This division looks to be interesting this season. It looked like a three team race early on. But injuries have changed my thoughts on how it will turn out. Here is how I see it turning out.
The Tigers look to be the most complete team in the division. Their rotation looks to be solid with Justin Verlander leading the way. The bullpen also looks good with Jose Valverde closing the games. I really love the line up. It is a line up that can hurt opposing teams from top to bottom. The addition of Johnny Damon will be big for the team defensively and on the base path. I look for the Tigers to win the division with only one or two teams giving them a run.
2. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are the other team in this division that is appealing. The line up is solid and should produce runs on a consistent basis. But some players like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski are getting older. It remains to be seen if they can make it through the entire season. I like the rotation, but Jake Peavy is a question mark. The whole question is whether he can be the same pitcher he was before he got injured. If he is, then the White Sox can compete for the division. But that is still a big question for Chicago.
The Twins were my favorite to win the division a few weeks ago. But then Joe Nathan was injured for the entire season. This is a very scary situation for the Twins. They have a very good line up featuring bats like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. But without the rotation having an ace pitcher, the closer is very important so even if they get great run support a weak closer could doom the Twins. Also don’t forget this team will also be playing home games outside for the first time in franchise history. Nerves of performing well at a new ballpark, along with a shaky rotation and no closer spells doom for the Twins this year.
This is my surprise for the division. The Royals have Cy Young winner Zack Greinke leading the rotation. That is always a nice thing to have. But, they also have a young team that may start to turn the corner. Alex Gordon is one of the top young players in the game. Surrounding him are some other good young players and some veterans like Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel. I don’t think they will compete. But, I do expect the Royals to be much improved from last year.
The Indians are not a good looking team at all. The last few seasons have been spent, by the Indians, trading away all of their best players. They have some good young players like Matt LaPorta. But I don’t think they have a true RBI producer or home run hitter. I expect them to struggle scoring runs. They also don’t have a top of the line starting pitcher. They do have Kerry Wood as their closer. But he was not good at all last year. I expect Cleveland to have an ugly season.