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AL Central Preview

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We start our MLB division previews in the AL Central this year. It seems like a good place start since the defending champion Royals are in this division. Will there be team that can top the champs or will the reign of the Royals continue? I also want to give a monster shout out to Roto Champs for these projected lineups and rotations.

1. Royals

The Royals are the most complete team in this division by far, and that’s saying something because I’m not too high on the AL Central. Their bullpen is their most potent weapon and they pretty much have the same exact lineup as last year. The rotation is where the question marks start to fly a bit. KC once again, comes into the season without a true ace or stopper. They are hoping Yordano can become Ace Ventura (see what I did there?) can finally take that next step but it’s still a long shot. This rotation will really rely on bounce back seasons from Ian Kennedy, Mike Minor, and Kris Medlin. All 3 of those guys have shown that they can pitch at a high level in the MLB, and the Royals will need at least 2 of them to get that form back. There is a lot of “ifs” with the rotation, but that dominant bullpen can really make up for it. That bullpen with their defense and speed is what makes the Royals my favorites to repeat in the AL Central.

Projected Lineup

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K
1 Alcides Escobar SS 582 63 3 51 21 0.266 0.299 0.332 0.631 24 75
2 Lorenzo Cain OF 535 78 12 67 27 0.299 0.346 0.439 0.785 34 106
3 Eric Hosmer 1B 570 78 15 71 6 0.288 0.347 0.428 0.775 50 102
4 Kendrys Morales DH 528 74 19 71 0 0.277 0.338 0.453 0.791 46 96
5 Mike Moustakas 3B 525 69 18 67 1 0.257 0.315 0.423 0.738 39 78
6 Salvador Perez C 500 58 17 64 1 0.262 0.288 0.412 0.700 16 76
7 Alex Gordon OF 525 80 17 68 7 0.270 0.357 0.425 0.782 64 126
8 Omar Infante 2B 428 43 4 40 4 0.245 0.274 0.334 0.608 16 60
9 Jarrod Dyson OF 196 28 1 18 26 0.255 0.313 0.354 0.667 15 37
Projected Rotation

Player POS IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
1 Edinson Volquez SP 195 12 10 3.69 1.32 149 73 9.5% 93.7 mph
2 Yordano Ventura SP 174 11 10 3.78 1.30 157 63 10.4% 96.3 mph
3 Ian Kennedy SP 182 11 9 3.76 1.29 178 62 10.3% 91.3 mph
4 Danny Duffy SP 150 10 8 3.78 1.29 112 57 8.4% 93.8 mph
5 Chris Young SP 119 7 9 4.16 1.29 79 42 9.4% 86.6 mph
6 Kris Medlen SP 85 5 5 3.60 1.22 63 23 8.6% 91.0 mph
7 Mike Minor SP 81 3 6 4.33 1.26 68 21

2. Tigers

The Tigers lost their bite last year in losing Mad Max to the Nats. It also didn’t help that Justin Verlander was banged up and could never really give the Tigers a 1-2 punch of David Price and Verlander. Now, Price is in Boston making bank, driving a Range Rover and getting ass, so they need another arm. The Tigers did go out and sign Jordan Zimmerman to a good deal to try to help Verlander out. They also acquired Daniel “Van by the River” Norris from trading Price to the Jays during last year’s trading deadline. Norris can be a young stud in the making that can really shape this rotation into form. He is a huge key to this season and if the Tigers want to go back to the show, they need Norris to be good. The start of the Tigers lineup is pretty loaded. Guys 1-6 can all easily hit 15 homers, and guys 2-5 can all hit 25 plus. That is a pretty powerful lineup, but after the 6 guys it gets pretty bare. Cameron Maybin back in Detroit might be a little sleeper batting 9th though. So really just McCann and Jose are kind of nothing with the bat, but other than that this lineup is pretty deadly. In the end though, this bullpen will be the undoing and reason they miss out on the division. They did bring in K-Rod, and I love him and is probably my favorite closer of all-time, but doesn’t have a whole lot of help in the 6th, 7th, and 8th. This lineup can carry this team to a wildcard berth, but if their rotation can go deep into games and get the ball straight to K-Rod, then this team can really go for the division.

