Dugout Central’s 2012 American League Central Preview

by JohnBowen

By Cameron Nelson

Well, it’s another season gone by and now it’s another season where I try to predict the fate of the American League Central. Last year I proved that things can look good on paper, but things can always implode for no real reason. I predicted Chicago and Minnesota to finish first and second and, all told, both had pretty terrible seasons. I expected Detroit to be the middle of the road and they ran away with the division, producing the league MVP, and Cleveland almost stumbled their way to a .500 record. I don’t really know how any of this happened, as the only thing I came closest to predicting right was the Royals being terrible. While we weren’t the worst in the league, we were top 5. Considering that, I’m calling it a moderate success. Last year, I thought the American League Central was gonna be a pretty close race and be an exciting division to watch. Well, I can’t really say the same this time. There’s some terrible teams here, some guys who could sniff .500, but mainly it’s gonna be a one-Tiger show in the Central. But, in fairness, let’s take a look at how the division breaks down and what I think is gonna be the ALC this year.

Chicago White Sox

The Offseason: Last year, Chicago decided to go all-in, trying to shore up its bullpen and adding marquee slugger Adam Dunn in an attempt to take the division by storm. This offseason was almost a complete 180, selling off everything they could there. The biggest hit the team will feel most likely is losing Carlos Quentin. While this guy was an absolute butcher in the field, he was still one of their prime power threats and a guy who can make pitchers nervous. Now he’s a Padre and Chicago didn’t get a hell of a lot for him. Mark Buerhle’s gone too. While he didn’t give them great numbers, he’s a guy who helped save the bullpen’s innings. One of their core hitters is gone and so is their biggest workhorse. On top of that, their manager is gone. While I had my criticisms of Ozzie Guillen, the guy was also one of the few guys who can light a fire under just about anyone’s ass and get them going. He’s gonna have a hell of a time in Miami this year, but I think this team’s gonna struggle to find an identity under new manager Robin Ventura, who hasn’t managed a team before. This team pretty much got neutered in the offseason and the only real bright side is that John Danks got a pretty reasonable extension. One of my buddies in Chicago has a conspiracy theory that Jerry Reinsdorf imploded the White Sox to pay for Derrick Rose’s seven year contract extension with the Bulls. …I tend to agree with him because that’s the only rationale I can find in what the hell happened to a team that looked to be one of the best in the league suddenly imploding and then pissing on its own ashes.

What to Watch For: This team’s pretty much all about praying for comebacks. The only steady performers really are Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko. Adam Dunn had a bafflingly bad season last year and I think he’ll find a way to rebound from that but damn. Dayan Viciedo’s had a good run in the minors and he’s getting a good chance at finding an everyday job with them now, Chris Sale is settling in nicely, so there’s some youth on the team to watch. Alex Rios is always one to watch as he CAN be one of the best center fielders in the league if he tries… Or is in Canada, I forget which. The thing is, don’t get your hopes up. Watch the White Sox for stuff to improve on, not to watch a winning team.

What to Dread: Looking anything like last year’s White Sox. The young anchors of the rotation of Floyd and Danks had slow starts and they’ll probably start slow again this year. Quentin’s gone, so there’s an even bigger spotlight on Adam Dunn to perform and if he rides his cold streak, he could find himself traded somewhere else by the deadline. Gordon Beckham is still playing, so there’s the constant reminder that one of the promising rookies of the game will still be a bust, and I think Juan Pierre is still in the Chicago lineup. Why? I don’t know.

My Prediction: Much as I’m bashing this team, I’m calling them fourth in the league. This season, I see one team worse, but with a much bright future.

Cleveland Indians
The Offseason: I don’t think the Indians actually did much. The major transaction for Cleveland was the acquisition of veteran innings-eater Derek Lowe. I like this move, as they get a guy to help mentor that rotation full of incredibly young arms. Well, young arms and Fausto Carmona. Yet another latin birth certificate scandal. At this point, it’s almost become mundane in baseball. The real additions to this team are coming from call-ups like Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis. They’re giving a long-struggling lineup some youth and pop, good to see. I could’ve said the same for the rotation, but Alex White and Drew Pomeranz are Rockies… Oh that’s right, Ubaldo Jiminez is an Indian. I kinda forgot since that was technically a midseason acquisition, but if we’re talking about Cleveland’s changes, you gotta really start and end with Cleveland having a certifiable ace in the rotation for the first time in three seasons.

