AL Central Preview

Hello Twins fans. Today, I thought we’d take a look at the other teams in the AL Central since the Twins play almost half of the season in this division, 76 games to be exact. I’ve already picked the Twins to win the division (see previous post). What’s take a look at the other 4 teams and tell you where I think each one will finish.

the Chicago White Sox will be the biggest challeger. They picked up Adam Dunn to provide them with an offensive bat in hopes of filling in a offensive whole in their line up. they picked up Jessie Craine from the Twins to fill one of two bullpen spots since Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz departed via free agency.

However, they have an unproven closer in Matt Thornton. The Twins have two possible closers and Joe Nathan and Matt Capps. Nathan will be the closer to start the season and if he faills, Capps will be able to fill in.

Another issue for the White Sox is one of their starteing Pitchers, Jake Peavy, is out for the next few weeks and was out for most of last season. Former Twins Phillip Humber, who has a career 5.26 ERA, will be the No. 5 starter. Let’s take a look at the other four starters with last year’s stats.

Mark Buehrle: 13-13, 4.28 ERA

John Danks: 15-11, 3.72 ERA

Gavin Floyd: 10-13, 4.08 ERA

Edwin Jackson: 10-12, 4.47 ERA

Even though the White Sox have an offensive line up and Buerle and Floyd have had better seasons in years past, I pick the White Sox to finish second and it will be a close second.

As for the Detroit Tigers, I think the thing that will let them down this season will be their defense especially in the middle of the infield with Carlos Guillen and Johnny Paralta. Guillen is on the disabled list to start the season AND COULD BE OUT FOR THE SEASON due to his injured left knee. Magglio Ordonez is unreliable in the outfield, but I think it will be safe to assume that he’s the DH.

The Tigers did get Victor Martinez as an offensive addition to the line up and Joaquin Benoit to as a relief pitcher.

However, I think that the Tigers starting pitching is full of question marks beyond Justin Verlander and Max Sherzer. Let’s take a look at their stats from last season.

Justin Verlander: 18-9, 3.37 ERA

Max Sherzer: 12-11, 3.50 ERA

Rick Porcello: 10-12, 4.92 ERA

Brad Penny: 3-4, 3.23 ERA (only made 9 starts for the st. Louis Cardinals last year)

Phil Coke : 7-5, 3.76 ERA (74 appearances, only made one start)

If any of these starters can have a better season from last year, the Tigers could be a solid contending team. However, since they have question marks with their starting pitching and reliever Joel Zomaya is still recovering from a broken elbow suffered last season at Target Field,  I think the Tigers will finish in third place, but could be dangerous if clicking on all cylinders.

The Cleveland Indians have several young players. Part of their problem is the fact they have 40 percent of their pay roll tied up with two players. Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore. Sizemore is currently on the disabled list and has been out since last season. Hafner’s production is declining.

Other than that, the Indians have several young players and a few veterans. One thing they do have is they have a solid starting pitcher in Fausto Carmona Because of this, I believe the Indians will finish in fourth place.

The Kansas City Royals always seemed to never stick with a plan. Every year it seems, they bring in some over the hill veterans. This past offseason, Kansas City traded their star starting pitcher in Zack Greinke. Now, they have a young ball club. One thing they do have going for them is they have arguably one of the league’s better closers in Joakim Soria. I wouldn’t be surprised that he’s traded by the trading deadline. Because of the fact the Royals are mostly an inexperienced team and no real no. 1 starter, I predict they’ll finish dead last.

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