Wednesday, April 01, 2009
What is the AL Central to me in 2009? It is a league full of a 5 teams that can all win the division. And ya that legitimately means I think the Royals have a chance.
1. Cleveland Indians
The Indians went poop up last season. Why? They had massively debilitating injuries to Victor Martinez, Hafner and others. They traded away CC Sabathia their best player. They got absolutely positively nothing from Fausto Carmona or really the bottom half of their rotation. So what has changed? Well now they have hero Carl Pavano. That'll definitely save them.
Key Player: Fausto Carmona, Carmona went from a 19-8 Cy Young Candidate with a 3.06 ERA in 2007 to a 8-7 injured bum with a 5.44 ERA in 2008. Talk about differing years, still he's just 25 and has shown the potential to be great. The Indians season really is in Carmona's hands.
Player to Eye: Shin Soo Choo, Cause why not? In 159 career games in the big leagues Choo is hitting .291 with 17 home runs and 9 steals in 509 at bats. Say the Indians give him a full season in rightfield and something like 560 at bats, is a .290 20+ 10+ line too much to ask? Probably not.
Record Prediction: 85-77
2. Kansas City Royals
yES i'M NUTS. sO NUTS i'M WRITING THIS IN CAPSLOCK. tHE rOYALS AREN'T GOING TO COMPLETELY SUCK THIS YEAR. wHY YOU ASK? wELL THEIR OFFENSE HAS POTENTIAL. tHEY HAVE YOUTH. tHEY HAVE A LEADOFF MAN IN cOCO. tHEY HAVE A 30+ HOMERUN BAT IN jACOBS. bILLY bUTLER IS EMERGING. tHEY ALSO HAVE A SOLID TOP TWO IN gREINKE AND mECHE. pLUS NOBODY IN THE al cENTRAL IS REALLY THAT GOOD. so YA THE 2009 kANSAS cITY rOYALS WILL BE A .500 BASEBALL TEAM.
Key Player: Zack Greinke, If the Royals are ever going to get close to my projection than it all lies on Zack Greinke's shoulders. He took a massive leap forward in 2008. What does 2009 have in store for the former phenom?
Player to Eye: Mike Jacobs, Power, Mike Jacobs has it. Knack for driving in run, has that too. Likes to strikeout a lot, well I don't know if he likes to but he certainly does. Can't hit lefties, well ya you're right about that but that's why they invented the platoon. Jacobs right now has the most power in the KC lineup, where will the 32 bombs from last season move in 2009?
Record Prediction: 81-81
3. Minnesota Twins
I have an issue with underrating the Twins perennially so chances are good that they'll wind up vastly better than the 81-81 I have predicted. They do have health question marks however in Liriano, Mauer and even Morneau is a bit banged up.
Key Player: Joe Mauer, Mauer might be a touch overrated but the fall off to old man Mark Redmond is massive. The Twins need Mauer in the lineup and his back is a barking right now.
Player to Eye: Delmon Young, When is the power going to show up? In two full seasons he's hit just 23 home runs. His average hasn't been terrible the past two seasons but he never walks. Perhaps this is the year that Young flaunts some of that power and shows a better eye at the plate.
Record Prediction: 81-81
4. Detroit Tigers
You have to like the Tigers lineup, it's filled with Cabrera and Ordonez, Granderson and Guillen, it's just the pitching has questionmark after questionmark after questionmark.
Key Player: Justin Verlander, Verlander flat out stunk last year after a few terrific years. Right now the Tigers rotation is in complete flux. Willis and Bonderman are starting the year on the DL. The squad is seriously considering outting 20 year old Rick Porcello in the rotation. Edwin Jackson, Nate Robertson, and Andres Galarraga aren't anything to write home about. They desperately need a return of the 07 Verlander form.
Player to Eye: Rick Porcello, The Tigers rotation issues are forcing the young kid to get ready in a hurry. He has officially made the opening day roster and will likely pitch in the #5 role. Is he ready? Is he rushed? Will he stick?
Record Prediction: 80-82
5. Chicago White Sox
From first to last? Why not? No more O-Cab. No more Swisher. The stars are getting older and older and older. I'm not really a massive believer in Danks or Floyd.
Key Player: Gavin Floyd & John Danks, Maybe I'll be wrong about Gavin Floyd and John Danks, maybe both are for real. This is for certain though, if Danks and Floyd are not for real than the White Sox can book their October vacations right now.
Player to Eye: Bartolo Colon, Hey look Bartolo Colon is back. And fatter than ever. Well I don't know about that one, but he has done absolutely nothing in baseball for three seasons, yet he looks like he has a rotation spot locked up. This should be fun.
Record Prediction: 78-84
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