What to Watch For: These guys came in close to .500 last year, so really the big thing is seeing if they can turn out a winning season. With people like Chisenhall and Kipnis finally making their names heard in Cleveland and that rotation fronted by guys like Jiminez and Masterson, there’s things to like about this team. Grady Sizemore’s also on a one last chance signing, so fingers crossed, Tribe Fans. Lastly, there’s Shin Soo-Choo. He can be a good player when healthy, but who knows if we’ll get the good Choo or the bad Choo here. While I don’t see this becoming the 90s all over again, there’s stuff to like here.

What to Dread: A regression. That rotation, while it can be good, is largely green and riding one good season collectively for its reputation. That lineup also has perpetual underachievers like Travis Hafner and Matt LaPorta in it. There’s also an asterisk to that rotation in Ubaldo Jiminez. While he has good stuff and is an ace, he also has a bad habit of getting shelled on a regular basis when he’s off. He’s a hit-or-whiff guy with seemingly no middle ground. While Progressive Field should mitigate that as opposed to being in Coors, he can end up not quite being what Cleveland wants him to be. Still, there’s not a lot to me that screams imminent danger here, just another 80 – 82 season.

My Prediction: If I’m to place a number on their season, I’ll say 80 – 82 again, but it’s a coin flip for which side of .500 they’re on. They won’t be 2 wins or losses past .500 though. This team is a middle of the road team, but in a weak AL Central, that’s still good for second in the division.

Detroit Tigers
The Offseason: This is the team I was gonna end up talking about, you all knew it. This team is fielding a 3-4 of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. In a division with plentiful amounts of weak pitchers, this is gonna be ridiculous to watch. I actually wanna make an interesting note. Miguel Cabrera’s slimmed down a bit and Detroit now wants him to move back to third base. Then again, the depth chart also lists Delmon Young as the DH and the left fielder, so nothing is set in stone. This will easily be one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but with that pitching and that offense in this division, it really doesn’t matter.

What to Watch: The home run totals? Honestly, this team is gonna run away with the division. The lineup is stacked top-to-bottom and when you can lose Victor Martinez and essentially not care about it, that’s something special. The bullpen is anchored by a trio of Valverde, Benoit, and Dotel, with strikeout machine Al Alburquerque behind them and a rotation so thick that Jacob Turner and Andrew Oliver are fighting for the fifth spot and could possibly both team up to force Rick Porcello into long relief. Any way you look at this team, it all adds up to being one of the most dominant in the league.

What to Dread: Uh… A plane crashing into Comerica Park and killing the team? Honestly, I got nothing. The only thing I can say is try not to pay attention to how god-awful the defense on this team is gonna be.

My Prediction: First in the division by no less than fifteen games, easily within 20, possibly the only team I can say is a lock for 100 wins without any caveats.

Kansas City Royals

The Offseason: The only real outside addition I can think off the top of my head is Jonathon Broxton. Other than that, this team is pretty much home-grown and something to like. The lineup consists of four sophomores in Hosmer, Moustakas, Giavotella, and Perez, and anchored by long-time Royals Gordon and Butler. Defensively, the outfield is set in the corners at least and the infield all around is pretty solid, along with a good bullpen to set things up. The team’s still looking on its big wave of pitchers to come up through the pipeline, but for once, Royals fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What to Watch For: Right now, we can see what our guys look like in a full season. Eric Hosmer absolutely crushed the ball in the time he had and Salvador Perez and Johnny Giavotella are performing better than anticipated. Moose is a bit slow, but a guy his size is supposed to be. Butler’s gonna be Butler and now we have Gordon finally living up to expectations. On top of that, the bullpen is no longer a concern. Soria was spotty last year and Broxton has had a bad stretch in LA, but Crow and Collins are more than capable of cleaning that mess up. If we’re lucky, we’ll even see guys like Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi in Kansas City before too long.

