2009 Preview: AL Central

Here are my predictions for the American League Central, which will most likely be one of the weaker divisions in baseball:

1. Cleveland Indians- Division Winners

Cliff Lee returns after winning the Cy Young, and Fausto Carmona will come back from an injury along with catcher Victor Maritez. The Indians have an MVP caliber player in Grady Sizemore. Travis Hafner looks to rebound from another disappointing season. Kerry Wood will look to stay healthy and do the closing for his new team.

2. Minnesota Twins

The Twins lost a one game playoff last year, and hope to end The Metrodome on a strong note. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau could each finish somewhere near the top of the MVP standings. The Twins are also high on rookie Denard Span. Francisco Liriano will once again return from an injury. Joe Crede moves from the White Sox to their rivals and Joe Nathan is always there to close the door in the ninth.

3. Chicago White Sox

The White Sox won the division last season. They have a solid rotation led by Mark Buerhle and a lineup led by Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome. Gavin Floyd will have to prove 2008 was not a fluke along with Alexei Ramirez

4. Detroit Tigers

The Tigers were expected to dominate the Central last season, but never came close. They have a strong lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez. However, outside of Justin Verlander, the Tigers do not have strong pitching.

5. Kansas City Royals

The Royals have an ace in Zach Grienke and star close Joakim Soria. Alex Gordon seems to be a promising young player and Billy Butler has done a decent job as the DH. The Royals added Coco Crisp to their lineup and Sidney Ponson to their rotation.


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