Saturday, July 15, 2006

The AL Central: Present

The AL Central is the strongest division in baseball, with its two top teams on pace to win over 100 games. The Detroit Tigers have been the surprise team of the year, on pace to win 110 games after losing 119 games just 3 years ago. The White Sox are on pace to win more games than last year's team that won the World Series. The Minnesota Twins are playing well and have two starters have Cy Young-caliber seasons. The Cleveland Indians have had a disappointing season, but still have a good core of young position players to build around. The Royals are in last place as usual. But, even the Royals are somewhat improved and might be more like a 90-100 loss team in most other divisions.

Here's a team-by-team statistical comparison (number in parathesis is ML rank):

Pitching Staff:

Detroit 3.53 (1)
Minnesota 4.33 (10)
Chicago 4.47 (14)
Cleveland 4.70 (20)
Kansas City 5.81 (30)

ERA (Starter/Bullpen):
Detroit 3.52/3.55
Chicago 4.60/4.12
Cleveland 4.66/4.71
Minnesota 4.84/3.31
Kansas City 6.26/5.20

Minnesota 632 (4)
Detroit 568 (15)
Chicago 531 (26)
Cleveland 520 (27)
Kansas City 444 (30)


Minnesota 194 (1) Note: team K/BB over 3!
Chicago 241 (2)
Cleveland 251 (6)
Detroit 263 (7)
Kansas City 354 (28)

The Tigers have the best pitching staff in baseball, anchored by a very strong, young rotation. The Twins, White Sox, and Indians' pitching staffs are in the middle third. The Twins have a great front of the rotation, but have awful #4 and #5 starters. The White Sox rotation has regressed considerably, with every starter except Jose Contreras pitching much worse than last year. The Indians' rotation is pretty average and their bullpen has struggled. The Royals, of course, have the worst pitching staff in baseball.


Team OPS:

Chicago .826 (2)
Cleveland .817 (4)
Detroit .790 (8)
Minnesota .757 (17)
Kansas City .736 (26)

Home Runs:

Chicago 135 (1)
Cleveland 120 (4)
Detroit 119 (6)
Minnesota 80 (27)
Kansas City 71 (30)


Chicago 528 (1)
Cleveland 498 (4)
Detroit 477 (7)
Minnesota 435 (17)
Kansas City 409 (26)

The White Sox, Indians, and Tigers have pretty potent offenses, supplying very good power. The White Sox offense have one of the best group of power hitters with Thome, Dye, and Konerko. The Indians have a good group of young players supplying most of their offense. The Tigers don't have any standout bats, but are solid from top to bottom. The Twins are finally getting the production they anticipated from Mauer and Morneau, but are still an average offense at best. The Royals' offense is still pretty terrible, not surprisingly.


Defensive Efficiency:

Detroit .725 (1)
White Sox .706 (9)
Cleveland .692 (18)
Kansas City .690 (21)
Minnesota .676 (29)

Overall, the division is very strong, which the exception of the Royals. Every team except the Royals is an above .500 team in any other division. The Twins' strong bullpen and two aces have carried their otherwise mediocre team. The Indians have underachieved, scoring 42 runs more than they've allowed. The White Sox have a great offense and decent pitching. The Tigers have the most complete team in baseball. In the next post, I'll breakdown the talent in the division and see if it is likely to remain a difficult division over the next few years.


At 1:08 PM, Blogger Walter said...

Hello, Royals fans,
I wanted you to know there is a new beta site following baseball bloggers called "Baseball Nooz." We spotlighted The Daily Lancer today on our main Community Page in a slot called, “The Catch”.
At Baseball Nooz, we’ve aggregated a lot of feeds from bloggers and news sources, all on baseball.
Registered users can choose the feeds they like most and build a custom baseball news page, with headlines from their favorite sources.
Every time a blogger posts, they also appear in our unique blog roll. Register to be part of Baseball Nooz, then you can follow us following the Royals!

Best of luck the rest of the season,
Walter Roark (editor)


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