What to Dread: The rotation. Luke Hochevar is once again our “ace”, followed by Bruce Chen. The rest of the rotation is Jonathon Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy. All these guys have more than enough heat to produce Ks but all can easily get shelled. I gotta tell you, this rotation scares the crap out of me and barring a rookie callup, I don’t see an ERA under 4.50 in the bunch. Go to the bullpen early and often here.

My Prediction: I’m starting to see a little bit of hope for my boys in blue. I’m calling mid-to-high seventies in the win total and third in the division.

Minnesota Twins

The Offseason: This team added a couple guys like Willingham and Carroll to try and stem the bleeding, but they lost Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel and, subsequently, their two best power hitters since a ball to the head made Justin Morneau forget how to hit. This team is pretty much the team that imploded in a grand fashion last year. A rotation full of mediocre to bad pitchers, a one-trick-pony bullpen, and a lineup that is allergic to home runs.

What to Watch For: The bright side is there’s talent in the farm. Ben Revere’s already here and Aaron Hicks is on the way to make this team a defensive dynamo in the outfield. While not a big power crew, either, Mauer, Morneau, and Valencia are all guys who can still hit for good contact and if they try to small ball their way around, there’s hope for these guys down the line. As it is…

What to Dread: This team sucks. While Joe Mauer is still the best catcher in the league, there’s not really another thing to like here besides him. Look forward to the future with guys like Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson to get the Twins back to a team that will contend with home-grown talent much like we’ve seen from them, but there’s a bleak future in Minnesota.

My Prediction: Last in the division and a top five draft pick this year. When teams like Seattle, Houston, and Oakland populate the MLB, I can’t call them the worst team in the league, but they have to be up there.

That’s the division this year. It’s not exactly great and it’s gonna be a Detroit runaway, but there’s two teams with very bright futures here and Minnesota will get back in it before too long if you ask me. This season is an exception rather than the norm, seeing as we have a clear favorite. Watch the division for some interesting baseball and the future of baseball… And probably the MVP and Cy Young of the league in Cabrera and Verlander, but this isn’t a division to watch winning teams this year.

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63 Responses to “Dugout Central’s 2012 American League Central Preview”

  1. JohnBowen Says:

    Weird that the text is all different, but whatever.

    Good stuff, Cam.

    One thing my Brewers showed was how a team with a piss-poor defense can skate by during the regular season and win a lot of games, but that kind of flaw against the best competition in the game in the playoffs can really stand out and become a deciding factor.

    The Tigers may very well win 100 games this season, shelling the crap out of their opponents. They’ll give away some games in the field, but their staff and hitting will win big.

    Because they’ll be winning, they won’t change their crap-tacular system of playing 3 DH’s in the field while DHing Ryan Raburn. Why would they change if they’re winning games?

    Then the post-season will come along, and the Angels rotation, or something, will hold that offense relatively at bay; meanwhile, the difference maker will be a single that sneaks past a slow-footed Miggy Cabrera and into LF where Delmon Young will field it and make an errant throw resulting in the winning run.

  2. Cameron Says:

    Ryan Raburn is currently listed as the Detroit second baseman, John. Then again, Delmon Young is somehow doing double duty as DH and LF. However, since the #2 and #3 in the DH chart are on the field and the #2 in the LF chart isn’t, it looks like Delmon Young is DHing and Andy Dirks is playing left.

    Of course, arrangements are subject to change.

  3. JohnBowen Says:

    I thought Brandon Inge was currently slotted to play 2B, having played zero career games there.

    I mean, he’s an extremely athletic defender, so it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if he can make the transition.

    He also hit .197 last year, and has had basically one passable half season with the bat in the last 5.

    Delmon Young has had just one career season where he was above replacement. I didn’t get the trade for him, but if there was an MVP of the ALDS, it pretty clearly would’ve gone to him…so whatever.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Nicely done, Cam.

