March 10, 2014
Talkin' Baseball: AL Central
The Colonel: Well if we have to. My problem with the AL Central last season was that it was such a bland division. I know they had three teams fighting for playoff spots and two of those teams made the playoffs but they were all so boring. And the two worst teams in that division were laughably bad. I'll try to give this division a fair shake this year but I have a feeling it will still be bland.
49er16: I actually agree with you. Both the Indians and Royals are fairly bland. They have some nice pieces but they're not the teams you're going to go out of your way to watch. And the Tigers are interesting when Verlander is pitching and Cabrera is hitting but other than that they've fairly bland as well.
The Colonel: Sticking with the Tigers, I think this is the year they finally fall back to Earth. Their outfield is relying on Andy Dirks and 1000 year old Torii Hunter. They have an unproven commodity on third. Ian Kinsler is regressing. Cabrera is really going to have to carry this team this year.
49er16: You didn't even mention the fact they dumped Doug Fister for someone named Smyly. Their rotation now is only three deep instead of four. And I'm sorry I don't see how Joba Chamberlain is going to improve their bullpen. Same with Joe Nathan.
The Colonel: We don't even have cigarette smoking Leyland to kick around anymore. I'm just not in love with this team anymore.
49er16: And the Indians are this year's Orioles. They didn't improve their lineup at all. Lost two starting pitchers. I bet they fall back to Earth harder than the Orioles last season. Seriously look at their projected rotation. They still have the disappointing Lonnie Chisenhall at third. And I'm suppose to believe this team will win 90 plus games again?
The Colonel: Plus like the Orioles, they won't win a bunch of 1-run games again. And remember they feasted on the bad Twins and White Sox all year while floundered against playoff teams like Detroit and Tampa Bay. They're the team I'm definitely the most down on that made the playoffs last season.
49er16: We're thankfully not the only ones down on them. PECOTA has them winning 79 games. Ouch.
The Colonel: Weird. They have the Royals also winning 79 games. I like them more than the Indians so I think they can get to at least 89 games. Yes I believe PECOTA is off by 10.
49er16: I do like the Royals rotation hell of lot more. Interesting to see if their bullpen regresses much since that group did well last season. I also like the addition of Aoki to their outfield because he knocks the Alcides Escobar out of the top of the lineup where all he does is make outs.
The Colonel: The Hosmer-Moustakes combination is what fascinates me. We keep waiting and waiting for them to break out and it just hasn't quite happened yet. If it doesn't happen this season then I don't believe it will ever happen. Then again you should never give up early on left-handed swingers and they're both lefty's.
49er16: The ultimate problem with the Royals is that they still have Ned Yost as their manager. You can argue all the day the effect a good manager has on a team but I firmly believe a bad manager like Yost costs his teams wins. Just look at his strategy last year of batting Alcides Escobar near the top of the lineup. Escobar is allergic to getting on base and yet there he was.
The Colonel: Speaking of bad, I like the Twins strategy of picking up starting pitching via free agency but not too expensive free agents like Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco.
49er16: I like how the Twins have basically ignored starting pitching in the draft for hitting. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just find it amusing. Joe Mauer permanently at first, how do you feel about that?
The Colonel: I'm fine with Mauer at first. It saves his legs from catching and maybe that will add some power to his hitting.
49er16: I also love the White Sox strategy of just trading for all of the Diamondbacks young hitters. They got both Eaton and Davidson. And remember Eaton was suppose to be Arizona's starting centerfielder and then he got hurt last year. I like both of those moves and the Abreu move.
The Colonel: The White Sox might be my ultimate "this team could win 90 games or win 79 games" team. You look at their lineup and they have some nice pieces but it's a mixture of unproven (Abreu), guys who haven't started everyday (Davidson) guys who can't hit (Phelgey) and aging vets (Dunn and Konerko). Also I don't believe their rotation will be as good this season.
49er16: Oh if they suck the sulking Hawk is going to be all over the Internet again. Awful Announcing is begging for bad White Sox this season.