Projected Lineup

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 585 77 13 70 12 0.279 0.325 0.410 0.735 38 70
2 Justin Upton OF 545 86 26 80 14 0.262 0.345 0.464 0.809 66 160
3 Miguel Cabrera 1B 558 100 27 94 1 0.315 0.404 0.527 0.931 82 105
4 J.D. Martinez OF 558 86 33 94 4 0.283 0.337 0.522 0.859 43 165
5 Victor Martinez DH 428 58 14 56 1 0.280 0.342 0.435 0.777 38 43
6 Nick Castellanos 3B 538 67 14 64 1 0.257 0.307 0.405 0.712 38 145
7 James McCann C 363 40 6 38 3 0.262 0.295 0.369 0.664 15 85
8 Jose Iglesias SS 434 52 2 41 10 0.297 0.340 0.359 0.699 24 50
9 Cameron Maybin OF 325 40 5 33 12 0.255 0.317 0.345 0.662 29 66
Projected Rotation

Player POS IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
1 Jordan Zimmermann SP 202 12 10 3.34 1.15 171 36 8.4% 93.0 mph
2 Justin Verlander SP 195 11 11 3.83 1.23 163 57 10.0% 92.8 mph
3 Anibal Sanchez SP 155 9 9 4.18 1.22 140 45 9.3% 91.9 mph
4 Daniel Norris SP 125 6 8 4.03 1.35 117 51 9.2% 92.0 mph
5 Mike Pelfrey SP 147 7 9 4.47 1.49 79 45 5.6% 93.3 mph

3. Indians

The Indians are really hard to figure out. Their top 3 in the rotation are freaking dynamos. All 3 of them have ace potential, and they have a real nice closer in Cody Allen. The problem for me is the lineup. Yes, Lindor became a star last year, but can he repeat it for a full season? Can Carlos Santana become a power hitting beast again? Where the hell did Kipnis’ power go? Also can Michael Brantley stay on the field and get back to his 2014 ways? Those are a lot of questions for a lineup, and they are questions for the Indians best hitters. The rotation will keep them around, but I just can’t see this lineup being able to put a whole lot of runs on the board.

Projected Lineup

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K
1 Rajai Davis OF 370 52 8 44 27 0.270 0.313 0.405 0.718 21 73
2 Francisco Lindor SS 565 70 11 62 15 0.267 0.316 0.377 0.693 40 110
3 Jason Kipnis 2B 558 79 10 65 18 0.278 0.350 0.401 0.751 59 112
4 Carlos Santana DH 545 88 21 69 9 0.237 0.363 0.411 0.774 107 119
5 Yan Gomes C 389 48 14 50 0 0.254 0.294 0.424 0.718 18 101
6 Mike Napoli 1B 400 61 18 55 2 0.240 0.343 0.430 0.773 61 126
7 Lonnie Chisenhall OF 455 54 11 51 4 0.253 0.301 0.387 0.688 30 98
8 Giovanny Urshela 3B 301 33 8 33 0 0.229 0.276 0.352 0.628 18 58
9 Abraham Almonte OF 325 39 5 32 8 0.234 0.295 0.338 0.633 28 80
Projected Rotation

Player POS IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
1 Corey Kluber SP 207 14 8 3.17 1.10 228 43 12.9% 92.8 mph
2 Danny Salazar SP 187 10 10 3.47 1.23 202 60 11.8% 94.8 mph
3 Carlos Carrasco SP 185 14 6 2.92 1.08 206 43 14.0% 94.5 mph
4 Trevor Bauer SP 180 7 13 4.35 1.32 172 77 9.6% 92.8 mph
5 Cody Anderson SP 125 4 10 4.68 1.41 65 41 7.8% 92.2 mph
6 Josh Tomlin SP 75 2 2 3.60 1.15 65 10 9.4% 88.4 mph

4. Twins

The Twins shocked everyone by being in the hunt late last year, but I don’t know if they can get back again. They have a solid lineup and bullpen, but boy does their rotation suck. They are going to give up a lot of runs and their offense will have to out mash teams. Don’t get me wrong that can totally work, but the lineup isn’t murders row. Don’t worry Twins fans help is on the way. Highly touted Byron Buxton made his debut last year and will look to get it going this year in his 1st full year. He is a difference maker, so the faster he comes around the faster this team will compete. Also Jose Berrios should be in this starting rotation starting the year off. The kid has nothing else to prove in the minors and might be the most polished pitcher in the minors. HE’S READY, STOP BABYING HIM!!!! Let the kid loose and let’s see if he can be that stopper the Twins have missed since Johan was around. I like this team a lot but they need to add some arms from somewhere. This lineup is good enough to win the division but that rotation will hold them back.