  5. Cameron Says:

    Just saw an ad for the All-Star Game where the feature player was Mike Moustakas. Guess I forgot to mention that one of the division teams (more importantly, MY team) gets the ASG this year. Pretty cool to see Moose getting ad space for a game that big.

  6. Mike Felber Says:

    Good job Cam the Man!

  7. Raul Says:

    You must think Cleveland and Minnesota will be really bad if you think a Royals team with a 4.50 Starting Pitcher ERA will place 3rd in the division.

    I think they can finish 3rd, but the pitching will have to be better.
    One way they can pitch better is if the offense helps them out. Contrary to what some morons think, the score can affect pitch selection/location.

  8. Cameron Says:

    It’s a trick I use on myself, Raul. set the bar astronomically low to surprise yourself. Plus, I think Cleveland’s gonna be second, and that Minnesota rotation is only a shade better than ours.

  9. Raul Says:


    2011 Luke Hochevar:

    1st inning – .211 BAA
    2nd inning – .143 BAA
    3rd inning – .235 BAA
    4th inning – .310 BAA
    5th inning – .239 BAA
    6th inning – .295 BAA
    7th inning – .328 BAA

    I didn’t bother posting the ERA per inning. This is interesting to me. It’s not like batters completely crush Hochevar early in the game. I saw this guy pitch a few times last year. He doesn’t have bad stuff. I’m not saying the guy should be an Ace, but if he can just get through that bad innning in the future, I don’t see why he can’t give the Royals 5.2 – 6.1 innings of solid pitching. He could easily be a 3.60-3.70 ERA guy…and probably give the Royals 15 wins.

    Easier said than done, I know.

  10. Cameron Says:

    These numbers actually back me up pretty well. Biggest complaint I have is he can’t pitch past the fifth inning. Well, look where he falls off.

  11. Cameron Says:

    Just a heads-up guys, I’m gonna be less active this weekend. I’m moving to Ohio this weekend and I’m trying to get to find a way to get my computer shipped, but it may take a few days.

  12. Raul Says:

    Not sure what the reason is, Cam…but um…congrats?

  13. Cameron Says:

    Stepdad tried kicking me out again and I finally got someone to take me in.

  14. Raul Says:

    I think this is silly of the Mariners to talk about where Ichiro bats in the lineup.

    Frankly, if it were up to me, I would never even address it.

    Manager makes the lineup. You bat where you’re told to bat. End of discussion.

  15. John Says:

    Sounds a lot like a closer in the making.

    Batters see him once and don’t get fooled again, it would seem.

    Problem is, he’s been in the league 4 years and this trend hasn’t exactly been changing.

  16. Cameron Says:

    Closer in the making, John. Except Soria, Broxton, Crow, and Collins aren’t gonna be making room for him. Guy’s middle relief.

  17. John Says:

    @14, I thought it was a little weird that the person being suggested to replace Ichiro at the top of the order was Chone Figgins.

    .181/.241/.243 for a 39 OPS+…not exactly who I want getting more at-bats than anyone else.

    Someone suggested that maybe they were putting Ichiro there to take the pressure off Smoak and Ackley until they feel comfortable higher up in the order.

    I dunno about that. They’re professionals, it shouldn’t be an issue.

  18. Raul Says:

    Ackley could bat 3rd right now.

  19. Cameron Says:

    Jim Abbot could bat third for the Mariners.

  20. John Says:

    @18, exactly, and I think he should.

    Frankly, it would surprise me if a guy with his level of early professional success would really freak out if penciled into the #3 hole.

    I mean, this is one of the worst lineups in baseball history, not the Bronx Bombers.

  21. Raul Says:

    Jim Abbot pitched a no-hitter.
    You shut your goddamn mouth.

  22. John Says:

    Last year, Chone Figgins almost managed to double Jim Abbot’s career batting average.


    Abbot should’ve won the 1991 Cy Young just on principle.

  23. Cameron Says:

    Wait, Jim Abbot actually went to the plate? …How?

  24. John Says:

    Abbot played for the 1999 Milwaukee Brewers.

