MMD Sports: 2014 A.L. CENTRAL BASEBALL PREVIEW

MMD April 1, 2014 0
MMD Sports: 2014 A.L. CENTRAL BASEBALL PREVIEW

2014 A.L. CENTRAL BASEBALL PREVIEW

Here goes part two of our M.L.B. preview.  Today we look at the most boring division in baseball.  Yesterday I posed the question: Who will get caught with a needle in their ass?  Well obviously I have no information suggesting any given player is on steroids, but I did compile a quick top-5 list of players I hope get caught.  Then we break down the abysmal A.L. Central.

1. Derek Jeter (just to listen to Yankee fans make excuses like “he did to recova from a foogin injury bro” as well as for the comedic element being that he has no muscles)
2. Price Fielder (does he mix them in with those 17 Entenmann’s snacky cakes he eats every day?)
3. Chris Davis (Brady Anderson!)
4. Nick Hagadone (There’s always a few guys that get caught every year that inspire the “I’ve never heard of him either dude!” reaction)
5. Yogi Berra

Now, on to serious business.

DETROIT TIGERS
Prediction: 1st Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Alex Avila
1B – Miguel Cabrera
2B – Ian Kinsler
3B – Nick Castellanos
SS – Jose Iglesias
LF – Andy Dirks
CF – Austin Jackson
RF – Torii Hunter
DH – Victor Martinez

C – Bryan Holaday
INF – Alex Gonzalez
INF – Andrew Romine
OF – Rajai Davis
OF – Don Kelly

Projected Rotation:
Justin Verlander
Max Scherzer
Anibal Sanchez
Drew Smyly
Rick Porcello

RP- Joe Nathan
Al Alburquerque
Ian Krol
Joba Chamberlain
Jose Ortega
Phil Coke
Evan Reed
Luke Putkonen
Bruce Rondon

The Tigers have won the division for three years in a row and show no signs of slowing down.  They have a good lineup which includes the best hitter in baseball Miguel Cabrera, who just received a ridiculous 10-year $292 million dollar extension at 31 years old.  In five years this contract is going to look just as dumb as the Pujols and A-Rod deals, but he’ll surely be worth the money for the first half of it.  Prince Fielder was traded for Ian Kinsler because the Tigers are just like everybody else, and wanted to shed 50 lbs. or so by summer.
Jim Leyland has stepped down and former backstop Brad Ausmus will take over managing duties, meaning the last cigarette that will ever be smoked in a professional locker room has probably been ashed.  Ausmus should have it pretty easy this year as one of the main reasons the Tigers have won the Central three years running is because the other four teams have been awful.  The other main reason is that they boast one of the best starting pitching staffs in the game.  Sitting back and watching Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Smyly and Porcello is a pretty sweet gig.  Their bullpen is bad, but their starters throw so many innings they’ll only need to find a few arms to back up their excellent closer Joe Nathan, and should be fine.  The Central is so bereft of talent the Tigers will most likely coast to another division title, unless they lose a few superstars to injury, or let Joba Chamberlain pitch meaningful innings before driving home drunk and telling Detroit’s Finest “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I PITCH FOR THE YANKE…aw shit.”

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Prediction: 2nd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Salvador Perez
1B – Eric Hosmer
2B –  Omar Infante
3B – Mike Moustakas
SS – Alcides Escobar
LF – Alex Gordon
CF – Lorenzo Cain
RF – Norichika Aoki
DH – Billy Butler

C- Brett Hayes
INF – Pedro Ciriaco
INF – Danny Valencia
OF – Justin Maxwell
OF – Jarrod Dyson

Projected Rotation:
James Shields
Jason Vargas
Jeremy Guthrie
Bruce Chen
Yordano Ventura

RP- Greg Holland
Aaron Crow
Wade Davis
Kevin Herrera
Tim Collins
Luis Coleman
Donny Joseph
Francisley Bueno
Danny Duffy

The last time the Royals made the playoffs George Brett was in his prime. Bret Saberhagen was 21 years old.  Steve Balboni was smashing home runs.  The first dot.com was registered, Windows 1.0 was released and Ronald Reagan was president.  Fast-forward 29 years and the Royals are looking to buck the trend.  It’s obvious how much they’ve improved their pitching staff over the last few years when you see their one-time ace Bruce Chen is now viewed as their fourth-best starter.  They don’t have much of a bullpen behind Holland but neither does anyone else in the division.
The playoffs are actually a possibility for K.C. mostly because as a 32 year old, this is the first time in my life I have ever uttered these words: “The Royals have a good lineup.”  I’m pretty sure that nuke Obama callously mentioned this week that might go off in Times Square surely will now, because Royals playoff baseball is the end of civilization as we know it.  I can’t wait.

