2012 AL Central Predictions & Preview

I posted a blog post several days ago about the AL East and my projections.  I chose the Yankees to win the division, with the Rays finishing second and earning one of two wild card spots.  Today, I’ll offer my predictions about the AL Central.

I’ll be using the 2012 Major League Baseball Yearbook & Fantasy Guide as a reference to give you each player’s 2012 statistical projections.  If you see a roster error, please leave a comment so that I may fix it.

1st Place:  Detroit Tigers (My prediction 95-67)
The Detroit Tigers made a big splash over the winter by landing Prince Fielder to be their every day first baseman.  The Tigers took a hit when they lost Victor Martinez for the season, but the signing of Fielder more than made up for that.  Reigning MVP and Cy Young Award Winner Justin Verlander will anchor a decent rotation from top to bottom.  If I’m any other team in the Central, I’m not too happy about having the Tigers in my division.  The Tigers were offer a few interesting story lines to follow.  First, everyone will watch Prince Fielder to see how well he transitions from the NL to the AL.

Second, Miguel Cabrera has slimmed down from about 300 pounds to 260?  Giving him a better chance to perform adequately at third base this year.  The last time he played third base regularly was in Florida in 2007, and he put up less than average defensive metrics.

And the third story line to follow is how Justin Verlander follows up on his MVP and Cy Young award season.
The Tigers will be a fun bunch to watch.

2012 Statistical projections:
C Alex Avila .287-18-76
1B Prince Fielder .292-43-129
2B Ryan Raburn .272-18-63
2B Brandon Inge .220-7-36
3B Miguel Cabrera .346-31-108
SS Jhonny Peralta .282-18-83
LF Andy Dirks .251-10-45
CF Austin Jackson .263-10-49
RF Brennan Boesch .268-12-43
DH Delmon Young .278-15-60

SP Justin Verlander 21-6, 2.87 ERA, 235 IP, 237 K
SP Doug Fister 10-13, 3.24 ERA, 203 IP, 129 K
SP Max Scherzer 13-10, 3.85 ERA, 189 IP, 183 K
SP Rick Porcello 13-10, 4.51 ERA, 186 IP, 107 K
SP Jacob Turner 8-7, 4.34 ERA, 133 IP, 98 K
RP Jose Valverde 2.44 ERA, 39 SV, 66 IP, 65 K
RP Joaquin Benoit 2.47 ERA, 1 SV, 66 IP, 73 K

2nd Place: Cleveland Indians (My prediction 83-79)
After the Detroit Tigers, choosing among the Indians, Royals, and Twins was rather difficult.  I see all of them as strong contenders for the second spot in the division, but I’m going with the Indians in hopes that their young players can continue to progress rapidly and Ubaldo Jimenez bounces back.

The Indians have a lot of questions as players such as Shin Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, and Grady Sizemore try to bounce back from injuries and poor seasons.  What will become of Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona and his fate with the team after being arrested for using false identification?

I’m an Indians fan, so I hope things turn out well for them this year.  I think they’ll definitely be competitive and I can’t wait to attend more games at the Prog.  Hopefully there’s a lot to celebrate this year in Cleveland.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Carlos Santana .245-24-73
1B Casey Kotchman .300-10-43
1B Matt Laporta .269-16-72
2B Jason Kipnis .256-21-63
3B Lonnie Chisenhall .272-14-46
3B Jack Hanrahan .246-7-35
SS Asdrubal Cabrera .272-19-75
LF Michael Brantley .262-7-61
CF Grady Sizemore .262-17-63
RF Shin Soo Choo .282-18-75
DH Travis Hafner .274-15-62

SP Justin Masterson 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 215 IP, 164 K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez 14-11, 3.95 ERA, 201 IP, 192 K
SP Derek Lowe 12-15, 4.75 ERA, 186 IP, 131 K
SP Josh Tomlin 7-9, 5.31 ERA, 141 IP, 73 K
SP “Fausto Carmona” 10-14, 4.20 ERA, 210 IP, 123 K
SP Kevin Slowey 6-12, 5.37 ERA, 134 IP, 93K
RP Chris Perez 3.02 ERA, 27 SV, 60 IP, 49 K
RP Vinnie Pestano 2.81 ERA, 3 SV, 64 IP, 87 K

3rd Place: Kansas City Royals (My prediction: 82-80)
The Royals haven’t had a winning season since 2003, when they placed 3rd in the Central.  They are stocked with young talent that could possibly lead to them being much more competitive in 2012.  There have been several baseball columnists that have chosen the Royals as the break out or surprise team of 2012.  They will be playing in front of more people this year, as the All Star game has spiked season ticket sales.  Eric Hosmer, taken 3rd overall in the 2008 draft right after Pedro Alvarez looks to be on the path to stardom.

My main concern is their pitching staff.  Luke Hochevar looks to be their ace, but he hasn’t really proven himself as a front line pitcher yet, even though he was the Royals #1 draft pick in 2006.