    I remember one of the hits and just being in total awe that a man with one hand could do that at the big leagues.

    Unfortunately, he was horrendous on the mound that year, and only made it 82 IP before calling it quits.

    Jim Abbot’s .095 batting average is higher than Ben Sheets’.

  25. Cameron Says:

    Speaking of Ben Sheets, the fuck happened to him? He never officially retired, but he’s not on a team. He still hurt from what made him end 2010?

  26. Chuck Says:

    There’s no excuse for Ichiro batting third.

    He couldn’t bat third for the ‘62 Mets.

    Seriously, I have no idea whose idea that was, but, Jesus Christ, if there’s ever a reason not to talk to the media after a bender, this is it.

    Come May first, one of two things will happen, guaranteed.

    Ichiro will be back in the leadoff spot, or

    Eric Wedge will be unemployed.

    It really is that simple.

  27. Cameron Says:

    I dunno Chuck. He may be the best guy to be in the leadoff position, but he’s also the only guy who can hit well enough to move guys over. And by that, I mean, at all.

  28. Chuck Says:

    Um, no.

    Seriously, look at their roster.

    Ichiro couldn’t hit third for the Bad News Bears.

    Easily the worst personnel decision ever.

    Even John would recognize that, and he could stand naked in front of a mirror and not find his dick.

    It’s THAT obvious.

  29. Cameron Says:

    Come on, the only guys to crack .240 besides Ichiro were Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan. Not saying that Ichiro’s the perfect three hitter for these guys, but he’s the only one putting the damn thing in play. They want someone else to hit third, let them earn it, don’t just hand it to them.

  30. Raul Says:

    In a few years, Dustin Ackley will be one of the best-hitting 2nd basemen in the league.

  31. Cameron Says:

    Yes Raul, but I don’t trust sophomores to get close to what they did these days. I think he can hit third, but I think it’s best to let him earn it. That’s what KC did with Hosmer, who is our #3 guy now.

  32. Raul Says:

    Is Mike Moustakas really ready for the bigs?

    Not sure he’s got the plate discipline yet. Maybe it’s pitch recognition??
    No doubt the kid’s got power.

  33. Cameron Says:

    I think it’s just recognition. He’s really got nothing left to prove in Omaha, it’s make-or-break time for Moose.

  34. Chuck Says:


    Ichiro is 5′9″, 170 pounds.

    You really want him hitting third?

    What do you think hitting third entails?

    Do you think the Mariners are a better team with him third as opposed to first?

    Holy shit, man.

    Ichiro hitting third is dumber than Tim Raines in the HOF.


  35. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, I don’t think he’s a #3 hitter, I don’t think he should stay a #3 hitter. However, the job of the #3 hitter is to put the ball in play and move guys across the plate. He’s the only guy with a track record of being able to hit there. Smoak has the potential to do it, Ackley has the potential to do it, but they haven’t. Let him be there and let them earn their spots. You said do it by May, yeah, I think they can do it by then.

    Then again, he’s not gonna be able to do much on that team either way. Batting leadoff, no one can drive him in, and batting third, no one can drive him in. Lose-lose here.

  36. Raul Says:

    Smoak isn’t a 3-hitter.
    And he never will be. Likely a 5 or 6 slot…

    I mean, who knows though. He’s a big kid with a lot of potential but he’s been inconsistent, traded, and had personal issues in the past year.

    He might be one of those late-bloomers.

  37. Cameron Says:

    He used to profile as a 3-4 guy with a gold glove. In Seattle, he still can be a 4 hitter, but anyone can. Just need to give him time. Hope he doesn’t mind being on a losing team for a while.

  38. Cameron Says:

    Baseball America’s 100 Top Prospects are in.

