Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Cleveland
Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:15 pm
 

AL Central Preview

I have had a hard time keeping up with this blog the past year or so, but that does not mean i haven't kept up with baseball. I have vigoursly been working on my 2012 MLB Prediction and now that they have been completed I will start releasing them division by division in order of weakest to strongest division. So lets start with the division i think to be the weakest; the American League Central.

The AL Central has one dominant team that none of the other teams really come close to in the Detroit Tigers. The Indians are on the rise but i dont see them improving drastically over their 2011 season and the Royals don't have the pitching yet. Its also strange looking at these divison rankings as the two teams that used to be the class of the division are now securly in the bottom 2 slots. Here is a look at my rankings followed by each teams current depth chart and breif analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.

1. DETROIT TIGERS

C- Alex Avila
1B- Miguel Cabrera
2B- Ramon Santiago
SS- Jhonny Peralta
3B- Brandon Inge/Don Kelly
LF- Ryan Raburn
CF- Austin Jackson
RF- Brennan Boesch
DH- Delmon Young

Pitching-

1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner/Andy Oliver

CL- Jose Valverde
SU- Joaquin Benoit
SU- Octavio Dotel

They have the strongest offense and rotation in the division although this is a relatively weak offensive division. The loss of Victor Martinez to injury is going to hurt, but they may be able to find a "servicable" replacement pretty cheap on the free agent market. The Rotation is solid across the board and they have a legitimate Ace but are they willing to role with Turner as their 5th starter or will they add another arm? All in all this is a solid playoff team although i dont think they are a world series contender.

2. CLEVELAND INDIANS

C- Lou Marson/Carlos Santana
1B- Carlos Santana/Matt LaPorta
2B- Jason Kipnis
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera
3B- Jack Hannahan/Lonnie Chisenhall
LF- Michael Brantley
CF- Grady Sizemore
RF- Shin-Soo Choo
DH- Travis Hafner

Pitching-
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Fausta Carmona?
3. Justin Masterson
4. Josh Tomlin
5. Derek Lowe

CL- Chris Perez
SU- Rafael Perez
SU- Tony Sipp

This is definitely a team on the rise. There are some intriguing rising stars in Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson that will keep this team in the playoff hunt. While there offense is close to the Tigers now with the loss of Victor Martinez, their starting rotation is a notch or two below that of the Tigers, Ubaldo is unpredictable and Fausta Carmona's status (and name) are in question. This is a team that if everything goes right for them could be in a tight race with the Tigers but in all likelyhood are just a .500 team.

3. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

C- Salvador Perez
1B- Eric Hosmer
2B- Johnny Giavotella
SS- Alcides Escobar
3B- Mike Moustakas
LF- Alex Gordon
CF- Lorenzo Cain
RF- Jeff Francoeur
DH- Billy Butler

Pitching-
1. Luke Hochevar
2. Bruce Chen
3. Jonathan Sanchez
4. Felipe Paulino
5. Danny Duffy

CL- Joakim Soria
SU- Jonathan Broxton
SU- Aaron Crow

We have been talking about the Royals farm system for several years now and the those prized prospects are finally starting to emerge. While the pitching prospects struggled last year, the offensive ones have begun to take their spots on the roster. The entire infield is made up of top prospects that all have all-star potential with the exeption of Alcides Escobar (although a gold glove may not be out of the question). As it was this was a very good offense in 2011, and I expect it to continue to improve in 2012 but the pitching staff is where this roster needs improvement. The addition of Sanchez provides depth but they still lack top of the rotation arms. With this pitching staff i doubt they can do better than sub .500 but if some of their prized arms come up and contribute they could be a .500 team. I still think this team is about 2 years away from true contention.

4. MINNESOTA Twins

C- Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit
1B- Justin Morneau/Ryan Doumit
2B- Alexi Casilla
SS- Jamey Carroll
3B- Danny Valencia
LF- Ben Revere
CF- Denard Span
RF- Josh Willingham
DH- Trevor Plouffe

Pitching-
1. Carl Pavano
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Scott Baker
4. Nick Blackburn
5. Brian Duensing/Jason Marquis

CL- Matt Capps
SU- Glen Perkins
SU- Alex Burnett

Once the class of the division the Twins now are struggling to get to .500. This is what happens when your top stars become injury prone and you have a poor supporting cast around them. The offense is weak unless Morneau and Mauer can return to MVP form and the pitching staff is mediocre to bad. They lack a top of the rotation starter and the bullpen is a mess as well. I dont think they will finish any lower than fourth but i dont think there is a lot of potential to finish better than that either.

