Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Prediction: AL Central

When the White Sox won the AL Central last year, it was surprising. When they went on to win the AL pennant and the World Series, it was shocking. At the beginning of the year, no one expected the Southsiders to do any of the things they did.

It takes a tremendous amount of luck to be able to put two successful years together back-to-back. That's why I don't expect the Chi Sox to repeat in the AL central.

The Indians have made some very interesting moves in the off-season. They have a nice mix of veterans and youngsters. They also showed the potential they have during a short stretch toward the end of the year last year. Plus, they have a manager that is very highly regarded. The Indians will be a leading contender in the division in 2006.

The Twins never made the run in 2005 that people expected them to make. Over the past few years, the Twins have lost several of their top line players to teams that could better afford them. But that doesn't mean they've completely thrown in the towel. Expect the Twins to also be a contender.

The White Sox still have some very good pitching. They also still have some of the best hitters in the league. Even so, although the Pale Hose will finish the year above .500, I don't expect them to be a serious contender for the division title.

Detroit is an improved team with a new, proven manager in Jim Leyland. They'll be better than they were last year, but they won't be a contender. The Tigers are heading in the right direction, but they're not there yet.

That leaves the Royals. What can be said about the Royals that hasn't been said before about spoiled food. This once proud franchise is now firmly esconced as the worst team in the major leagues. Sure, we all got excited a couple of years ago when Carlos Pena worked his magic for about half a season in Kansas City, but the Royals have returned to their well earned place in baseball's basement. They made some interesting moves in the off-season, but expect the results to be the same as in recent memory.

Here's how the AL Central will look at the end of the year:

1) Cleveland Indians
2) Minnesota Twins
3) chicago White Sox
4) Detroit Tigers
5) Kansas City Royals

Next time, the NL Central.


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