    1 – Bryce Harper, OF (Nationals)
    2 – Matt Moore, LHP (Rays)
    3 – Mike Trout, OF (Angels)
    4 – Yu Darvish, RHP (Rangers)
    5 – Julio Teheran, RHP (Braves)
    6 – Jesus Montero, C (Mariners)
    7 – Jurickson Profar, SS (Rangers)
    8 – Shelby Miller, RHP (Cardinals)
    9 – Trevor Bauer, RHP (Diamondbacks)
    10 – Dylan Bundy, RHP (Orioles)
    11 – Manny Machado, SS (Orioles)
    12 – Gerrit Cole, RHP (Pirates)
    13 – Tyler Skaggs, LHP (Diamondbacks)
    14 – Yoenis Cespedes, OF (Athletics)
    15 – Jameson Taillon, RHP (Pirates)
    16 – Devin Mesoraco, C (Reds)
    17 – Travis D’Arnaud, C (Blue Jays)
    18 – Miguel Sano, 3B/SS (Twins)
    19 – Anthony Rendon, 3B (Nationals)
    20 – Taijuan Walker, RHP (Mariners)
    21 – Danny Hultzen, LHP (Mariners)
    22 – Jacob Turner, RHP (Tigers)
    23 – Mike Montgomery, LHP (Royals)
    24 – Bubba Starling, OF (Royals)
    25 – Archie Bradley, RHP (Diamondbacks)
    26 – Jarrod Parker, RHP (Athletics)
    27 – Carlos Martinez, RHP (Cardinals)
    28 – Wil MYers, OF (Royals)
    29 – Manny Banuelos, LHP (Yankees)
    30 – Drew Pomeranz, LHP (Rockies)
    31 – Martin Perez, LHP (Rangers)
    32 – Brett Jackson, OF (Cubs)
    33 – Yonder Alonso, OF/1B (Padres)
    34 – Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF (Astros)
    35 – Zack Wheeler, RHP (Mets)
    36 – Brad Peacock, RHP (Athletics)
    37 – Francisco Lindor, SS (Indians)
    38 – Gary Brown, OF (Giants)
    39 – Anthony Gose, OF (Blue Jays)
    40 – Arodys Vizciano, RHP (Braves)
    41 – Christian Yelich, OF (Marlins)
    42 – Nolan Arenado, 3B (Rockies)
    43 – Mike Olt, 3B (Rangers)
    44 – Hak-Ju Lee, SS (Rays)
    45 – Nick Castellanos, 3B (Tigers)
    46 – Randall Delgado, RHP (Braves)
    47 – Anthony Rizzo, 1B (Cubs)
    48 – Billy Hamilton, SS (Reds)
    49 – Rymer Liriano, OF (Padres)
    50 – Jarred Cosart, RHP (Astros)
    51 – Wil Middlebrooks, 3B (Red Sox)
    52 – James Paxton, LHP (Mariners)
    53 – Yasmani Grandal, C (PAdres)
    54 – Matt Harvey, RHP (Mets)
    55 – Jean Segura, SS (Angels)
    56 – Wily Peralta, RHP (Brewers)
    57 – AJ Cole, RHP (Athletics)
    58 – Xander Bogaerts, SS (Red Sox)
    59 – George Springer, OF (Astros)
    60 – Josh Bell, OF (Pirates)
    61 – Javier Baez, SS (Cubs)
    62 – Zach Lee, RHP (Dodgers)
    63 – Dellin Betances, RHP (Yankees)
    64 – Matt Scurzur, OF (Cubs)
    65 – Sonny Gray, RHP (Athletics)
    66 – Addison Reed, RHP (White Sox)
    67 – Jake Marisnick, OF (Blue Jays)
    68 – Jake Odorizzi, RHP (Royals)
    69 – Trevor May, RHP (Phillies)
    70 – Taylor Jungmann, RHP (Brewers)
    71 – Jed Bradley, LHP (Brewers)
    72 – Blake Swihart, C (Red Sox)
    73 – Satrling Marte, OF (Pirates)
    74 – Oscar Taveras, OF (Cardinals)
    75 – Zack Cozart, SS (Reds)
    76 – Casey Kelly, RHP (Padres)
    77 – Nick Franklin, SS/2B (Mariners)
    78 – Cory Spangenberg, 2B (Padres)
    79 – Leonys Martin, OF (Rangers)
    80 – Michael Choice, OF (Athletics)
    81 – Gary Sanchez, C (Yankees)
    82 – Jonathan Schoop, INF (Orioles)
    83 – Garrett Richards, RHP (Angels)
    84 – Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B (Royals)
    85 – Mason WIlliams, OF (Yankees)
    86 – Chad Bettis, RHP (Rockies)
    87 – Willin Rosario, C (Rockies)
    88 – Zack Cox, 3B (Cardinals)
    89 – Chris Archer, RHP (Rays)
    90 – Taylor Guerrieri, RHP (Rays)
    91 – Daniel Norris, LHP (Blue Jays)
    92 – Andrelton Simmons, SS (Braves)
    93 – Kolten Wong, 2B (Cardinals)
    94 – Tyrell Kenkins, RHP (Cardinals)
    95 – Allen Webster, RHP (Dodgers)
    96 – Nate Eovaldi, RHP (Dodgers)
    97 – Matt Davidson, 3B/1B (Diamondbacks)
    98 – Jedd Gyorko, 3B (Padres)
    99 – Joe Benson, OF (Twins)
    100 – Christian Villanueva, 3B (Rangers)