5. CHICAGO White Sox

C- A.J. Pierzynski
1B- Paul Konerko
2B- Gordon Beckham
SS- Alexei Ramirez
3B- Brent Morel
LF- Alejandro De Aza
CF- Alex Rios
RF- Dayan Viciedo
DH- Adam Dunn

Pitching-
1. John Danks
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Phil Humber
4. Chris Sale
5. Jake Peavy

CL- Matt Thorton
SU- Jesse Crain
SU- Will Ohman

Another team that once dominated the division but has fallen on hard times. Unlike the Twins I think there is more room for improvement as the roster is younger and has more upside. That being said they have to prove it first, thats why have put them this low. It's not the roster that has changed but they have changed to a very inexperienced manager which could lead to some issues. The pitching staff is actually decent but the offense is what needs work. 5th place is a starting point for the White Sox but I could see them finishing ahead of the Twins and ahead of the Royals would be a best case scenario.


So there is my 2012 AL Central preview, look out for my next preview later this week.



Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:38 pm
 

Where We Stand (June 1st MLB Update)

It's been a while since i have written on cbssports. After an attempt to start an independent blog with a buddy of mine that included weekly podcasts, fell apart after a few months, i thought i would return to my roots. Cbssports has been my home for some time so i am making a comeback on here. So lets dive into what i love most in life, baseball!

 There have been many surprises already this season, but this is not uncommon. We can never truly predict what is going to happen but i can safely assume that even with the assumption that surprising things happen, none of us could have guessed the Indians hot start. Now the jury is still out on wether or not they can maintain this hot start but lets take a deeper look at this Indians team. Offensivley they had a couple of weapons that we knew about, Shin-Soo Choo has been a perenial 20-20 threat, Carlos Santana was expected to become a stud catcher and Asdrubal Cabrera had been a solid Shortstop. But there were way too many questions to think that their offense could be effective, would Grady Sizemore be able to return from injury, would Matt LaPorta become the player they traded for and who else would emerge as an offensive force? Well Sizemore has returned from Injury and been a pretty good offensive force, but has still faced injuries. The other questions really have not been answered, LaPorta has shown some flashes of talent but im not sure he will ever become the player he was expected to be and the Indians have weakspots all over the diamond. Pitching wise they have been carried by Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin while they have suffered a dissapointing season from Fausta Carmona. The bullpen may be one of the strengths of this Cleveland team but across the board i still cant figure out how they are over .500 let alone boasting one of the best records in baseball. If they are still in the race at the deadline i would not be surprised to see them make some deals to stay in it.

The Indians are not the only headlines from this 2011 season, we have seen the Red Sox struggle mightly then make a complete turn around, the Cardinals somehow scrap together a division lead, Jose Bautista prove that he is not a one hit wonder and the Arizona Diamondbacks take a page out of the Indians book. This has been an exciting baseball season, and while my team (Chicago Cubs) have stunk it up thus far I have payed close attention because im not only a Cubs fan im a baseball fan as well. This is only a brief blog post because i dont have a lot of time tonight, but i will be writing a lot more on here now that i have given up on my other blog.

Chris "Da Franchize"

 
Posted on: August 22, 2010 8:58 pm
 

Best Teams AL Central

In case you missed my first post of this series, the idea of this series is to put together the best team of players of the modern era for each franchise. This week we take a look at the AL Central.

White Sox
1. Minnie Minoso-OF-        4.7 WAR  1.1 FLD
2. Nellie Fox-2B-              3.8 WAR  8.1 FLD
3. Magglio Ordonez-OF-   2.9 WAR  -1.8 FLD
4. Frank Thomas-DH-       4.6 WAR 
5. Paul Konerko-1B-         2.4 WAR  1.7 FLD
6. Harold Baines-OF-        2.2 WAR  -.3 FLD
7. Robin Ventura-3B-        4.2 WAR  11.1 FLD
8. Carlton Fisk-C-             2.6 WAR  .1 FLD
9. Luis Aparico-SS-           4.0 WAR  10.9 FLD

