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BLOG: AL Central Preview & Predictions

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(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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In my last blog I gave my preview and predictions for the American League East, mostly because being here from Baltimore its the easiest for me to follow and keep up with.  The AL Central  might be one of the most interesting to me for the fact no one team is far and away the favorite to win the division.  The Twins are the defending champs and Tigers and White Sox are nipping at their heels.  Now onto my predictions for the American League Central.

1. Chicago White Sox– The White Sox are the team to beat in the AL Central.  I love the Sox pitching staff with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Edwin Jackson and of course Jake Peavy.  I almost forgot Peavy was on the White Sox after last years injury plagued season, so if healthy its hard not to think the Sox don’t have one of the best pitching staffs in the American League.  They already had a decent lineup with Carlos Quintin and Paul Konerko, then they added Adam Dunn who has hit at least 38 home runs every year since 2004.  The White Sox are flying under the radar but don’t be surprised if this Sox team is competing for a title.

2. Minnesota Twins– The way I see it the defending champs are good but only for second place.  The lineup is a good one and is one of the youngest and most exciting to watch in baseball, the average age is 27 with the only projected starter over the age of 30 is Jason Kubel at 31.  It’s the pitching of the Twins that worries me a little bit.  Francisco Liriano had a bounce back season last year with 14 wins but can he stay healthy, we will see.  Carl Pavano came out of nowhere and had his best season since 2004.  Also Joe Nathan is back after missing the entire 2010 season.

3. Detroit Tigers– Detroit in my opinion underachieved last season just finishing at 81-81.  Miguel Cabrera was in the MVP conversation last year and for good reason.  However Cabrera has gone back to his old ways of drinking way too much, and if it isn’t handled it could distract both him and the team.  The Tigers lineup didn’t change much other than the addition of Victor Martinez.  Victor will be the DH and that will benefit both him and the Tigers.  The ace of their staff is Justin Verlander and they added Brad Penny but like a lot of guys no idea what we will see from Penny.

4. Cleveland Indians– Sorry Cleveland but there isn’t much hope for your tribe in 2011.  One good thing is getting a healthy Grady Sizemore back, but as bad as this team is Sizemore can only do so much.  This could also be a make or break year for Matt LaPorta, once considered a top prospect he has yet to live up to the hype.  As for the pitching staff Fausto Carmona is the only name that sticks out, he only won 13 games last year but that’s not too bad for the team he pitches on.  If the Indians want any hope Carmona has to revert back to his 2007 form.

5. Kansas City Royals– As bleak as the Indians season looks like the Royals looks that much worse.  The main if not only thing the Royals had going for them was ace pitcher Zack Greinke, well now he is in Milwaukee.  Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar along with others are going to have to carry the load that Grienke did all himself.  Kansas City has ok hitters but nothing that jumps out at you.  Alex Gordon is one of them, like LaPorta he was once considered a top prospect but he has never hit over .260, one more bad season and Gordon could be considered a bust.

Andy Snakovsky – 105.7 The Fan Staff Writer

Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndySnakovsky

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