CLEVELAND INDIANS:
Prediction: 3rd Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Yan Gomes
1B – Nick Swisher
2B – Jason Kipnis
3B – Carlos Santana
SS – Asdrubal Cabrera
LF – Michael Brantley
CF – Michael Bourn
RF – David Murphy
DH – Lonnie Chisenhall

C – Matt Treanor
1B – Jason Giambi
INF – Mike Aviles
OF – Nyjer Morgan
OF – Ryan Raburn

Projected Rotation:
Justin Masterson
Corey Kluber
Zach McAllister
Danny Salazar
Carlos Carrasco

RP – John Axford
Cody Allen
Vinnie Pestano
Bryan Shaw
Marc Rzepczynski
Josh Outman
Blake Wood
Nick Hagadone
Josh Tomlin
Shaun Marcum

Gotta love the Tribe.  They come into this season still sporting their outdated racist logo and calling themselves the Indians.  With all the bad press the Redskins are getting, it befuddles me that the other team with a logo that is a caricature of a red-faced, feather-wearing Injun is cool – but the term Redskins is racist.  Redskins is to racism what gobbledygook is to cursing.  They need to all change their names so White America can shut the fuck up already with all this faux-outrage that their ancestors named sports teams after the people their ancestors raped and murdered so they could do things like play baseball.  Sorry, got a little carried-away there.
Carlos Santana is moving to third base in an effort to not destroy his body and therefore bat behind the plate.  The Injuns (I can’t resist) have two awesome young up-and-coming pitchers that you should get to know in Corey Kluber and Cody Allen, who will be household-names soon enough.  I just don’t see them having enough pitching to make the postseason this year but there is so much young talent on this team the future looks very bright.  Also, this team employs Jason Giambi and Matt Treanor – ba-dum ching.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Prediction: 4th Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Tyler Flowers
1B – Jose Abreu
2B – Gordon Beckham
3B – Connor Gillaspie
SS – Alexi Ramirez
LF – Alejandro De Aza
CF – Adam Eaton
RF – Avisail Garcia
DH – Adam Dunn

C – Adrian Nieto
1B – Paul Konerko
INF – Jeff Keppinger
INF – Marcus Semien
OF – Dayan Viciedo
OF – Jordan Danks

Projected Rotation:
Chris Sale
Jose Quintana
John Danks
Erik Johnson
Felipe Paulino

RP – Nate Jones
Matt Lindstrom
Ronald Belisario
Scott Downs
Daniel Webb
Donnie Veal
Deunte Heath
Javy Guerra
David Purcey

I have heard some people say the South Siders are in a rebuilding phase, however you have to at some point be good to ultimately REbuild.  They’re basically just plain building, but they do have a nice core of young players to build around with the arms of Sale and Quintana plus the bats of Abreu and Eaton.  And at least they’re not the Cubs!

MINNESOTA TWINS
Prediction: Last Place

Projected Lineup:
C – Kurt Suzuki
1B – Joe Mauer
2B – Brian Dozier
3B – Trevor Plouffe
SS – Pedro Florimon
LF – Josh Willingham
CF – Oswaldo Arcia
RF – Aaron Hicks
DH – Jason Kubel

C – Josmil Pinto
INF – Eduardo Escobar
1B/OF – Chris Colabello
OF – Darin Mastroianni
UT – Jason Bartlett

Projected Rotation:
Ricky Nolasco
Kevin Correia
Phil Hughes
Mike Pelfrey
Kyle Gibson

RP – Glen Perkins
Jared Burton
Brian Duensing
Anthony Swarzak
Casey Fien
Caleb Thielbar
Samuel Dedundo
Scott Diamond
Michael Tonkin

The Twinkies used to be one of those small-market teams everyone lauded for being competitive with such a small payroll (like I did with the Rays yesterday) but times have changed.  Their rotation is full of cast-aways and their lineup is loaded with guys the casual fan has never heard of.  It looks like it will be a while until they get back to winning the division and losing to the Yankees in the first round.

P.S. Has anyone figured out yet why they moved from a dome to an outdoor stadium, being that they play in friggin’ Minneapolis?  This will be brought up again in 2025 when they make the World Series but it’s cancelled due to a snowstorm that won’t let up until 2026.

 

Article By: Anthony Schiano

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