin Morneau
OF Delmon Young
C Joe Mauer
DH Jason Kubel
SP Francisco Liriano
SP Carl Pavano
RP Joe Nathan
RP Matt Capps

The Twins have a better overall pitching staff than the Sox do, will play better defense and I think they have a better all-around ballclub. The Japanese import Nishioka looks very good, and Mauer and Morneau both should be healthy by opening day, and that always means the Twins offense is in good shape. If Liriano returns to Cy Young candidate form (he made great strides last year) and Joe Nathan regains his pre-injury form, the Twins will compete for the AL Pennant. I'm picking the Twins, but it also wouldn't surprise me to see this division come down to the final few games and I certainly wouldn't bet on any team in this bunch.

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2nd Place - Chicago White Sox

Key Players:
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
OF Alex Rios
OF Carlos Quentin
SS Alexi Ramirez
SP Mark Buehrle
SP Jake Peavy
RP Matt Thornton

This is one of the tougher divisions to pick in all of baseball due to the fact that 3 of the 5 teams are so darn evenly matched. I think the ChiSox have a slight edge offensively over everyone else, but I think the Twins are stronger overall. If Chicago gets 25-30 starts out of Jake Peavy then that will drastically help their chances. Not only can this lineup take you deep, but they have speed as well. A little thin in the bullpen though, where first-time closer Matt Thornton leads the charge.

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3rd Place - Detroit Tigers

Key Players:
DH Victor Martinez
RF Maglio Ordonez
1B Miguel Cabrera
CF Austin Jackson
SP Justin Verlander
SP Edwin Jackson
RP Jose Valverde

The Tigers didn't do a darn thing to improve their team this winter and are returning the same bunch that disappointed in 2010. Miguel Cabrera is great, no doubt about that, but he's going through some personal issues and outside of him and Vic Martinez, that lineup is paper thin and will struggle to score runs. They have some nice young arms in Scherzer and Porcello and a strong ace with Verlander, but aren't deep enough to compete with the Twins or ChiSox.

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4th Place - Cleveland Indians

Key Players:
RF Shin-Soo Choo
CF Grady Sizemore
1B Matt LaPorta
C Carlos Santana
SP Fausto Carmona
RP Chris Perez

The Indians have a few nice young bats in the lineup, but their pitching staff is unproven. They don't have a particularly strong bullpen either, but young closer Chris Perez certainly sticks out in the group. Sizemore, LaPorta, Choo and Santana are all keepers, but everyone else in that lineup would be bench players on solid clubs.

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5th Place - Kansas City Royals

Key Players:
DH Billy Butler
RF Jeff Francoeur
SS Alcides Escobar
SP Jeff Francis
SP Bruce Chen
RP Joakim Soria

It really seems like the Royals are getting worse each year. This offseason they lost one of their best hitters, possibly their best, in David DeJesus. Then they dealt away Zack Grienke, their franchise player and ace of their staff. It could pay off in the next few years, but right now, they look like a glorified AAA team. There are 2 players on the roster I listed above who I'd entertain taking and those two are Billy Butler and Joakim Soria. Young shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielder Alex Gordon could still turn out to be decent, but neither have shown it yet.

Bold- indicates team's most valuable player

2 comments:

PokerFiend said...

Really cool sports blog, keep up the good work!

Trevor Cole said...

PokerFiend-

I appreciate it! Really starting to pick things up this spring/summer, so do stay tuned.

I call it kind of my fun blog, where i can just talk about whatever the hell I want in the sports world (hence the name of the site) whereas my Giants Baseball Blog is pretty cut and dry: Giants Baseball (don't get me wrong, I love it, which is why it's been running 5+ years). But I can't really be talking NFL draft or March Madness on a Giants Baseball Blog... So this is my spot to vent towards the rest of the sporting world and I'm starting to get more and more time to put into it and am enjoying it more and more.

Thanks again for the comments and please don't be a stranger!