#1 Starter- Billy Pierce

Cleveland Indians
1. Kenny Lofton-OF-         4.5 WAR  10 FLD
2. Omar Vizquel-SS-         2.6 WAR  2.1 FLD
3. Manny Ramirez-OF-      4.0 WAR  -4.2 FLD
4. Jim Thome-1B-             4.0 WAR  -3.3 FLD
5. Larry Doby-OF-             5.3 WAR  4.3 FLD
6. Al Rosen-3B-                4.8 WAR  -.6 FLD
7. Victor Martinez-C-          3.2 WAR  -1.7 FLD
8. Travis Hafner-DH-          2.6 WAR
9. Bobby Avila-2B-             3.2 WAR  -1 FLD

#1 Starter- Bob Lemon

Detroit Tigers
1. Alan Trammel-SS-          3.7 WAR  4 FLD
2. Lou Whitaker-2B-           4.2 WAR  4.3 FLD
3. Al Kaline-OF-                  4.8 WAR  7.4 FLD
4. Norm Cash-1B-               4.3 WAR  2.6 FLD
5. Kirk Gibson-DH-              2.6 WAR
6. Bobby Higginson-OF-       1.9 WAR  -3.2 FLD
7. Travis Fryman-                3.4 WAR  3.8 FLD
8. Chet Lemon-OF-             3.6 WAR  7 FLD
9. Bill Freehan-C-                3.5 WAR  1.8 FLD

#1 Starter- Mickey Lolich

Kansas City Royals
1. Carlos Beltran-OF-           3.5 WAR  6.7 FLD
2. Amos Otis-OF-                3.4 WAR  -2.5 FLD
3. George Brett-3B-             4.6 WAR  2.4 FLD
4. Mike Sweeney-1B-           1.8 WAR  -.6 FLD
5. Hal McRae-DH-                2.3 WAR
6. Darrell Porter-C-              4.5 WAR  2.5 FLD
7. Willie Wilson-OF-             3.1 WAR  7.6 FLD
8. Frank White-2B-              2.0 WAR  6.7 FLD
9. Freddie Patek-SS-            2.5 WAR  1.7 FLD

#1 Starter- Bret Saberhagen

Minnesota Twins
1. Rod Carew-2B-                5.2 WAR  1 FLD
2. Kirby Puckett-OF-             4.1 WAR  -1.2 FLD
3. Joe Mauer-C-                  5.3 WAR  -.2 FLD
4. Harmon Killebrew-3B-       4.6 WAR  -4 FLD
5. Kent Hrbek-1B-                3.2 WAR  1.4 FLD
6. Tony Oliva-DH-                3.7 WAR  
7. Torii Hunter-OF-               2.5 WAR  3 FLD
8. Bob Allison-OF-                3.8 WAR  3.6 FLD
9. Greg Gagne-SS-               2.1 WAR  6.6 FLD

#1 Starter- Bert Blyleven


White Sox-  31.4 WAR  27.5 FLD
Indians-       34.2 WAR  6.6 FLD
Tigers-          32 WAR  27.2 FLD
Royals-         27.7 WAR  24.5 FLD
Twins-            34.5 WAR  14.5 FLD




This analysis took a little longer than the NL Central but thats partially due to the fact that i know a lot more about the NL Central(Im a Cubs Fan) than the AL Central. Although the Royals are my second favorite team mainly because of George Brett. Looking at the numbers this is a very close division. The Twins have the highest WAR just barely ahead of the indians. The Sox have the highest FLD barely ahead of the Tigers. But you have to remember that WAR includes fielding in its calculations so i would say the Twins are the best team. Followed by the Indians, Tigers, White Sox, and Royals. I dont think any of their number one starters really stand out against one another. I personally think Bret Saberhagen is the best of the bunch but they are all pretty equal to each other. Again please give me feedback so i can continually improve these posts. The next post will be the NL East but it may not get posted till next weekend.  
Posted on: January 23, 2010 11:27 pm
 

2010 MLB Preview-AL Central

I realize that the spring training hasnt even begun yet, and the rosters might still change but i really wanted to start on my 2010 baseball preview. Every year around the end of January i start working on my preview for the next year. So today i am releasing my AL Central preview. Really when you look at the division on paper it may be the weakest division in baseball, any one of these teams could make a run at the division (that dosnt meen that they are all good teams). But if you delve into the statistics its actually pretty easy to rank these teams.

