5th of 6 division review as the first regular season games will be played in Japan on Wednesday and Thursday. Today post will focus on the AL Central. Tigers won the division commandingly finishing 15 games over second place Cleveland Indians.
2011 Final AL Central standings:
- Detroit Tigers: (95-67)
- Cleveland Indians: (80-82)
- Chicago White Sox: (79-83)
- Kansas City Royals: (71-91)
- Minnesota Twins: (63-99)
2012 ALC Predictions:
- Detroit Tigers (96-66)
- Cleveland Indians (83-79)
- Minnesota Twins(79-83)
- Chicago White Sox (77-85)
- KC Royals (76-86)
Tigers Analyst: Tigers won the AL Central last season by a landslide- 15 games over the Indians. They may be even better this season as they went out and made a helluva big impact signing Prince Fielder- switching leagues should NOT be a problem for the big man. Miggy Cabrera banged up at the moment but he should be fine- moving to third base after the Tigers signed Prince. He does have past experience at third base playing for the Marlins but his defense is average or possibly less. After that the Tigers don’t really have anymore superstar power in the starting nine but they do have good players. Austin Jackson makes the opposing infielders sweat even a rouetine groundball with his speed, Brandon Boesch, Johnny Peralata and Ryan Raburn. Of course the Tigers also have Justin Verlander- coming off not only a CY Young but also a MVP award season which he won 21 games and also had a no-hitter to his credit vs Toronto. He is followed in the staff by Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello. Tigers will also have a threat in the ‘pen with Joaquin Benoit setting up and Jose Valverde shutting the door.
Indians analyst: In a cointoss for 2nd place, I’ll go with the Indians. They continue to take baby steps back to try to take over on top of the division. They have some pieces to the puzzle- Carlos Santana, Astrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, Shin-soo-Choo, and Travis Hafner. Though it has been very difficult to keep Sizemore, Hafner off the DL in past few years- add Choo to the list after a season-shortening injury last year. They do have potential, but will need to keep those guys healthy- which will be key for the Tribe’s playoff chances. Pitching rotation seeks to be of Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, veteran Derek Lowe and “Fausto Carmona” or whatever his real name is.
Twins Analyst: Was a very dissapointing 2011 season for the Twinkies. Combination of on-the-field struggles and major injuries to their team proved to be the twin killer on the season. Finishing last in the AL Central and winning only 66 ball games. I pick the Twins 3rd but only under one condition- if they can stay healthy, they should be fine. If not they will fall to 4th if not last place again. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau the two M&M boys went down with injuries being the final huge blow to their team. If they can be healthy all season long- they could pay huge dividents. With Target Field being the way it is, Justin Morneau should hit more than his 2011 HR total which was 4 because the injury, I doubt he hits more than 25. Pitching looks blah….the ‘stache Carl Pavano has always seemed to be injury-prone but hes the leader of the staff. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, and Nick Blackburn closes out the starting pitchers- average at best.
White Sox analyst: Chi sox roster not clearly not full of any big names. Adam Dunn probably the biggest name on the team and he has struggled producing runs and slugging out big numbers. One guy I do like watching play is Alexei Ramirez. Paul Konerko is still going strong and is 4 homers away to joining the 400 home run club. Other than that the White Sox don’t have much to jump up and down about. I have Chi Sox over Royals for 4th mostly due to the strength of the rotation. I think they are better than the Royals starting five- John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Philp Humber and Chris Sale. Though don’t expect anything great to come from the south side of Chicago this year. Nor the north side.
Royals Analyst: Royals and Kauffman stadium will host the all star game this season, which has spiked up the number of tickets sold due to the first come first serve tickets for the ASG via ticket plan. Royals have a botload of major league ready players about to explode onto the scene but probably not this year. Eric Hosmer will be making his first full season looking to improve on a decent half of year, Jeff Francouer, Billy Butler some boppers. Main concern for the Royals is its pitching. Luke Hochevar likely the leader, Bruce Chen, Jonathan Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy. No big names making pitching a real concern, which is why I have them finishing 5th although they can switch with Chicago at the end.
Reviewing the post: Tigers (1st) Tribe (2nd) Twinkies(3rd) Chi Sox (4th) Royals (5th)