  39. Raul Says:

    Interesting to compare with Keith Law’s list.

    Law had Teheran 18th. BA has him 5th.
    Law has 150-lb OFer Mason Williams 34th. BA has him 85th.
    Law has Mike Montgomery 52nd. BA has him 23rd.

  40. Raul Says:

    Oh great.
    Bobby Abreu is demanding a trade. A guy who is 3 weeks away from being 38 years old.

    Abreu was a valuable offensive force once. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guy play RF in Yankee Stadium worse than Bobby Abreu. He was awful. The damn guy never knew where the wall was.

  41. Bob Says:

    1. Yadier Molina will not talk contract extension with the Cards after spring training.
    2. The Red Sox placed John Lackey on the 60-day dl in order to protect Rich Hill.

  42. Bob Says:

    Cameron, where in Ohio? If you are near Toledo, you can watch the Mud Hens play.

  43. Cameron Says:

    It’s a town called Niles, about a half-hour north of Youngstown. Place is practically in Pennsylvania.

  44. Raul Says:

    I told people that John Lackey deal was stupid.
    At least Theo got out of that mess he created.

  45. Chuck Says:

    Maybe the Brewers will take Abreu..he walks alot.

  46. Raul Says:

    I googled Niles, Ohio.

    Pretty much any place in Ohio is going to be a dump with little diversity, so no-go for me. That said, it was the home of the inventor of the hotdog. And also, some shitty President. But the hotdog is what’s important.

  47. Cameron Says:

    Doubt it, Chuck. No DH, can’t play center, and he won’t knock Braun or Hart out of their jobs.

  48. Bob Says:

    That reminds me. Selig finally settled the Sox-Cubs deal. Now decide on Braun.

  49. Chuck Says:

    We were supposed to be at the ballpark on Saturday at 6am. We got an email yesterday changing it to noon.

    Saturday is reporting day..I guess the Brewers are expecting a media circus when Braun reports and want to keep things as calm as possible.

  50. Chuck Says:

    Darvish reported yesterday, the Rangers closed off access to the fields and the players parking lot, I guess there were a couple dozen Japanese media hanging around trying to shoot pictures through a chain link fence.


  51. Raul Says:

    I’m curious to see how Darvish performs.
    Lots of Japanese players have come to the Majors but few have lived up (for the most part) to the hype.

    I suppose Ichiro has. Hideo Nomo did. Matsui did, although he wasn’t exactly the home run hitter he was reported to be.

  52. Jim Says:

    …couple dozen Japanese media hanging…

    Flavor of the day. Dice K had two, which is still amazing since he’s sucked for 2 years and had surgery.

