2009 AL Central Preview
The Central Division of the American League could be another tossup this season. Last year, the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox tied for the division crown. The one-game playoff went to the Sox, leaving the Twins out of the post-season. This year the Twins and the Cleveland Indians look good. And don't rule out the slowly improving Kansas City Royals. The White Sox are weaker than they should be and the Tigers are in need of rebuilding.
The Minnesota Twins feature an up-and-coming pitching staff and two of the best hitters in the game—Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. There are some excellent young players on this team who are just finding their stride and the Twins farm system is healthy. This is a team for the present and for the future.
The second spot looks to be the purview of the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe lost a lot of ground last season because of injuries. If they can stay healthy, they've got a young pitching staff and some fine hitters that can keep them in the game. Closer Kerry Wood is a real difference-maker. Mark Shapiro in the front office is a fine GM and can keep this club in the hunt.
The Kansas City Royals could fool some folks in 2009. They've slowly developed their young talent and managed to find some good free agents. GM Dayton Moore has done a good job upgrading the team. Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs are fine additions. There's not much great here but there is a whole lot of good.
The White Sox have to be worried about injuries to some of their aging hitters. Konerko and Quentin are both injury prone. Slugger Jim Thome is also an injury waiting to happen. Pitcher Jose Contreras suffered from ill health last season and is a question mark for 2009. Manager Ozzie Guillen is loud and cantankerous, but his abrasive manner seems to work. (At least it's entertaining.)
The Detroit Tigers will be hard pressed to do much more than flounder this season. Their starting rotation has two guys coming off of injuries—Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis. DH Gary Sheffield is at the end of his career and may have a tough time staying healthy. Although there are some quality guys, this club needs time to regroup and rebuild. GM Dave Dombrowski spent a lot of money last season most of which was for naught.
The Central Division continues to be in flux. The Royals are not
yet the Rays of last season, but in another year they could be.
One thing is for certain the Minnesota Twins are looking to right
last year's 1- 0 loss to the White Sox. They will be driven
to win it all and they have the talent and management to do it.
The Wild Card will come out of the East and not the Central.
2009 American League Central Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.