Projected Lineup

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K
1 Byron Buxton OF 525 59 12 54 24 0.257 0.303 0.394 0.697 33 133
2 Brian Dozier 2B 575 86 24 78 14 0.240 0.322 0.430 0.752 65 130
3 Joe Mauer 1B 548 72 8 59 2 0.276 0.354 0.385 0.739 66 106
4 Miguel Sano OF 535 87 30 84 4 0.245 0.345 0.475 0.820 80 216
5 Trevor Plouffe 3B 536 72 20 71 2 0.252 0.315 0.431 0.746 47 114
6 Byung-ho Park DH 478 60 22 73 4 0.266 0.326 0.462 0.788 43 120
7 Eddie Rosario OF 450 51 11 52 9 0.240 0.264 0.398 0.662 16 117
8 Kurt Suzuki C 320 35 3 29 0 0.253 0.309 0.338 0.647 23 38
9 Eduardo Escobar SS 402 51 9 48 1 0.264 0.309 0.423 0.732 26 84
Projected Rotation

Player POS IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
1 Phil Hughes SP 185 9 11 4.23 1.24 136 21 5.5% 90.7 mph
2 Ervin Santana SP 161 8 10 3.91 1.29 133 50 9.5% 92.5 mph
3 Kyle Gibson SP 195 10 12 4.15 1.31 133 64 9.8% 91.8 mph
4 Ricky Nolasco SP 150 8 8 5.04 1.46 117 38 9.2% 90.5 mph
5 Trevor May SP 140 8 7 3.73 1.36 130 43 10.5% 92.9 mph
6 Tommy Milone SP 98 3 7 4.22 1.34 69 28 8.1% 87.8 mph

5. White Sox

The White Sox always seem to add a big name in the offseason and still find a way to suck. They added big Toddy Frazier this offseason and he will help in a big way, but they still have a ton of holes. Abreu, Melk-Man, Toddy, and Adam Eaton are solid, but after that its crap and the same goes for their rotation. They have Sale, Rodon, and Quintana, then crap. Maybe it’s time for this organization to add multiple pieces instead of just 1 name every year. I don’t see a whole of wining in the South Side this year.

Projected Lineup

Player POS AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS BB K
1 Adam Eaton OF 588 83 9 67 17 0.287 0.350 0.403 0.753 52 119
2 Jose Abreu DH 578 92 31 96 1 0.298 0.353 0.522 0.875 43 134
3 Melky Cabrera OF 569 72 12 67 4 0.285 0.332 0.409 0.741 39 75
4 Todd Frazier 3B 589 88 30 90 14 0.256 0.315 0.469 0.784 46 132
5 Brett Lawrie 2B 535 66 16 65 5 0.260 0.304 0.406 0.710 30 125
6 Adam LaRoche 1B 444 61 17 54 2 0.230 0.324 0.392 0.716 60 122
7 Dioner Navarro C 251 31 8 30 1 0.267 0.321 0.406 0.727 20 41
8 Avisail Garcia OF 521 62 13 57 8 0.259 0.306 0.370 0.676 31 136
9 Jimmy Rollins SS 260 33 7 29 9 0.235 0.302 0.365 0.667 25 44
Projected Rotation

Player POS IP W L ERA WHIP K BB SwStrike Fastball
1 Chris Sale SP 199 15 7 3.08 1.07 251 43 14.6% 94.5 mph
2 Jose Quintana SP 202 13 9 3.39 1.27 174 47 9.3% 91.6 mph
3 Carlos Rodon SP 185 10 10 3.55 1.36 189 84 10.1% 93.4 mph
4 John Danks SP 165 6 12 4.64 1.39 114 53 9.0% 89.4 mph
5 Mat Latos SP 130 7 7 4.15 1.25 107 36 9.9% 91.5 mph
6 Erik Johnson SP 52 2 2 4.85 1.46 36 21 8.2% 91.4 mph

Awards for the Divison;

MVP-Miguel Cabrera

CY Young- Corey Kluber
ROY- Byron Buxton


Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : George

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