2010 AL Central Preview
The American League Central Division is relatively weak with at least three of the teams capable of taking the crown. This looks like a race between last year’s division-winning Minnesota Twins, the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.
The Minnesota Twins offer the second-best pitching staff in the Central Division and the best group of hitters. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are franchise players. Plus, manager Gardenhire is one of the best in MLB. A repeat division crown is certainly within their reach.
The Chicago White Sox, the Pale Hose, have the best rotation in the division and perhaps in the entire league. The addition of Juan Pierre will give them some offensive clout but they really need more. GM Kenny Williams will be looking to add hitters to this roster. Manager Ozzie Guillen has plenty of opinions and knows how to work the clubhouse.
The Detroit Tigers are a third-place club but in the AL Central that can be good enough for first-place. The payroll has less bite. GM Dave Dombrowski knows talent and manager Jim Lelyland knows how to shepherd a team to a championship. A lot of free agents are gone. The pitching staff has been upgraded.
The Kansas City Royals don’t have the depth to contend. After Zack Greinke and Billy Butler, the talent pool thins out considerably. Greinke is one of the most talented pitchers in the game and Butler can hit for power and percentage. Manager Trey Hillman doesn’t have much with which to work.
It was just two years ago that the Cleveland Indians put one of the best and most feared pitching combos on the mound. But both Sabathia and Lee are gone. New manager Manny Acta may be optimistic and he sure can work with young talent but that won’t be enough to make this team a contender. They require pitching and a lot of it.
In a strange way of all the divisions in the American League, this is the toughest to predict. The big dilemma is that this is a weak division and no team is extraordinary. For some it’s a matter of finding a player or two and yet for each team one or two injuries can mean the difference between first and fifth-place.
Following common sense, this is the Twins division to lose. The team they are most likely to lose it to is the White Sox. Right behind the ChiSox and the club from the Twin Cities is Detroit. And yet, you can’t rule out the Kansas City Royals. Not because they are loaded but because the other teams are not. The closest team to being loaded would be the Twins.
If pitching wins games and titles, then the Chicago White Sox are the team. But if a balanced team, one that has overall fine pitching and a solid offense is what equals victory in the long run, then the Twins will be at the top of the standings come the start of October. The wild card will not be from this division.
2010 American League Central Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.