Here’s more material to give everyone, so they can laugh at how wrong I was at season’s end.
Your AL Central predictions for 2009!
1. Cleveland Indians (93 wins)
Lets live in a hypothetical world for a paragraph here… Say Cliff Lee is as good as he was last year- maybe even a small drop off. And then lets say Fausto Carmona is anywhere near as good as he was in the 2007 season, where he had 19 wins, 220+ innings, and a WHIP of 1.21. Cleveland, has a shot to be a very good team. Their lineup is looking to bounce back big, with catcher, Victor Martinez and DH, Travis Haftner coming off injuries. The team still has the best center-field in the game, Grady Sizemore and the team still has the scent in their nose, of being one game away from a World Series in 2007 still lingers with much of this team.
2. Minnesota Twins (89 wins)
The Twins, similar to the Angels, have the most efficient machine running, when it comes their franchise. People come, and people go, and the Twins always seem to have the perfect replacement waiting somewhere in their farm system. This season, the Twins have a solid staff anchored by Francisco Liriano. A man, who a few seasons ago was suppose to be the replacement for Johan Santana, before Tommy John surgery set him back. Liriano looks ready to live up to the hype this season. As for the lineup, it is, yet again, custom made for the turf they play on in the Metro Dome. Speed kills with this team, as the team has three guys, who could potentially steal up to 30 bags (Carlos Gomez, Alexi Casillas, Denard Span). In addition the team will look for former 1st round pick, Delmon Young, to begin hitting his stride as a hitter. The big issue for this team will be the health of catcher, Joe Mauer, who is suffering from back injuries that had recent headlines saying, “Mauer is back to walking”. That doesn’t sound good any way you slice it. Furthermore, it doesn’t help that another guy with 100+ RBI potential, Michael Cuddyer, is also struggling to stay on the field.
3. Chicago White Sox (87 wins)
Chicago, is yet again, shuffling out a team that is becoming way too old, way too quickly. Returning are those White Sox that you’ve known and loved for the past three-four seasons (Konerko, Dye, Thome, Pierzynski, Buehrle, ETC). What will make or break this White Sox team is wheter Carlos Quentin and Alexi Ramirez are as real as they were last season. Quentin, who SLAMMED 36 home-runs last season, before breaking his hand via punching his own bat, with a month left in the season (smooth move), was certainly looking like the MVP of the American League, up until that point. Ramirez, the Cuban born second-basemen last season, is moving to short stop, and has people wondering if a sophomore slump is likely. The White Sox, in my opinion, will sorely miss the inning-eatting of Javier Vazquez. Javy, who was dealt to the Braves in the winter- was as solid a pitching option as this team has had the last couple seasons. Is Gavin Floyd really ready to be the #2 guy?
4. Detroit Tigers (78 wins)
Is anyone closer to a potential disastrous season than the Detroit Tigers? Another team that is aging quickly, the Tigers have a starting rotation that appears to be, at least going into the season, made out of paper mache. Little is known as to who will be pitching behind Justin Verlander and Armando Galaraga. Gary Sheffiled was released yesterday despite having to be paid $14-million, and Jeremy Bonderman has shoulder problems. The good news for this team is that their manager, Jim Leyland, is on the brink here. He tried to negotiate an extension in the off-season with no luck, and will be managing with the sort of edge that makes his teams perform well. We’ll see if Jimmy’s got an ace up his sleeve.
5. Kansas City Royals (72 wins)
A VERY popular choice as a team that will turn some heads this season, the Royals will be moderately better in 2009. They’re pitching staff, which has been compiled of young prospects is becoming a staff that is filled with consistent veterans. And their lineup on paper seems quite strong as well. But with all that being said, the Royals are still the Royals. The key player to monitor this season will be Alex Gordon. Heading into his third full-season in the majors, Alex Gordon needs the type of season that will give the fans as well as himself the confidence that he is as good as everyone heard he was going to be when he was drafted a few seasons back.