The Candidates (2011 stats)
Minnesota Twins - Jamey Carroll - .290/.359/.347 (.706) with 14-2B, 6-3B, 0-HR, 17 RBI
Chicago White Sox - Alexei Ramirez - .269/.328/.399 (.727) with 31-2B, 2-3B, 15-HR, 70 RBI
Cleveland Indians - Asdrubal Cabrera - .273/.332/.460 (.792) with 32-2B, 3-3B, 25-HR, 92 RBI
Detroit Tigers - Jhonny Peralta - .299/.345/.478 (.824) with 25-2B, 3-3B, 21-HR, 86 RBI
Kansas City Royals - Alcides Escobar - .254/.290/.343 (.633) with 21-2B, 8-3B, 4-HR, 46 RBI
Looking for a settling influence for an infield that really struggled in 2011, the Twins look to Carroll in 2012. The veteran is solid with the glove. He is also terrific as a top of the order, on-base guy. Don't expect much, if any, power from him, but it is fair to expect to see him help the Twins with the glove and in the lineup. The 38 year old played 146 games for the Dodgers in 2011.
Alexei Ramirez finished second in rookie of the year voting in 2008. In 2010, he won the AL Silver Slugger Award for shortstops. The 30-year-old Cuban had a down year in 2011, but he does provide some good extra-base hit power near the bottom of the lineup.
Asdrubal Cabrera was a first-time All Star in 2011 and won his first Silver Slugger Award. I think many were surprised that he was not named a Gold Glove winner because he is very good with the glove. The 26-year-old has a lot of power and turned it into home run power in 2011. He also stole 17 bases.
Jhonny Peralta was moved to 3B when he was traded from Cleveland to the Tigers, but last year he moved back to the middle of the diamond. He posted his best season in 2011 and played in his first All Star game. Although he has been around a long time, he will turn 30 at the end of May.
When the Royals traded Zach Greinke before the 2011 season, they received several players that will impact them for several years. They wanted to improve their shortstop defense so one of the players they received from the Brewers was Alcides Escobar. He is a free swinger who occasionally gets an extra base hit, and with his great speed, he turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He turned just 25 years old in December and played in 158 games in 2011.
There is your information, now it is time to vote. Who will be the best first baseman in the AL Central in 2012?