- 04/02/2012, 12:24AM ET
Mrlns Fn said 04/02, 12:31 AM
Hopefully you guys have seen my other versions of this TD so you know how to "argue" it by now.
The White Sox have a chance to be truly pathetic this year.
Between disappointing trades (i.e. Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy) and baffling moves (like shipping Sergio Santos off for some minor leaguer no one's ever heard of) this team looks like they're on the brink of a complete collapse.
It's possible that the vets get their stuff together in time to make one last division run but it seems more likely that this team will fall flat on it's face and perhaps signal the end of the Kenny Williams-White Sox era. Ozzie probably got out at the right time.
Ubaldo Jimenez needs a huge year to justify Cleveland's trade for him.
Last year the Indians assumed they were acquiring an ace when they traded uber-prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White to the Rockies in exchange for Jimenez. Instead, Jimenez struggled with Cleveland (just like he did with Colorado to open the 2011 season) and it appears possible (maybe even likely) that the Indians gave up two really highly regarded prospects for a one-hit wonder whose one hit has already came and went, unfortunately.
...the best policy said 04/02, 07:18 PM
Good luck, and keep it clean.
Are the Tigers really a lock to win the division?
Barring a season-ending injury to Justin Verlander, yes. The Tigers have the best rotation in the division, led by Verlander. They have the best bullpen. They have the best lineup, by far, especially with the addition of Prince Fielder. Yes, their defense will stink at times, especially on the corners, but - with that lineup - so what? They will clinch this division by September 10th.
Will Kansas City's young stars deliver?
The hitters will. Eric Hosmer will look like a young Todd Helton, Alex Gordon will repeat last year's numbers, and other guys such as Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Sal Perez (when he returns from his knee injury) will make strides. But the pitchers? Not so much. KC needs a few of those guys (Danny Duffy, we're looking at you) to step up, because a rotation featuring Bruce Chen is not going to contend.
Which team will be worse: Twins or White Sox?
Neither. The Indians were on the right track last year, but mortgaged their future for Ubaldo. Big mistake. Cleveland will regress and finish behind both the Twins and Pale Hose.
Mrlns Fn said 04/03, 02:30 AM
Justin Verlander won't repeat his 2011 dominance.
Yeah, he'll probably be really good. After all, he does have some of the nastiest stuff in baseball and last year showed that he's a mentally strong player. But he won't repeat the utter dominance he showed last year. Why? Luck. And the law of averages.
For example, Verlander's career BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .287. Last year his BABIP sunk to .236. That drastic reduction is not sustainable. It indicated that JV has some serious luck when batters managed to hit the ball last year, and I'm guessing that it will slide back more towards his career line in 2012. Twice in his career JV has had a BABIP over .300 (well over; .350 and .319) and although it might not crack that plateau this year it will almost certainly be much closer to his normal level, somewhere between .280 and .300.
Which means the amount of runners he lets on base will rise; which means his ERA will probably rise; which means his W-L totals might suffer, and so on and so forth.
Verlander is one of MLB's best and will most likely have a good 2012, just not historically great like his 2011 season.
...the best policy said 04/03, 08:07 AM
What can you expect from the White Sox?
They'll be better this year. Adam Dunn sucked last year - terrible season - but he will rebound to hit more than 30 homers. Others such as John Danks and Gordon Beckham had poor years as well. The Sox will be a little better this year, or Kenny Williams will be making several moves to save his own job.
Will Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer contribute to the Twins?
Yes, it is just not known how much. Mauer and Morneau will combine with the likes of Chris Parmelee, Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham throughout the lineup (DH, catcher, first base, outfield). Keep in mind that until last season, the Twins had been the AL Central's best team over the past decade, and a consistent winner. The Twins won't compete, but they are not as bad as last year's debacle either.
Mrlns Fn said 04/04, 01:03 AM
Morneau's time in Minnesota may be drawing to a close.
If Morneau misses more time this year the Twins might attempt to move him to a contending team; one of those deadline deals made by a team on the brink of a playoff spot who feels pressured into surrendering a prospect or two for the chance at a pennant run. Morneau, although a very good hitter, just isn't reliable. At some point the Twins are going to give up on him and I think 2012 will be the year, if Morneau is unfortunate enough to sustain another injury.
The Royals just don't have the pitching to contend.
Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar... for once, the problem in Kansas City isn't a lack of offensive weapons. The Royals have plenty of nice, young pieces and they shouldn't have any problem scoring runs this year.
But their pitching is another story. Despite the trade for Jonathan Sanchez, the Royals still don't have any established pitchers to rely on. You know you're in trouble when your Opening Day starter is Bruce Chen, and although the Royals are in much better shape than in years past their pitching will still impede their progress.
...the best policy said 04/04, 05:29 PM
Detroit will win this division. Who'll finish second?
Good question. The other four teams all have some glaring weaknesses. Kansas City has a shoddy rotation. Cleveland has holes at third base, first, and the outfield as Grady Sizemore recovers. Minnesota's rotation is full of No. 4 and 5 starters, and the health of guys such as Morneau and Mauer is questionable. The White Sox are not sure who will close, have a rookie manager with no experience whatsoever, and have an offense that is shaky past Paul Konerko.
Truth is, any of these four teams could win 82 games, and any of the four could lose 96 games. I think KC will continue to improve and win 80 or so, while Minnesota and Chicago finish with about 76 wins each. Cleveland made a big mistake dealing for Ubaldo Jimenez, and that will cause the team to regress this year as the Tribe slides to last place.
Okay, Detroit wins the AL Central. So what? Can they make it to the World Series?
Sure, Verlander is as good as any pitcher in baseball. But the rest of the rotation is rather ordinary, the defense is porous, and the Tigers are not as good as the Angels, Rangers, Yankees or Rays.
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