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

The top 2 teams will slug it out for the division, but in the end i really think the Twins will pull it out again. They have the best hitters in the division, a solid/average pitching staff and a dynamite closer. The Tigers will me safely in the middle, not to close to the top or the bottom. And the Royals will be competing for last place again, although i think the Royals are a better team than last year and if they dont have as many injuries they could be competitve. Lets take a look at each team.

Minnesota Twins-

Aquired (Notable Players)- Clay Condrey, JJ Hardy
Departed- Boof Bonser, Carlos Gomez, Mike Redmond

The Twins havnt changed that much from last years team, the only major changes would be the aquisition of JJ Hardy for Carlos Gomez. The Twins strength right now would have to be the middle of their order which consists of #3 Joe Mauer. #4 Justin Morneau, #5 Jason Kubel, and #6 Michael Cuddyer. Mauer is clearly the best Catcher in the game right now, and is what i would consider a "Franchise Player". Justin Morneau is a great middle of the order hitter who will drive in 100+ each season. Kubel and Cuddyer are solid 20+ HR hitters and should drive in plenty. Hardy has been a good hitter but he has to rebound from a rough 2009 in which he lost his starting job to Alcides Escobar which spurred the Brewers to trade him. But if he can hit like he did before 2009 he could become a force in this lineup. Denard Span and Delmon Young are above average top of the order hitters who should score a lot of runs in front of their Mauer and Morneau. The only weak are in their hitting would be at 2nd and 3rd. The pitching staff is somewhat weak which is what will make the division competitive. Scott Baker is the only guy that i like in this staff, but he is being forced to be their #1 pitcher and he is more of a middle of the rotation guy. Liriano hasnt looked the same since 2006 and was awfull last year (5-13  5.80 ERA) and Slowey, Blackburn and Pavano round out a very average rotation. The bullpen on the other hand is pretty good anchored by one of the best closers in the game in Joe Nathan. John Rauch, Jesse Crain, and Matt Gurrier are some of the good arms that are in this pen. My overall opinion of this team is that they'll have to hit their way into the postseason. The Twins cannot rely on their pitching to win games for them, but with reigning MVP Joe Mauer they should be fine. If they can find some pitching they could become the class of this division.


Chicago White Sox-

Aquired- Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, JJ Putz, Omar Vizquel
Departed- Octavio Dotel, Josh Fields, Chris Getz, Scott Podsednik, Jermaine Dye?

The White Sox look significantly better than last year. Thier offense may be a step below the Twins but its still fairly potent. Juan Pierre is a great leadoff hitter and Gordon Beckham is developing into a great all around player and will hit 2nd. Quentein, Konerko and Rios make up the middle of the order. Quentin had some injuries, but Konerko had another good year, Rios struggled and was released by the Blue Jays and the White Sox got decent production ( He did put up good numbers in 07 and 08 so theres some room to be better). Teahen, AJ, and Aleixei round out the back of the order. Teahen has been a solid hitter in Kansas City for years and is extremly versatile (por mans Mark DeRosa), AJ Pierzynski is the heart and soul of this team other team hate him and Sox fans love him, and Aleixei has been called a Alfonso Soriano clone he has good power and speed but strikes out a lot. They dont have a clearly defined DH but Andruw Jones may get the job if he performs well. The Rotation has been the biggest improvement as they finally have a bonifide ace in Jake Peavy. He wanted to go to the north side and held out until he realized that the south side was his only winning option and he should be a great fit for a full season. Buehrle is another good veteran arm who compliments Peavy will, and Danks and Floyd are two good young arms. Freddy Garcia is going to try and make it a full season and be the fifth starter. The pen has been restructured a bit all though Bobby Jenks is still the closer. But Linebrink, Thorton and Putz make up a great set up corp for Jenks. If they White Sox can get more out of Teahen, Rios and Andruw Jones they might have a shot at the Twins. This is a solid team that has serious post season potential.



