Scouting the AL Central

Posted on March 19th, 2007 – 9:23 AM
By Joe Christensen

For the Twins, this is the only off day of the spring. No game. No practice. But the scribes are hunkered down, working on our “special section,” a massive project that will be available for your viewing pleasure April 1. Meanwhile, here in Blog Land, this seems like the perfect time to throw out the big one: How do you pick the AL Central? I’ve had the hardest time answering that question (as you might have heard with my rambling answer last week on XM Radio).

Again, I’d love your thoughts. But for now, since you put that gun to my head, I’m picking it like this: 1. Tigers, 2. Twins, 3. White Sox, 4. Indians, 5. Royals. The only two spots I’m certain about are the Tigers at No. 1 and the Royals at No. 5. I really feel like wimping out and picking the Twins, White Sox and Indians in a three-way tie for second. All three teams look like contenders to me. This is clearly the toughest division in baseball. Here’s a closer look:

Detroit Tigers

1. CF Curtis Granderson

2. 2B Placido Polanco

3. DH Gary Sheffield

4. SS Carlos Guillen

5. RF Magglio Ordonez

6. 1B  Sean Casey

7. LF Craig Monroe

8. C Pudge  Rodriguez

9. 3B Brandon  Inge

1. RH Jeremy Bonderman

2. LH Kenny Rogers

3. RH Justin Verlander

4. LH Nate Robertson

5. LH Mike Maroth

Bullpen: RH Todd Jones, RH Fernando Rodney, RH Joel Zumaya

Minnesota Twins

1. 2B Luis Castillo

2. 3B Nick Punto

3. C Joe Mauer

4. RF Michael Cuddyer

5. 1B Justin Morneau

6. CF Torii Hunter

7. LF Rondell White

8. DH Jason Kubel

9. SS Jason  Bartlett

1. LH Johan Santana

2. RH Carlos Silva

3. RH Ramon  Ortiz

4. RH Sidney Ponson/RH Matt Garza/LH Glen Perkins

5. RH Boof Bonser

Bullpen: RH Joe Nathan, RH Juan Rincon, RH Jesse Crain

Chicago White Sox

1. LF Scott Podsednik

2. CF Darin Erstad

3. RF Jermaine Dye

4. 1B Paul Konerko

5. DH Jim Thome

6. 3B Joe Crede

7. 2B Tadahito Iguchi

8. C A.J. Pierzynski

9. SS Juan Uribe

1. RH Jose Contreras

2. RH Jon Garland

3. LH Mark Buehrle

4. RH Javier Vazquez

5. RH Gavin Floyd

Bullpen: RH Bobby Jenks, RH Mike MacDougal, LH Matt Thornton

Cleveland Indians

1. CF Grady Sizemore

2. RF Trot Nixon

3. DH Travis Hafner

4. C Victor Martinez

5. LF David Dellucci

6. 1B Casey Blake

7. 2B Josh Barfield

8. 3B Andy Marte

9. SS Jhonny Peralta

1. LH C.C. Sabathia

2. RH Jake Westbrook

3. LH Jeremy Sowers

4. RH Paul Byrd

5. RH Fausto Carmona

(LH Cliff Lee starting season on DL with strained abdominal muscle.)

Bullpen: RH Joe Borowski, RH Roberto Hernandez, RH Rafael Betancourt

Kansas City Royals

1. CF David DeJesus

2. 2B Esteban German

3. RF Mark Teahen

4. DH Mike Sweeney

5. 3B Alex Gordon

6. 1B Ryan Shealy

7. LF Emil Brown

8. C John Buck

9. SS Angel Berroa

(2B Mark Grudzielanek will start the year on the DL.)

1. RH Gil Meche

2. LH Odalis Perez

3. RH Luke Hudson

4. LH Jorge De La  Rosa

5. RH Brian Bannister

Bullpen: RH Octavio  Dotel, RH David Riske, LH Jimmy Gobble

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