2013 American League Central Predictions
The American League Central will see a minor shakeup mid-division but the team to beat still remains to be the Detroit Tigers. Top-heavy with mega-talent and one of the best rotations in all of baseball, it will be hard for the other four teams to make a serious run at the division.
The best shot everyone else has will be the seemingly impossible task of obtaining one of the two wild cards. The problem is that the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians--and even the Chicago White Sox--just aren't good enough. There is always the possibility of a 2012 Baltimore Orioles-type run for any of them; just don't count on it.
While its clear that the Tigers should win the division fairly easily, the Minnesota Twins will remain bottom-feeders for the time being. Things aren't all bleak for the Twins--they have some young arms in the farm system that could restore them to a competitive team in the future. For now, they just aren't close to the tier of the teams above them.
Below is my All-AL Central team prior to my division picks:
1B- Prince Fielder, Detroit
2B- Jason Kipnis, Cleveland
3B- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
SS- Alexi Ramirez, Chicago
C- Carlos Santana, Cleveland
OF- Alex Gordon, Kansas City
OF- Alex Rios, Chicago
OF- Nick Swisher, Cleveland
DH- Joe Mauer, Minnesota
SP- Justin Verlander, Detroit
SP- James Shields, Kansas City
SP- Max Scherzer, Detroit
MR- Al Alburquerque, Detroit
SU-Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland
CL- Greg Holland, Kansas City
5- Minnesota Twins
High- At best, team competes for a wild card thanks to a strong offensive output.
Low- The young staff crashes and burns proving Minnesota still has years of rebuilding ahead of them.
4- Chicago White Sox
High- Chicago has a group of overachievers anchored by a strong pitching staff that leads them to a wild card.
Low- No one delivers on even modest proposals and the team spends the late summer fighting off the Twins for fourth place.
3- Kansas City Royals
High- The front of the rotation is dominant and the offense comes into its own making a strong push for the division title.
Low- Yet another near .500 season rears its head as the offense can't help overcome weak pitching.
2- Cleveland Indians
High- Terry Francona turns a so-so team with players who were in need of a new start into the surprise of 2013.
Low- The team can't gel and find they have too many weaknesses to come close to a wild card.
1- Detroit Tigers
High- The team doesn't skip a beat and cruises to another division title with a stronger 2013 team.
Low- The defense blows too many close games and the other teams in the division play way above their heads.