I know I’m few days late on my predictions for the American League Central, but I need to do it anyway. I’d say over the years, this has been one of the weakest divisions in baseball. Usually most of the teams would finish a game or two behind each other and than you had the Royals who lost 100 games every year. All though I won’t say its a great division now, it’s definitely improved a great deal.
Royals: The Royals have probably been one of worse teams in Major League Baseball over the past few decades and I think this year, that reputation comes to an end. This offseason they acquired James Shield, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana which obviously makes their rotation much better than years past. All though they did give up top prospect Will Myers in the Shields trade, that have some decent bats in the lineup. With Billy Butler being the force in the lineup, they also have Eric Hosmer who is looking to bounce back and Alex Gordon who is no slouch at the plate. Behind the plate they Have Salvador Perez who is a .311 hitter in small sample size in his career. I don’t have the Royals finishing last, but I do have them finishing 4th. I hope they prove me wrong.
Twins: Ever since the move from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the twins have struggled to hit with any ounce of power, or just hit in general. Is it because of the cold weather of minnesota? or do they just suck? I’m pretty sure it’s probably just both. They finished 66-96 last year, with a record of 31-50 at home. They actually won four more games on the road than at home if that tells you anything. I don’t think Joe Mauer will ever hit 28 home runs again, or close to it like he did in 2009. He still did hit .319 last year, which is still very good. Mauer isn’t the only one has that has gone through a power blackout, Justin Mourneau is no where near his old power days when he was banging out 30 bombs a year. I would say if those two guys could return to old form they would be fine, but that is not the case. Their pitching is just way too weak. Vance Worely was their opening day starter this year, need I say no more. I’m positive they will finish last in the central.
Indians: I think Indians fans should feel really good about this team and where it’s heading. I LOVE the hiring of manager Terry Francona, they couldn’t have made a smarter move. He’s a great guy to deal with young players, and all that comes with them. With that being said, I think they actually have some good talent on their roster. They brought in Mark Reynolds, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and a young stud pitcher named Trevor Bauer. They also have some good players from last years roster which includes Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and up and coming 2B Jason Kipnis. If Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez can hold their own this year, this club could surprise some people. I think they will finish 3rd in the division.
White Sox: The White Sox didn’t really do anything this offseason other than losing some key bats out their lineup. Those bats being A.J Pierzynski who hit a career high 27 long balls last year and Kevin Youkilis who supplied a spark for the lineup. They have a pretty solid rotation with Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd ,who has been pretty consistent over the years. The thing could provide some problems could be the lineup and possibly the bullpen. The Sox still do have Paul Konerko who is still a very good hitter, but I just don’t trust any lineup that has Adam Dunn in it. Even with all the being said, I see them some how squeezing them selfs into a 2nd place finish in the Central.
Tigers: The Tigers have an obvious an advantage with just having Justin Verlander on their side. You could also say the same about Miguel Cabrera, who won the triple crown last year. Which is pretty impressive just in case you didn’t know. He isn’t the only good hitter they have sitting in that lineup. They have switch hitting Victor Martinez, slugging Prince Fielder, speedy Austin Jackson, and newly acquired gold glover Torii Hunter. That being said, they should have one of the best teams in the American league. They should blow by the central and finish 1st this season.
(Photo Credit: ESPN)