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2012 AL Central Standings - Part 1


John Bonnes
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Who Wins The AL Central This Year?  

69 members have voted

  1. 1. Who Wins The AL Central This Year?

    • Indians
      5
    • Royals
      5
    • Tigers
      47
    • Twins
      12
    • White Sox
      0


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I'm going with Tigers, though I think it will be closer than people think. I view them as fundamentally flawed, and if their starting pitchers outside Verlander don't improve from last year, they're no sure thing. I'll add this: there will be a division race in September. At least one of the other four teams are going to be pushing them. I'm just not sure which one, and I know the Tigers will be involved, so I'm picking them.

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I went with the Tigers, though I agree with John. I don't see this being a runaway. The addition of Prince adds wins, but they lose a couple by moving Cabrera to 3rd base. Their rotation is about like the Twins, just with a top guy (Verlander).

 

I'd guess they'd win 90 games or so, and the Royals will be on their heels at about 86 wins. I think the Twins and Indians will be a bit below .500 in 3rd and 4th place, with the White Sox a few games back of them in the cellar.

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I also took the Tigers, but I don't think that they are going to necessarily be World Series champions, or anything like that. I wrote on my blog last week that the Tigers are a Verlander or Fielder injury away from being just another somewhate above average team. Still, though, in the AL Central, they probably have what it takes to win the division.

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Call me a homer or super-optimistic, but I think that it is the Twins' year. If the Twins were frustrated with their infield play last season, I so cannot wait to see the highlights of: Prince -1B, Inge - 2B, Peralta - SS, Cabrera - 3B infield on a daily basis :) I suspect that Verlander (and their other pitchers) would be extremely effective with that infield...

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I also went with the Tigers, but I don't think they'll run away with anything. The defense in Detroit might get real ugly real fast, and if Verlander gets hurt for anything more than a few starts their rotation will be pedestrian at best. In the end assuming relative good health I think the Tigers finish with 87-92 wins and everybody else between 75-85.

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In a public policy class in college, Professor Vaupel's insight was that if everyone was picking a certain outcome, a bettor's best chance of winning would be to choose a less likely outcome.....so if this was an NCAA pool, I might pick Baylor so I'm only competing against the 1% who choose them rather than the 50% who choose Kentucky, figuring Baylor has a far greater than 1% chance of winning it all, and Kentucky has less than a 50% chance of winning it all. Utilizing that model, I'd say the Tigers have a 55% chance to win the division this year, the Twins have about a 10% chance (bouncing back, good health, and a team that knows how to keep winning and play one game at a time, but a thin veneer without much depth), the Indians about 15%(a season of competing under their belt, and a reasonable mix of young talent and veterans), the Royals about 10% (lots of young talent, new pieces, questionable starting pitching depth and no tradition of winning under pressure) and the WSox about 10% (even after trading away assets, they have a solid core of sluggers and a couple of players who could recover from last year and make this team productive; I think those who cast them off because they are rebuilding are overlooking a roster that still looks pretty good 1-9)

 

So if I were gambling trying to win something, I'd take a flier on the White Sox this year, especially if I was gambling in a pool of Twins fans, since I think no one will pick them. But like a lot of folks who've already weighed in, I think the Tigers are the favorites to win the division.

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I'm the guy who voted Indians. Ya, I'll admit that it's in part because I have a hard time going along with what everybody else thinks is a no-brainer (i.e. last year’s Red Sox).

 

I can see a Tiger meltdown based on three things all happening:

1. Terrible Defense – Jhonny Peralta had an absolute career year defensively that stands out drastically from his normal performance, so regression is very possible. Other than Austin Jackson, this team is very adequate in the field.

 

2. Pitching Regression - All this bad defense will definitely lead to a drop in team ERA (much like the Twins did last year). And while Verlander is coming off of an MVP year, his BABIP was unsustainably low at .236 compared to his career average .285.

 

3. Struggling Supporting Offense – I say “supporting offense” because Cabrera & Fielder are going to get their numbers, but it’s the supporting cast that I wonder about. Alex Avila raked last year, mostly thanks to an unbelievable .366 BABIP. Jhonny Peralta had his best offensive year last year since he was a rookie. If Delmon does what he’s always done (with the exception of 2010), and the rest of their lineup stays around the same, the supporting cast of this team looks pretty weak.

 

You sprinkle in some missed time for Miguel Cabrera in their because of possible wear and tear at third base, and you’ve got an 80-85 win team. Suddenly the Indians are in striking distance for sure.

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Like many of the rest of you I don't think it will be a run away, but I think the Tigers have the advantage in the Central. I don't think they will be able to pick up the ball, like the Twins, but they should be able to score a lot of runs. That infield is going to be ugly, and if they trot Young out to left field we all know what that will look like. Tigers pitching is also suspect after Verlander and even he will likely regress, he was just so great last year.

