Tag:AL Central
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:15 pm
 

AL Central Preview

I have had a hard time keeping up with this blog the past year or so, but that does not mean i haven't kept up with baseball. I have vigoursly been working on my 2012 MLB Prediction and now that they have been completed I will start releasing them division by division in order of weakest to strongest division. So lets start with the division i think to be the weakest; the American League Central.

The AL Central has one dominant team that none of the other teams really come close to in the Detroit Tigers. The Indians are on the rise but i dont see them improving drastically over their 2011 season and the Royals don't have the pitching yet. Its also strange looking at these divison rankings as the two teams that used to be the class of the division are now securly in the bottom 2 slots. Here is a look at my rankings followed by each teams current depth chart and breif analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.

1. DETROIT TIGERS

C- Alex Avila
1B- Miguel Cabrera
2B- Ramon Santiago
SS- Jhonny Peralta
3B- Brandon Inge/Don Kelly
LF- Ryan Raburn
CF- Austin Jackson
RF- Brennan Boesch
DH- Delmon Young

Pitching-

1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner/Andy Oliver

CL- Jose Valverde
SU- Joaquin Benoit
SU- Octavio Dotel

They have the strongest offense and rotation in the division although this is a relatively weak offensive division. The loss of Victor Martinez to injury is going to hurt, but they may be able to find a "servicable" replacement pretty cheap on the free agent market. The Rotation is solid across the board and they have a legitimate Ace but are they willing to role with Turner as their 5th starter or will they add another arm? All in all this is a solid playoff team although i dont think they are a world series contender.

2. CLEVELAND INDIANS

C- Lou Marson/Carlos Santana
1B- Carlos Santana/Matt LaPorta
2B- Jason Kipnis
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera
3B- Jack Hannahan/Lonnie Chisenhall
LF- Michael Brantley
CF- Grady Sizemore
RF- Shin-Soo Choo
DH- Travis Hafner

Pitching-
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Fausta Carmona?
3. Justin Masterson
4. Josh Tomlin
5. Derek Lowe

CL- Chris Perez
SU- Rafael Perez
SU- Tony Sipp

This is definitely a team on the rise. There are some intriguing rising stars in Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson that will keep this team in the playoff hunt. While there offense is close to the Tigers now with the loss of Victor Martinez, their starting rotation is a notch or two below that of the Tigers, Ubaldo is unpredictable and Fausta Carmona's status (and name) are in question. This is a team that if everything goes right for them could be in a tight race with the Tigers but in all likelyhood are just a .500 team.

3. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

C- Salvador Perez
1B- Eric Hosmer
2B- Johnny Giavotella
SS- Alcides Escobar
3B- Mike Moustakas
LF- Alex Gordon
CF- Lorenzo Cain
RF- Jeff Francoeur
DH- Billy Butler

Pitching-
1. Luke Hochevar
2. Bruce Chen
3. Jonathan Sanchez
4. Felipe Paulino
5. Danny Duffy

CL- Joakim Soria
SU- Jonathan Broxton
SU- Aaron Crow

We have been talking about the Royals farm system for several years now and the those prized prospects are finally starting to emerge. While the pitching prospects struggled last year, the offensive ones have begun to take their spots on the roster. The entire infield is made up of top prospects that all have all-star potential with the exeption of Alcides Escobar (although a gold glove may not be out of the question). As it was this was a very good offense in 2011, and I expect it to continue to improve in 2012 but the pitching staff is where this roster needs improvement. The addition of Sanchez provides depth but they still lack top of the rotation arms. With this pitching staff i doubt they can do better than sub .500 but if some of their prized arms come up and contribute they could be a .500 team. I still think this team is about 2 years away from true contention.

4. MINNESOTA Twins

C- Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit
1B- Justin Morneau/Ryan Doumit
2B- Alexi Casilla
SS- Jamey Carroll
3B- Danny Valencia
LF- Ben Revere
CF- Denard Span
RF- Josh Willingham
DH- Trevor Plouffe

Pitching-
1. Carl Pavano
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Scott Baker
4. Nick Blackburn
5. Brian Duensing/Jason Marquis

CL- Matt Capps
SU- Glen Perkins
SU- Alex Burnett

Once the class of the division the Twins now are struggling to get to .500. This is what happens when your top stars become injury prone and you have a poor supporting cast around them. The offense is weak unless Morneau and Mauer can return to MVP form and the pitching staff is mediocre to bad. They lack a top of the rotation starter and the bullpen is a mess as well. I dont think they will finish any lower than fourth but i dont think there is a lot of potential to finish better than that either.

5. CHICAGO White Sox

C- A.J. Pierzynski
1B- Paul Konerko
2B- Gordon Beckham
SS- Alexei Ramirez
3B- Brent Morel
LF- Alejandro De Aza
CF- Alex Rios
RF- Dayan Viciedo
DH- Adam Dunn

Pitching-
1. John Danks
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Phil Humber
4. Chris Sale
5. Jake Peavy

CL- Matt Thorton
SU- Jesse Crain
SU- Will Ohman

Another team that once dominated the division but has fallen on hard times. Unlike the Twins I think there is more room for improvement as the roster is younger and has more upside. That being said they have to prove it first, thats why have put them this low. It's not the roster that has changed but they have changed to a very inexperienced manager which could lead to some issues. The pitching staff is actually decent but the offense is what needs work. 5th place is a starting point for the White Sox but I could see them finishing ahead of the Twins and ahead of the Royals would be a best case scenario.


So there is my 2012 AL Central preview, look out for my next preview later this week.



 
 
 
 
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