It's time to continue to breakdown this years divisions and that brings me to the AL Central. This is the one division in baseball that can be won by anyone.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Minnesota Twins- The Twins will win this division, because as usual, they have the most talent. They never rebuild, they just reload. They have great young talent at every position, but what will separate them from the rest is pitching.
A healthy Francisco Liriano will lead a rotation of great young arms. Expect Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn to get even better as well. The Twins have a solid bullpen as well and have one of the most reliable closers in the game in Joe Nathan. If anyone should stumble, there are arms in the minors that are ready as well.
The M&M boys in Mauer and Morneau will lead the offense again, but they have a good young outfield that will produce. They are weak on the left side of the infield, but Ron Gardenhire always gets the most from his teams. this year will be no different
2. Cleveland Indians- I really planned on picking them to win it, but what separates the Twins from the Tribe is pitching. I just don't like the Indians rotation. Assuming Cliff Lee has the same kind of season and Fausto Carmona bounces back, the rest of the rotation isn't that good. Anthony Reyes? Carl Pavano? You just don't know what to expect. The Tribe's bullpen cost them last year, but should be better this season with the addition of Kerry Wood, assuming he can stay healthy.
Offensively, I believe they will be real good. Grady Sizemore will win the MVP and they have a good mix of young players. mark Derosa will help out. The C.C. Sabathia trade netted them Matt Laporta who will get the call this year and have an impact.
One thing that may help the tribe is a supply of bats. Ryan Garko is the kind of player that the Tribe might be able to package for another starter.
3. Kansas City Royals- I expect these guys to be better, possibly over .500. They have some good young arms and if they can figure it out this year, then they could surprise. Zack Grienke has ace stuff and they have good young players at many positions. Don't sleep on these guys, but next year is more realistic.
4. Detroit Tigers- Jim Leyland's lineup is once again loaded, but they are aging fast. I just think the pitching will kill them again. Justin Verlander needs a bounce back season and if Rick Porcello gets the call this year then Detroit has two power arms to work with. The rest of the rotation just isn't that good. Expect the Tigers to score a ton of runs, but give up just as much.
5. Chicago White Sox- I love Ozzie Guillen as a manager, but expect last seasons division champs to take a turn the wrong way. They are aging at certain positions and expect them to shop Jermaine Dye and maybe Paul Konerko. The White Sox are starting to really accumulate great young players. Alexi Ramirez is a stud. As with the rest of the division though, I don't like their rotation. Mark Buehrle could also get dealt this season. John Danks is solid but it's shaky after that.
This could very well be just the opposite, it really can be had by anyone. I still like the Twins though.