Monday, July 11, 2011

AL Central Preview - Mid Summer Classic Update


*Predictions are from Opening Day
2010WL2011 PredictionsWL
x-Minnesota9468x-Minnesota9567
Chicago8874Detroit8676
Detroit8181Chicago8379
Cleveland6993Cleveland6696
Kansas City6795Kansas City61101

Opening Day Questions
Will Morneau be Morneau?
  • All Star Break - Yup, and back on the DL he goes!
What impact does Victor Martinez have on Miguel Cabrera?
  • All Star Break - Apparently Cabrera has a bigger impact on Martinez.  Have you seen these guys run walk out ground balls?!
Can Adam Dunn lift the Sox to the top of the division?
  • All Star Break - Let Adam Dunn to get a hit first
When will Grady Sizemore be traded?
  • All Star Break - Multiple trips to the DL this season already plus the emergance of Michael Brantley, I think once Shin-Soo Choo returns, Sizemore will be on the block.
Which prospect will live up to their potential?
  • All Star Break - Alex Gordon, Aaron Crow, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas
Second Half Questions
Did the Twins wait to long to turn their season around?
Outside of Verlander, do the Tigers have enough pitching?
Will Ozzie Guillen last the rest of the season?
Can the Tribes pitching keep them in the hunt?
Will the Royals youth spark a playoff run?


Minnesota Twins
Twinkie Town

Key Additions: Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Key Losses: Orlando Hudson, J.J Hardy, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch

Outlook:  Not much of an off season splash, and that's because they already have the pieces to win.  In my opinion the Twins might have the most complete lineup, with the speed of Span, the contact of Mauer and the power bats of Morneau, Thome, Kubel, Young and Cuddyer, they make it tough on any pitcher they face.  The Twins rotation stays the same as 2011, which worked very well so that's a good sign, but they'll get back Joe Nathan from Tommy Johns which should help solidify that bullpen.  Such a similar team as last year and they get their closer back, which means Capps to the setup role can only mean they'll be able to close out games easier, so anything less than their 94 wins from last year would be a surprise.

Detroit Tigers
Bless You Boys

Key Additions: Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Penny

Key Losses: Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon, Armando Galarraga

Outlook: The Tigers finished at .500 last year, and only got better by acquiring Victor Martinez, and Benoit who was dominant last year.  Offensively the Tigers were above average, but if Martinez, Ordonez, Inge and Peralta can stay healthy, then they can help arguably the best offensive player in baseball Miguel Cabrera do some real damage.  I love the top of their rotation of Verlander and Scherzer, two power pitchers who strike out a ton of hitter, they'll be followed by Rick Porcello who looks to rebound from a rough sophomore season, newly acquired Brad Penny and Phil Coke who makes the transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation.  They finished at .500 and I believe they're better this year so around 85 wins look reasonable.

Chicago White Sox
South Side Sox

Key Additions: Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain

Key Losses: Bobby Jenks

Outlook:  By adding Dunn to this lineup, pitchers are going to cringe when they see they'll have to face the lefty-righty combo of Dunn and Konerko.  That's a lot of power!  However besides the two of those guys, there are question marks in this lineup, such as can Rios repeat his 2010 season, will Quentin stay  healthy, will Beckham finally break out and will they have production out of third base.  The rotation stays the same as they'll get Peavy back as they hope to keep him healthy.  Besides Danks, no White Sox starter had a winning record, Buehrle finished at .500, Jackson and Floyd combined for a 20-25 record, but the talent is there and if Peavy can come back and pitch like we know he can this staff becomes very good.  With the Tigers getting better, I have to think the Sox take a step back in 2011 and finish with around 83 wins.

Cleveland Indians
Let's Go Tribe

Key Additions: Austin Kearns

Key Losses: Andy Marte

Outlook: A healthy Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana are a great trio of guys to build an offense around.  However the Indians did nothing to help the offense and pitchers will find a way to pitch around those guys.  Asdrubal and Orlando Cabrera are decent but they're weak at 1st, 3rd, LF and DH.  The rotation led by Carmona is very young with a lot of question marks.  Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco, Mitch Talbot, Josh Tomlin, and Jeanmar Gomez will somehow be the #2-5 pitchers.  It's going to be another long year for the Indians as they'll really struggle to keep opposing offenses off the bases.  They'll probably finish with around 66 wins.

Kansas City Royals
Royals Review

Key Additions: Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Key Losses: Zach Greinke, David DeJesus

Outlook:  Trading Zach Greinke is going to really weaken the Royals rotation that looks like this: Jeff Francis, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, and Vin Mazzaro.  That has a recipe for a lot of runs given up.  Francis will be forced to miss some time as he recovers from his shoulder surgery, so Hochevar whose a career 19-32 with a 5.60 ERA will most likely be the opening day starter.  On the offensive side, this team lacks power.  The Royals only had 3 guys hit more than 10 home runs, and Betancourt who led the team with 16, is no longer on the team.  Butler once again will be looked at to lead this offense, as he hits above .300 with medium power.  They brought in Francoeur to help provide some power, and they also have Alex Gordon who can't stay healthy.  Besides Butler, there is really no real threats on the team.  With an awful pitching staff and no offense, this team will be lucky if they don't lose more than 100 games.

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