Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MLB Preview (Part 6): AL Central

Whew. We're finally through all the divisions, culminating in probably the worst division in the American League (I originally wrote that as the worst division in America, which is probably also true). Later today, we'll post our big high-falutin all-ecompassing mega-super-ginormous preview. So stay tuned.

On to our predictions:
Kansas City Royals  80.5 (71 wins)
Sean: Under. Just because stat heads are bukakeing about their prospects doesn’t mean they have a good team. Not saying they won’t in a couple years, but in the immortal words of Winston Wolf, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks yet.

Jon: I know I’ve said I’ll believe it when I see it a few times, but I’m taking the over. I just don’t really know why. I do like Hosmer and Gordon and this division sucks outside of the Tigers, and maybe, just maybe some of these pitching prospects will be good.

Steve: Under. The underest.

Minnesota Twins  73 (63 wins)
Sean: Push.

Jon: Under. Another injury-plagued year for the Twins as their 200M commitment to Mauer looks worse and worse (and as they stop filling their new, for some reason open-air ballpark that will be a big problem).

Steve: Over. Two MVPs! And then a bunch of Denard Spans.

Cleveland Indians  78.5 (80 wins)
Sean: Over by a long shot.

Jon: Over. They have a bunch of number 2 starters and a few guys who can mash. Carlos Santana is so smooth, and he’ll hit a ton. I also think that Shin Soo Choo becomes the guy he was in 2009 and 2010, not last year (and I don’t just mean sober).

Steve: Over. Jon’s Carlos Santana joke just made me throw up for the first time in 11 years.

Detroit Tigers  92.5 (95 wins)
Sean: Over. They are the best team by default. If this were fantasy baseball they’d be great but I don’t trust Avila and Peralta and Delmon Young to have good years. They’ll win the division and be terrifying in a short series, but I think they're behind the Rangers, Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox and a second tier with the Rays.

Jon: Under. Verlander and Fister come back to the pack a bit. I see a rough transition for Fielder (though I think he’ll get it going). This team’s infield defense will be atrocious, too. I see this as a 91-win team, which should still win the division.

Steve: Over. Any time you have 2 fat first basemen on your team, you’ll win at least 93 games.

Chicago White Sox  74 (79 wins)
Sean: Under.

Jon: Over. They won 79 last year. I don’t think they’re much changed. Let’s say 76 this year.

Steve: Under. Paul Konerko is good, but he’s not good enough to make this team not terrible. Though Adam Dunn rising from the dead would be interesting.

Division Prediction:

Steve: Easy. Tigers. The Indians are the only other team I’d even give an outside chance of challenging the Tigers, and they’d have to be truly surprising. The Royals and Indians will both be better this year, and the Twins probably will be a little bit better, if only because they were so dismally horrible last year. The White Sox are in trouble and probably need to just blow it up. But the Tigers are a really good team, and perhaps even more importantly, they’re really scary come playoff time.

Jon: Yeah, fine it’s the Tigers. I’m not sold on them being a dominant team, what with a few key pitchers (Verlander, Fister, Valverde) prime for regression and a potentially historically bad infield. They just happen to be in the worst division in baseball. The Indians and Royals are each semi-sleepers, but the Royals have no pitching and the Indians have a bunch of pretty good players (and maybe one great one in Santana) but I just don't see them putting it all the way together. The most compelling storyline will be if Adam Dunn can slug higher than .074 against lefties this year. .074!

Sean: This seems too obvious, but it isn’t. The Tigers are the only good team in this division. The Indians and Royals have some good parts but they aren’t as complete a team. The Tigers aren't a great team but their 3-4 and solid collection of pitchers, Scherzer, Fister, and Porcello
are all under rated, makes them the clear favorite. The Twins have so many question marks and have a weaker supporting cast than their 2010 team. The White Sox became 1000% less relevant with Guillen leaving and should really just start all over. You could make an argument that this is the worst division in baseball, certainly in the AL, and the Tigers should take advantage of the weaker competition and secure home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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