  53. Raul Says:

    Happy 29th birthday, Casey Kotchman! Kotchman was the 13th overall selection of the 2001 MLB Draft that saw Joe Mauer, Mark Prior, Dewon Brazelton, Gavin Floyd and Mark Teixeira go in the 1st five picks. One of the better defenders at the 1B position, Kotchman had a fine season for the Rays in 2011 hitting .306/.378/.422 in 146 games. Oddly, baseball-reference.com gave Kotchman a negative rating last year in Defensive WAR. Kotchman is now with the Indians.

    Happy 30th birthday, Kelly Johnson! Johnson is kind of a strange player. Good one year, awful the next. His biggest success came in 2010 with the Diamondbacks when he hit .284/.370/.496 with 26 homers. That year, he also hit for the cycle. Johnson is in Toronto after being traded for Aaron Hill and John McDonald. In December, he accepted arbitration.

    Happy 35th birthday, JJ Putz. Putz came up with the Mariners and was moved to the Mets in yesterday’s mention of the Franklin Gutierrez trade. After a rough time in New York, he rebounded nicely the last two years with the White Sox and Diamondbacks.

    Happy 44th birthday, Kazuhiro Sasaki! Sasaki would pitch just 4 seasons in the Majors after coming from Japan at the age of 32 but he did win the 2000 Rookie of the Year as a closer for the Seattle Mariners. Depending on how you feel about Japanese players being eligible (much less closers), that year’s award might have belonged to Oakland’s Terrence Long or Kansas City’s Mark Quinn.

    Happy 49th birthday, Don Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu would play just 18 Major League games in his 1-season career but would later become manager of the Seattle Mariners. Unfortunately, the Mariners were a mess and Wakamatsu wasn’t given a long leash to reap the benefits of the team’s upcoming talent. Wakamatsu was a high school teammate of NFL Coach Jack Del Rio and a college teammate of Barry Bonds. He was the first Asian-American Manager in MLB history.

    Happy 40th birthday, John Halama! The Brooklyn native was drafted by the 23rd round in 1994 by the Houston Astros. Despite being such a late pick, Halama would pitch quite effectively in the Minors for Houston and was one of the pieces sent to Seattle for Randy Johnson. Unfortunately, the Majors would not be as forgiving for Halama as he posted a career 4.65 ERA over 9 seasons. To date, Halama is still pitching in the minors having spent 2011 with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Independent League.

    Also born today:

    Sparky Anderson
    Steve Barber

  54. Chuck Says:

    “Oddly, baseball-reference.com gave Kotchman a negative rating last year in Defensive WAR.”


  55. Chuck Says:

    Anyone else catch the fact BA was the only ranking source to list Darvish and Cespedes on its list?

  56. Raul Says:

    I did notice that.

    Maybe they’ve seen those players more than others?
    Or maybe they were just trying to stir conversation.

  57. Cameron Says:

    BA’s list also came out last. I think they’re the only list published after Cespedes’ signing. Plus, I don’t know if they’re calling a 25 year old with as much experience as Darvish has a prospect.

  58. Bob Says:

    BA does not care about pro vs amatuer status if the pro status was overseas. Only how much time players have accrued at the mlb level. And I have no issues with Darvish being mentioned. we have written about him herefor at least 2 years, and he did nothing to diminish his status.
    Have no clue about Cespedes, other than a YouTube workout.

  59. Bob Says:

    1. The Yankees signed David Aardsma.
    2. Edgar Renteria is leaning towards retirement.

  60. Chuck Says:

    #56..I would answer “yes” to both questions.

  61. Raul Says:

    Aardsma appears to be coming of injury.
    Renteria, if this is the end, has had a fine career.

    16 years
    2,327 Hits
    5-time All Star
    2-time World Series Champion
    2010 World Series MVP (and had the Series-winning hit in 1997 & 2010)
    2 Gold Gloves

    It seems like Renteria has been around forever. Well, he’s only 35. But he broke into the league at 19.

  62. Chuck Says:

    Although seeing the players, or having sources who do, makes for less conversation, unlike the guys like Law or Sickels, who just write shit for the sake of writing it, comfortable in the fact people will continue to spend their $6.95 a month no matter what they say.

  63. John Says:

    Renteria’s got to be older than he claims, just based on his career arc.

    At least, I would imagine.

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