While the AL East will come down to the wire as usual, the Central will not be as dramatic. The Minnesota Twins will be the team to beat this season. Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, and Young will earn their salaries this season. Did I mention they have Francisco Liriano?
I’m saying the White Sox and Tigers won’t put up a fight. However, they are not as strong statistically as the Twins. Francisco Liriano is one of the best pitchers in the game. Minnesota should, and will exploit his talents while they still have him. Although he has some shoulder problems. Liriano’s ERA needs to come down but he will still be effective. Morneau will make a comeback from his injuries. Mauer’s .327 BA from last season will carry over. But enough about the team that will win the division.
The Tigers, while a solid team, rely too much on Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez. I simply don’t think they will surpass Minnesota. The White Sox will need Konerko and Dunn to produce. Juan Pierre will contribute. Pitching is Chicago’s problem. Buerhle fell off last season with a 13-13 record. Peavy is the strong arm. But, as we see with other traditionally good teams, pitching is key.
There is not much to say about Cleveland or Kansas City (sorry Indians and Royals fans). I will say this, if contraction were implemented in MLB, Kansas City would be on my short list. That however, is another post for another day.
In the end, the Twins end up with one less win from last season at 93-69. Chicago can squeak out one more to get 89 wins. But give the AL Central to Minnesota once more.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
All statistical data from espn.go.com.