The AL Central is a mess. How can you pick Chicago for 2009 when their top sluggers are inching closer and close to retirement, their pitching is in flux and one of the few things going for them in terms of 'upside' is that the new President is their biggest fan.
Kansas are suddenly an interesting prospect, a very young side with buckets of potential talent, decent starting pitching (Greinke is going to be a stud in '09), talented relief, and some good young bats in the lineup. Kansas came on pretty strong at the tail end of 2008 and close followers of the game won't be too shocked to see them start to put it together in '09.
With 350lb CC Sabathis now boosting the revenue of burger joints across Manhattan, Cleveland will have to rely heavily on Carmona and Lee, Carmona had a poor '08 and Lee is getting absolutely shelled in spring training. Unless Travis Hafner finds a way to reverse his alarming slide into anonymity, their lineup could once again lack punch.
Detroit? The Tigers lost 88 games last season, and appear to be a team on a continued downward spiral, barring a major and sudden infusion of talent. Brandon Inge catching? Nice idea, but something of a downgrade from the incumbent.
The answer to the puzzle that is the AL Central just might be the Twins. Liriano was starting to look electric again as '08 came to a close, and the Twins lineup, Morneau and co, are possibly the most solid lineup in the Central. Bullpen? Joe Nathan. Game over. Twins to take the Central, possibly without much opposition.
- Naked prediction one: The AL West
- Naked prediction two: The AL Central