Detroit Tigers-

Aquired- Phil Coke, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Jose Valverde
Departed- Curtis Granderson, Aubrey Huff, Edwin Jackson, Brandon Lyon, Placido Polanco, Clay Rapada, Dusty Ryan

The Tigers have entered a rebuilding faze, but they should still be able to field a competitve team for 2010. Their offense really struggles last year and they probably will again with the exeption of Miguel Cabrera (as long as he isnt getting drunk in the dugout). They lost the explosive Curtis Granderson in CF and now have the top prospect Austin Jackson. It will be interesting to see how he plays this season, im guessing he leads off? They'll have another rookie starting at 2nd with Scott Sizemore, and will probably star Ryan Raburn at LF all season. The Tigers are going to have to rely on fading veterans Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen to help carry their offense. Deffensivly they should be okay. I do think the pitching staff improved with the trade of Edwin Jackson and the Aquisiton of Max Scherzer. Edwin Jackson was at his ceiling and some have said he is a clubhouse problem, Maz Scherzer on the other hand is a young strikeout pitcher who still has some potential. The biggest suprise last year was the emergence of Rick Porcello, he is only 20 or 21 and proved that he could go a full season. His strikeouts should continue to go up as he matures and should become a force. The backend of the rotation is rough with Bonderman and Galarraga (although Galarraga was good in 08 so maybe he can bounce back. The bullpen is decent led by a pretty good closer in Jose Valverde and Joel Zumaya when healthy. The Tigers probalbly wont compete this year but they should be ready in a year or two.

Kansas City Royals-

Aquired-Brian Anderson, Rick Ankiel, Noel Arquelles, Josh Fields, Chris Getz, Scott Podsednik, Jason Kendall
Departed- John Buck, Coco Crisp, Miguel Olivo, Mark Teahen, Josh Anderson

The Royals are no where near as good as the top 3 teams in the division but they do have some potetial. They have a very different offense from the start of last year. The outfield for instance, the only remaining starter from last year is David DeJesus who is a good fielder and a solid #2 hitter. The Royals added Scott Podsednik in left to be their leadoff hitter (although he does not hav the speed he once had.) and Rick Ankiel in RF (A pure power hitter who was once a pitcher). The infield is anchored by emerging first baseman Billy Butler and Alex Gordon (who has been a bust since being the best prospect in baseball). The rest of the offense will consist of Yuneisky Betancourt at SS, Chris Getz/Alberto Callaspo at 2b and the weak hitting Jason Kendall at C. Jose Guillen will DH and hopefully will not be injured. Some guys are going to have to step up if the Royals want to be competitive, my prediction is that Alex Gordon will finally break out this year and Billy Butler will continue to improve thus giving them the lift over the indians. The rotation i think will be fairly good. Zack Grienke is a stud and has a CY Young to prove it, if Gil Meche and Brian Bannister can stay healthy the Royals have a solid 1-2-3 punch. Kyle Davies is a marginal starter right now but the biggest breakout canidate on the Royals is Luke Hochevar. He should his talent when he threw that shutout last year, he makes me think a lot of Homer Bailey (top prospect that takes a while to develop). By the end of the season he should be set to have a good career. And the Bullpen is fairly mediocre outside of dominant closer Joakim Soria (The Mexicutioner). Farnsworth and Cruz are mediocre set up guys in the fact that they are strikeout/HR pitchers, either they baffle hitters or give up games. The Royals might be better than last year but dont be mistaken they have a bad GM (to put it nicely) and are a while away from the postseason.

Cleveland Indians-

Aquired- Brian Bixler, Mike Redmond, Mitch Talbot
Departed- Jamey Carroll, Zach Jackson, Masa Kobayashi, Kelly Shoppach

The Indians are also rebuilding, and they are rebuilding the right way unlike Kansas City. They traded their aces for good prospects which will make them competitve down the road. They still have a star in Grady Sizemore in CF although he could be delt this year but he is the face of the franchise. Travis Hafner has become very injury prone so the offensive load rests on Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-soo Chooand Matt LaPorta. Michael Brantly should provide some speed and Jhonny Peralta has some power but this year is not going to be great offensivly but they do have an awesome catching prospect on the way. The staff is a mess also, Masterson is the only guy i think we'll be consistently good this season. Carmona, Huff, Westbrook and Laffey all have their issues. They need to improve the staff. Kerry Wood was also a bust for the Indians last season, mainly to injuries and few save oppurtunties. I have always been a big Kerry Wood fan so i hope he can return to his 08 form. Chris Perez will step in if he cant and they do have a pretty good bullpen. Overall they could come in 4th if the Royals dont meet my expectations, but thats as high as they'll go. But this is most likely their low point and they should be on the rise from now on.
 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com