Monday, June 2, 2008

Revisiting the AL Central

Two months into the season, the AL Central looks more like the crappy division the Twins won in 2002-2004 compared to the powerhouse most predicted it would be this year.

Here’s a team-by-team look at the division, with current AL rankings for runs scored and allowed:

Chicago White Sox (30-26)
Runs: 8
Runs allowed: 2

Positives: Obviously the pitching—4 starters (John Danks, Jose Contreras, Gavin Floyd, Javier Vazquez) have sub-3.50 ERAs and Linebrink and Jenks have been awesome out of the bullpen. On offense, Carlos Quentin has been lights-out good and is 2nd in AL home runs. Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede have bounced back from bad 2007s. Improved team plate discipline has helped the Sox overcome some horrendous batting averages.

Negatives: Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera have been disappointments. Thome and Konerko are showing their age. Ozzie Guillen’s still insane.

Outlook: There’s no way the pitching holds up, but I said that all of 2005 as well. This is probably a .500 club the rest of the way, but that could be good enough to win the division.

Minnesota Twins (29-27)
Runs: 4
Runs allowed: 11

Positives: Somehow the offense is in the top third of all AL offenses, primarily due to hitters being super clutch, hitting an unsustainable .307 with runners in scoring position (compared to .267 overall). Mauer and Morneau have been as good as advertised and Gomez has been league-average at worst. Some of the young pitchers (Blackburn, Slowey, Baker, Perkins) have shown plenty of potential.

Negatives: The defense sucks, the offense has no power or patience, the starting pitching is inconsistent, and the bullpen is a wreck. The trade with Tampa is looking worse by the day.

Outlook: I don’t have a clue, seriously. There’s no way they should be a game out of first, but they are. The pitching could get better, the defense might improve (thanks to Punto), but there’s no way to sustain the 4th best offense with no power.

Cleveland Indians (25-31)
Runs: 12
Runs allowed: 4

Positives: Cliff Lee’s late-90s Pedro Martinez impression has been impressive. Wow, this team sucks. Grady Sizemore is still an above-average CF. Carmona has been wild but effective; Sabathia appears to have turned it around.

Negatives: Travis Hafner aged in dog years the last couple seasons, he’s DONE. Victor Martinez is suddenly Joe Mauer without the defense. A bunch of dudes are hitting for low averages. Basically, the offense sucks.

Outlook: Unless Hafner starts taking some steroids, this team could be in trouble. Cliff Lee’s sub-2.00 ERA can’t last, the bullpen has taken a step back, and Carmona’s injured. What kind of moron predicted these guys would be good this year? Based on the strength of my previous predictions, that probably means the Indians will turn it around.

Detroit Tigers (24-32)
Runs: 3
Runs allowed: 12

Positive: The offense is good.

Negatives: The pitching sucks. Carlos Guillen’s hemorrhoids.

Outlook: If they can find a way to have the pitching suck less, the offense is still impressive. The still remind me of the recent Yankees teams, so I expect a big run to get them back into contention at some point this summer.

KC Royals (23-34)
Runs: 14
Runs allowed: 9

Positives: Zach Greinke is delivering on the promise displayed before his mental breakdown, Alex Gordon is improving, and Tony Pena Jr. can play some mad defense. Joe Posnanski covers them for the KC Star.

Negatives: Tony Pena Jr. hits like WWWWWW’s daughter and they have less overall power than the Twins. Other than Grenke and closer Joakim Soria, the pitching has stunk.

Outlook: Last place again and a disappointed Sidler.

The Sidler's newest, even-more-meaningless predictions:
1. Detroit 83-79
2. Chicago 83-79
3. Cleveland 80-82
4. Minnesota 79-83
5. Kansas City 69-93

1 comment:

WWWWWW said...

What a whore of a division. I thought this was supposed to be the best division in baseball? There isn't a single good team in the mix. Whoever signs Barry Bonds to DH wins.