Monday, March 28, 2011

MLB 2011 Preview-AL Central

This is the final division in my 2011 prediction series. You may notice, the Twins won't have any comments next to their name. I will have a more in depth post on them tomorrow. Then on Wednesday, I will have a recap and MVP and Cy Young predictions.

5. Kansas City Royals
-The Royals traded away their best pitcher (Zack Greinke) and arguably their best hitter (David DeJesus) this past offseason. They have young players looking to make a name for themselves mixed with veterans who are past their better years. Basically it will be another long season in Kansas City. They will feature poor pitching (Except for Joakim Soria), and a sub par lineup. If they have one thing going for them, it is the fact they feature the most stacked farm system. With any luck, it will produce the quality pitchers and hitters the Royals need to make their franchise respectable once again. Otherwise, it could be another long 25 years of last place teams.

4. Cleveland Indians-Cleveland is a team in the midst of a rebuilding phase. They still feature decent hitters (Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner) and some decent pitchers (Fausto Carmona and Chris Perez). But around them, they have many young players looking to prove themselves. A key player for the Indians is 1B Matt LaPorta, who was acquired in the CC Sabathia trade. To date, he has performed far below expectations. For an Indians resurgence to take place, he needs to become the player he was projected to be. But for 2011, the Tribe will suffer offensively and on the mound. Maybe those Nats came come out for more than just an October game and get this team a few extra wins...

3. Detroit Tigers-The Tigers are a very good hitting team. They will continue to be one in 2011. They have good hitters such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Austin Jackson, and newly acquired Victor Martinez. Pitching wise, they frighten me. And thats not a good thing for Tigers fans. They have a solid ace in Justin Verlander. Behind him they have Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, and Phil Coke. The latter three scare me. They come off as streaky to me. And if they hit a cold streak, it will be difficult to recover with the other teams in this division. Bullpen wise, they will be consistently good with newly acquired Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde. This team could very well finish first, second or third. And it all depends on the back end of that rotation.

2. Minnesota Twins-See Tomorrow's Post

1. Chicago White Sox-Last year, Chicago got smoked on the count of poor power hitting on the left side of the plate and a poor bullpen. They were out of the division race not much past September 1. So in the offseason, they added Adam Dunn to DH and brought in Jesse Crain and Will Ohman to patch up their bullpen. The only concern in the bullpen is the fact they lost closer Bobby Jenks and replaced him with Matt Thornton, who has very little experience. In the starting rotation, Chicago looks to be solid. Their ace Jake Peavy, is still on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury, but should be back by at least June. Hitting wise, they hold a very talented lineup with Dunn in the mix now. They will be no easy task for a starter on any given night. GM Kenny Williams did a marvelous job on improving his team in the offseason. And his improvements get them to the postseason once again.

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