Monday, March 31, 2008
If there were any questions before, the AL Central is now the toughest division in baseball. Having to play each team 19 times throughout the course of the year, the teams in this division will obviously beat each other up. This makes it tough to think the Wild Card will come from the AL Central. Kansas City still looks to be everyone’s punching bag.
1. Detroit Tigers
First off, they have the most lethal lineup in MLB (I know, they’re neck and neck with the Yankees). In fact, this lineup might be reminiscent of the Yanks’ Murders’ Row lineup in the 1920’s. They can kill you from top to bottom.
How can you not pick this team? They should flirt with 100 wins.
The only thing holding them back may be their pitching. We’ll have to see if Dontrelle Willis’ can make a smooth transaction to the American (This is where the real heavy hitters are) League. If the D-Train isn’t derailed, then the Tigers’ starting pitching poses a nice 1-2 punch with flame thrower Justin Verlander.
2. Cleveland Indians
Here’s a team that ran out of gas last year. They had Boston on the ropes up 3-1 on the hated Sox and blew the ALCS. Will this haunt the Indians or provide more motivation? This Cleveland team is very scrappy and find ways to get runners on base and move them around, you know, good, smart baseball. They’re flexible in the way they don’t rely on one player, unless you’re talking about Grady “All World” Sizemore. He’ll again be mentioned as a possible MVP candidate again.
*I’m giving the Indians the Wild Card on that alone.
3. Chicago White Sox
The Pale Hose really have a nice lineup and the additions of Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera could be pivotal. What does matter is the starting pitching. All kinds of potential with Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras and Javier Vasquez. But potential to pitch like 2005 again or tank like when the latter two wore Pinstripes?
4. Minnesota Twins
Considering the franchise players they moved in the off season, I think this team will surprise people and they’ll thorn in every opposing team. Remember, Francisco Liriano’s back, but will he be the same, and if he is, winning every fifth game doesn’t help. Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in the game and the Twins still have a little pop in their lineup with 2006 MVP Justin Morneau.
5. Kansas City Royals
OK, so they have two decent starters in Gil (the savior, all hail) Meche and Brian Bannister, but it’s not like these guys will shut down the opposition every night out. Because we all know the Royals lineup is a joke. Their big name and pick up in the off season, Jose Guillen? Jose Guillen! Yeah, that’s something to be excited about. I mean with his personality and all the baggage he brings to the clubhouse, he should be a great mentor for Alex Gordon. Speaking of “AG,” he should have a breakout season but what can you ask for a team whose star player is a sophomore who hopes build off a rather dismal rookie campaign. Ok, I’ll give you Billy Butler. And by the way, can anyone name the Royals’ new manager who has everyone along the Lewis and Clark trail panties in a bunch?