I am continuing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my AL Central standings and a few positive and negative predictions for each time. In case you missed it, I revealed my AL East predictions already and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy.
Chicago White Sox:
I can say that Adam Dunn will bounce back but most of us believe he will and have him slated to receive the Comeback Player of the Year award. Tyler Flowers will take over the full-time catching duties by July and hit 15+ homeruns and make people wonder what took so long for him to get some playing time. Brent Lillibridge does his best Ben Zobrist impersonation and plays six different positions and also hits 15+ homeruns and steals 10+ bases. Addison Reed strikes out 100 in relief.
Dayan Viciedo will post a negative fWAR thanks to horrible defense in a corner outfield spot and constant struggles to keep his OBP above the .300 mark. A.J. Pierzynski is replaced by Flowers because he keeps regressing behind the plate and swings at a pitch out at least once.
One of my favorite players is Shin-Soo Choo and I always predict big things from him so this year will be no different. He will play all year and hit .300/.400/.500 with at least 20 homeruns and 20 stolen bases and be in my top 5 MVP ballot. Vinnie Pestano strikes out 100 batters and establishes himself as one of the best young relievers in the game.
After a monster first half and great all-around year, Asdrubal Cabrera will find it hard to reach 15 homeruns and will strike out over 120 times. Good thing Casey Kotchman has a good glove because he comes closer to his career line of .268/.336/.398 than last year’s .306/.378/.422 line.
Troy Kocur had some bold predictions for the team and a few players in his Detroit Tigers Preview yesterday. The Tigers will lead the Majors in homeruns. I also agree with Troy that Ryan Raburn will hit 20+ homeruns. Delmon Young also surpasses the 20 homerun mark for just the second time in his career.
The team will surpass the New York Mets’ team worst -68.3 UZR from last year and break the -70 mark in 2012. They will also have a revolving door of 5th starters, leading general manager Dave Dombrowski to unwisely trade top prospect Jacob Turner to the Houston Astros for Wandy Rodriguez, who struggles in his short time in the American League.
Kansas City Royals:
Eric Hosmer will finish third in the American League MVP voting and hit a robust .325/.400/.550 and top 75 extra-base hits while also stealing 15 bases. Royals fans and fantasy owners everywhere will rejoice. Billy Butler will follow suit with a career best 25 homeruns and, again, hit over .300 for the third time in four years. Greg Holland will lead the team in saves be one of the most valuable relievers in the game according to fWAR.
Jonathan Sanchez will miss his old home ballpark in San Francisco and hate facing the lineup depth and pull his best Scott Kazmir impersonation circa 2010. Jeff Francoeur will revert to his old ways and hit closer to his 2010 line of .249/.300/.383 than his .285/.329/.476 line in 2011.
Glen Perkins will wind up being the best reliever on the team and reach double digit saves while surpassing 80 strike outs. Rookie Lester Oliveros, after improving his control in the minors, will be called up by mid-year and be the second best arm in the bullpen and receive a handful of saves. Denard Span will hit like he did in the first half of 2011 when he hit .294/.361/.385 and he will steal 30 bases for the first time in his career.
Nick Blackburn will post an ERA over 5.00 and come dangerously close to walking as many hitters as he strikes out. Alexi Casilla will struggle to keep his OBP over .300 and his SLUG over .350 and be moved near the deadline to a team in need of a backup middle infielder and make way for the Brian Dozier era to begin.
1. Detroit Tigers (92-70)
2. Cleveland Indians (84-78)
3. Kansas City Royals (77-85)
4. Minnesota Twins (72-90)
5. Chicago White Sox (72-90)
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy Tagged: | A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, Addison Reed, Alexi Casilla, Asdrubal Cabrera, Billy Butler, Brent Lillibridge, Brian Dozier, Casey Kotchman, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Dave Dombrowski, Dayan Viciedo, Delmon Young, Denard Span, Detroit Tigers, Eric Hosmer, Glen Perkins, Greg Holland, Jacob Turner, Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Sanchez, Kansas City Royals, Lester Oliveros, Minnesota Twins, Nick Blackburn, Ryan Raburn, Shin-Soo Choo, Tyler Flowers, Vinnie Pestano