 

I think there will be a race in September, but I think the Tigers will eek it out.

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I think the Tigers will win the division easily. They are projected score over 40 more runs than any other team in the division and have arguably the best starting rotation. So, I don't see how they don't win the division by 5 games or more.

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I've been predicting the Royals to finish better than they do every year, and this year I'll do it again, just because. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict they finally put it together under Yost after they get a big free agent starter before the trading deadline, and their offense rides high all season. Of course as a Twins fan, I hope I'm wrong!

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Tigers take it and relatively easily. I think the Twins will be much improved, but any head to head series with the Tigers will be lopsided at best. Our punchless pitching staff is going to have a serious problem matching up with that lineup. The White Sox should be down, unless Rios and Dunn are vastly improved, Indians were decent but did not add much from last year, and the Royals are the Royals until proven otherwise

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On paper, the Tigers have at least 5 wins on their AL Central competition. And that's after factoring in the avalanche of regression that will beset their offense (Avila & Peralta), starting pitching (Verlander & Fister), defense (everybody except Jackson) and closer. All that regression - Victor Martinez + Prince Fielder still probably equals at least 86 wins, and I don't think anybody else in the Central is a good bet to finish much over .500.

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Twins in a tight 3 way race with the Tigers and the Royals (yes I said the Royals). 87 wins will be enough to win this division. I think we will beat each other up pretty good. I don't see any team as the AL Central whipping boy that the Royals and Indians have been in years past.

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Sure the Tigers are the chalk, but I think this will be pretty wide open .. kind of like 2008.

 

And except for 2010, the Twins have always seemed to outperform low expectations and underperform high expectations.

That's the non-Sabrmetericall reason for hope.

 

FYI, love these forums .. hopefully a return of DTFC from back in its heyday.

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I'll remain blindly optimistic and vote Twins. My reasoning--if only to add a different point of view than those already espoused here--I'll suggest that the Twins can benefit from a more generous interleague schedule than their rivals--as their six games would come against a severely diminished Brewers team rather than the resurgent Reds, Cardinals or Pirates (the "rivals" of Cleveland, Kansas City and Detroit)--true we do still play the Reds, Pirates (and Phillies) without any cupcake set against the Astros, but what can I say...I'm happy with my delusion.

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Much as I'd like to take a flyer on the Twins, I just can't see the club improving by 30+ games. That would be unprecedented. The biggest win jump in franchise history was 27 wins, and that was from 1911 to 1912 when they were still the Senators (and had Walter Johnson in the rotation). The 'worst to first' '91 Twins only needed to improve by 21 games to win the division.

 

The Tigers will probably regress some from their 2011 record, but when you're the only club that finished above .500 in your division, you've got a lot of room to regress before you need to start worrying.

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Much as I'd like to take a flyer on the Twins, I just can't see the club improving by 30+ games. That would be unprecedented. The biggest win jump in franchise history was 27 wins, and that was from 1911 to 1912 when they were still the Senators (and had Walter Johnson in the rotation). The 'worst to first' '91 Twins only needed to improve by 21 games to win the division.

 

The Tigers will probably regress some from their 2011 record, but when you're the only club that finished above .500 in your division, you've got a lot of room to regress before you need to start worrying.

I wouldn't say unprescedented. Looking at the Diamondbacks, they went from 65 wins in 1998 to 100 in 1999, 51 to 77 in '05, and 65 to 94 last year. Seems like the best chance for a huge turn-around would be a team like this team where you have multiple impact players who were injured or played poorly the year before. If healthy (I know, big if), I think this team is closer to the 2010 version of the Twins than the 2011 version. They're still underdogs, but I think it will be fun to watch the season play out.

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Tigers. If a "race" means they wind up winning by 5-6 games, OK, I could see the Tigers winning 90 games, while the Indians or Royals win 84, and not putting the division to bed until the third week of September. But I think it's unlikely that the race will be any tighter than that. Any team after Detroit would need pretty much everything to go perfectly to really make a run at 90+ wins. The Tigers probably get there if most of their plans come together just reasonably well.

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As much as it pains me, I voted for the Tigers to win the division - but I don't see them running away with it. I don't think their defense is good enough to make them elite and I don't see the Twins being nearly as bad as they were last year. A healthier Twins team, a competitive Royals squad and a good Indians team will keep this division tight.

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On paper it looks like the Tigers are the clear cut favorites but the great thing about baseball is you never know. A couple injuries to key players and the Tigers could fall back to the pack. At that point it could put the division up for grabs. It will be fun to see how the 2012 season plays out.

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