I’m hoping the Royals can put together a winning season in the year they host the All Star game.  And, as a side note, I’m likely going to Kauffman stadium this summer for one game.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Salvador Perez .262-11-63
1B Eric Hosmer .298-22-89
2B Johnny Giavotella .265-6-46
3B Mike Moustakas .283-14-86
SS Alcides Escobar .251-4-44
LF Alex Gordon .292-24-84
CF Lorenzo Cain .266-3-42
RF Jeff Francouer .282-18-78
DH Billy Butler .297-19-94

SP Luke Hochevar 12-12, 4.62 ERA, 206 IP 140 K
SP Bruce Chen 11-10, 4.39 ERA, 170 IP, 121 K
SP Jonathan Sanchez 11-10, 4.68 ERA, 167 IP, 174 K
SP Felipe Paulino 7-12, 4.42 ERA, 155 IP, 128 K
SP Danny Duffy 9-10, 4.92 ERA, 155 IP, 145 K
RP Joakim Soria 3.92 ERA, 33 SV, 60 IP, 64 K
RP Jonathan Broxton 3.63 ERA, 5 SV, 69 IP, 87 K

4th Place:  Minnesota Twins (My prediction: 75-87)
The Twins had a disastrous 2011 campaign in which they posted a record of 63-99.  Joe Mauer, who had just signed a 8 year $184 million mega contract prior to the 2010 season, suffered through injuries along with former AL MVP Justin Morneau.
Morneau only had 4 HR last year in a partial season.  Just another reason the Twins had to hang their heads in ’11

These are not the results that ownership expected in the first couple seasons of their beautiful new home, Target Field.

2012 Statistical Predictions:
C Joe Mauer .310-11-81
1B Justin Morneau .300-17-78
2B Alexi Casilla .259-2-26
3B Danny Valencia .258-13-69
SS Jamey Carroll .288-0-19
LF Ben Revere .266-0-51
CF Denard Span .265-3-34
RF Josh Willingham .252-27-88
DH Ryan Doumit .286-14-59

SP Carl Pavano 12-12, 4.20 ERA, 217 IP, 112 K
SP Scott Baker 9-7 3.87 ERA, 144 IP, 126 K
SP Francisco Liriano 13-10, 3.79 ERA, 188 IP, 179 K
SP Brian Duensing 13-14, 4.78 ERA, 194 IP, 140 K
SP Nick Blackburn 8-11, 4.78 ERA, 151 IP, 71 K
RP Matt Capps 3.70 ERA, 29 saves, 66 IP, 43 K
RP Glen Perkins 2.85 ERA, 4 saves, 66 IP, 68 K

5th Place:  Chicago White Sox (My prediction: 72-90)
The White Sox have some talent, but most of their players have really been a disappointment.  There’s Jake Peavy, former Cy Young award winner of 2007, who hasn’t done much since.

Then, there’s Adam Dunn, nicknamed the Big Donkey.  He was nothing more than a big goat in 2011, despised by the White Sox faithful for hitting .159 with 11 home runs.  That’s right .159!  The White Sox might as well forfeit their use of the DH and hit pitchers than this guy.  What makes things worse is that Dunn signed a 4 year, $56 million contract prior to 2011.  So White Sox fans, you could have three more years of this.

The league has figured out Alexei Ramirez, who set all of his career highs in home runs, RBIs and batting average during his rookie season in 2008.

Sorry, but it might be a long summer at US Cellular Field.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C AJ Pierzynski .283-9-48
1B Paul Konerko .278-31-101
2B Gordon Beckham .234-10-46
3B Brent Morel .277-15-54
SS Alexei Ramirez .271-15-68
LF Alejandro De Aza .286-8-52
CF Alex Rios .244-15-56
RF Dayan Viciedo .276-16-49
DH Adam Dunn .212-21-65

SP John Danks 11-11, 4.07 ERA, 186 IP, 146 K
SP Gavin Floyd 11-12, 4.21 ERA, 188 IP, 151 K
SP Jake Peavy 7-7, 4.61 ERA, 109 IP, 97 K
SP Philip Humber 8-15, 4.15 ERA, 174 IP, 135 K
SP Chris Sale 11-8, 3.78 ERA, 155 IP, 160 K
RP Addison Reed 2.65 ERA, 24 saves, 54 IP, 77 K
RP Matt Thornton 3.09 ERA, 7 saves, 58 IP

In closing, I think the AL Central will be:
1) Tigers
2) Indians
3) Royals
4) Twins
5) White Sox

What are your picks?

There’s only 44 days until opening day, and 11 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 6 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

15 Comments

Twins will surprise this year

Would love to see the Indians take it, but Ubaldo is bound to blow out his elbow and the Tigers could be on the verge of a 100 win season.

I agree with you that the Tigers are the team to beat in the AL Central. Think if they had Victor Martinez for this season though, then they might have been my WS pick.

I want to see the Royals win. I know it is not likely but I think it would be fun to watch good KC baseball. Mabey we will have a 1980 WS rematch!
Go Phillies!

I agree about the tigers

Tigers on paper should have no trouble winning this division. That said, dream teams in the past year or two have disappointed. I like Cleveland at two but Ubaldo has got to step it up. Royals jumped up to three but I could move them back down just because their pitching is not great. A Broxton-Soria eighth and ninth should be solid. Twins and White Sox are a coin flip but I’ll put the Twins in fourth.

I look forward to seeing you at the K! I’m picking the Royals to finish 2nd at 88-74.

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I gotta agree Tigers take the AL central this year.

Manny is going to be worthless in Oakland. They are wasting their money

you rank the sox to low

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