2013 Season Preview – American League Central

1. Division Champions – Detroit Tigers


Last year: 88-74 (AL West Champions)

Projected lineup:

1. CF: Austin Jackson
2. RF: Torii Hunter
3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera
4. 1B: Prince Fielder
5. DH: Victor Martinez
6. LF: Andy Dirks
7. SS: Jhonny Peralta
8. C: Alex Avila
9. 2B: Omar Infante

Projected rotation:

1. Justin Verlander
2. Anibal Sanchez
3. Rick Porcello
4. Doug Fister
5. Max Scherzer

The Detroit Tigers are the obvious class of the American League Central. The Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez middle of the order is among the most impressive in baseball. And there is not a weak link in the rotation chain, headed by ace Justin Verlander. The Tigers will fatten themselves by feasting on a weak division en route to another Central championship.

SAD’s prediction: 91-71 (AL Central Champions)

2. Kansas City Royals

Last year: 72-90 (missed playoffs)

Projected lineup:

1. LF: Alex Gordon
2. SS: Alcides Escobar
3. DH: Billy Butler
4. 3B: Mike Moustakas
5. C: Salvador Perez
6. 1B: Eric Hosmer
7. CF: Lorenzo Cain
8. RF: Jeff Francoeur
9. 2B: Chris Getz

Projected rotation:

1. James Shields
2. Jeremy Guthrie
3. Ervin Santana
4. Wade Davis
5. Luis Mendoza

Kansas City seems to be everyone’s darling pick for surprise contention in 2013. We understand why. It’s been a long time since a Royals team has had the quality of pitching the 2013 edition will carry with it into Opening Day. Acquisitions of James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana have beefed up the rotation. If Eric Hosmer can return to his rookie-season form, and Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas are able to drive in runs, Kansas City might make a run at a Wild Card berth. Seeds All Day likes what the Royals have done and thinks they finish above .500 for the first time since 2003, but thinks they fall just short of making the postseason.

SAD’s prediction – 82-80 (no playoff berth)

3. Cleveland Indians

Last year: 68-94 (no playoff berth)

Projected lineup:

1. CF: Michael Bourn
2. SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
3. 2B: Jason Kipnis
4. 1B: Nick Swisher
5. LF: Michael Brantley
6. C: Carlos Santana
7. DH: Mark Reynolds
8. 3B: Lonnie Chisenhall
9. RF: Drew Stubbs

Projected rotation:

1. Justin Masterson
2. Ubaldo Jiminez
3. Brett Myers
4. Zach McCallister
5. Scott Kazmir

The Cleveland Indians will be the least surprising surprise team of 2013. Because the Tribe finished with just 68 wins, it’s easy to forget that they were flirting with first place at the All-Star break. Many fault the Indians’ failure to make any moves at the trade deadline for their freefall in 2012. The front office certainly did not sit on its hands this offseason, adding Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher to form a much improved everyday lineup. There are question marks in the rotation. Scott Kazmir, a two-time All Star with the Tampa Bay Rays, has not pitched in the majors in two seasons. Brett Myers is another guy who has had success as a starter, but he has bounced around from bullpen to rotation to bullpen in past seasons. And Ubaldo Jiminez has never quite captured the magic he pitched with in Colorado since being acquired by Cleveland in 2011. Pitching will determine Cleveland’s fate in 2013, and there are just too many question marks for Seeds All Day to be believers.

SAD’s prediction: 80-82 (no playoff berth)

4. Chicago White Sox

Last year: 85-75 (missed playoffs)

Projected lineup:

1. CF: Alejandro De Aza
2. 3B: Jeff Keppinger
3. RF: Alex Rios
4. DH: Adam Dunn
5. 1B: Paul Konerko
6. LF: Dayan Viciedo
7. SS: Alexei Ramirez
8. C: Tyler Flowers
9. 2B: Gordon Beckham

Projected rotation:

1. Chris Sale
2. Jake Peavy
3. Gavin Floyd
4. Jose Quintana
5. Dylan Axelrod (until John Danks returns)

Which Adam Dunn is going to show up in 2013; will it be the guy who hit 41 home runs last season, or the guy who batted .159 with just 11 home runs in 2011?And which Alex Rios will Chicago get; will it be the guy who hit .304 with 25 homers in 2012, or the guy who hit just .227 with 13 long balls in 2011? Dunn’s and Rios’ production will dictate in large part the success of the White Sox season. Consider that in 2011, down years for both, Chicago won just 79 games. But last season, Chicago won 85 games and pushed Detroit for the division crown. Paul Konerko is a mark of consistency, but he can’t do the job for the White Sox offense on his own. Seeds All Day believes 2013 will be more like 2011 than 2012.

SAD’s prediction: 79-83 (no playoff berth)

5. Minnesota Twins

Last year: 66-96 (missed playoffs)

Projected lineup:

1. CF: Aaron Hicks
2. 2B: Brian Dozier
3. C: Joe Mauer
4. LF: Josh Willingham
5. 1B: Justin Morneau
6. DH: Ryan Doumit
7. RF: Chris Parmelee
8. 3B: Trevor Plouffe
9. SS: Pedro Florimon
Projected rotation:

1. Vance Worley
2. Kevin Correia
3. Mike Pelfrey
4. Liam Hendriks
5. Cole DeVries

The Minnesota Twins will be the team that competes with Houston for the worst record in the American League. If you read through the projected lineup and rotation and thought to yourself, “who?”, you reacted appropriately. Justin Morneau looks to be fully recovered for the first time since his latest 2011 concussion. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham provide steady middle-of-the-order bats. There just simply is not much else to go along with those three names. Starting pitching is the most important asset of a Major League ballclub, and this year’s Twins team simply has none.

SAD’s prediction: 69-93 (no playoff berth)

About Matthew George

Matthew George graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a bachelor of science in journalism. He spent three years writing sports for the Kentucky Kernel, the university's daily paper, and served as assistant sports editor. After undergrad, Matthew attended Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University where he earned his juris doctorate. He is now admitted to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana.

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