Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Preseason All-AL Central Team

So I've already done the Preseason All-AL East Team. Time for the AL Central, which is one of the most talented divisions in baseball.

All AL-Central First Team

C: Victor Martinez (CLE)
Martinez earns the nod over Joe Mauer, as Mauer had some injury issues last season that caused him to miss a lot of time. Martinez is still one of the best run producers in baseball, a consistent .280+, 20+, 100+ guy that helps boost the middle of Cleveland's order.

1B: Justin Morneau
The former AL-MVP had 30+ and 100+ last year and should be able to repeat those results again this year. Though he lost protection in Torii Hunter, Morneau gains Delmon Young, a blossoming young power hitter to help him. Morneau will be the best first basemen in the division in 2008.

2B: Placido Polanco (DET)
A weak position in the division, Polanco earns the nod with his high average (.341). If Polanco continues to hit for high average, the lineup for the Tigers will receive a huge boost.

3B: Miguel Cabrera (DET)
Although Cabrera has not spent much time in the AL (about two weeks), he is still the best third baseman in the division. He should be able to set a career high with 120+ RBIs this season in a deep Tigers lineup.

SS: Jhonny Peralta (CLE)
I'm talking Peralta over Edgar Renteria based on Renteria's horrible 2005 season with Boston. Peralta hits for better power than Renteria and means more to the Cleveland lineup than Renteria means to the Tigers.

LF: Nick Swisher (CWS)
Swisher is an ideal fit for the White Sox as he can get on base often and provide a power boost to a lineup that includes Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Jermaine Dye.

Curtis Granderson (DET)
Granderson barely gets the nod over Grady Sizemore, as Granderson hit for a higher average than Sizemore. Granderson can do it all and is probably one of the best all-around outfielders in the game.

RF: Magglio Ordonez (DET)
It is hard to match Maggs' .363 batting average last season. Add 28 home runs and 139 RBIs to the equation, then you have a great player. Ordonez will be just as good or better than last year, as the addition of Cabrera makes him harder to pitch around.

DH: Travis Hafner (CLE)
Although he had an off-season last year, Hafner will rebound this year. I expect him to get back up to 35+ homers and 110+ RBIs. The Indians lineup is still very potent with him in the middle.

SP: C.C Sabathia (CLE)
Sabathia is in the last year of his contract and will be gunning again for good stats (19 wins in 2007). We have seen players in the last years of their contract do horribly (see: Jones, Andruw; 2007), but I think C.C. will be able to reach 15+ wins and under 10 losses with a sub-3.50 ERA.

SP: Justin Verlander (DET)
Verlander is right on Sabathia's heels for best pitcher in the Central. If Verlander can lower his ERA and WHIP, he will be the best pitcher in the Central, especially if Sabathia stumbles.

SP: Fausto Carmona (CLE)
I am not expecting Carmona to totally duplicate the stats of 2007, but he should come close. Gets the nod over the White Sox' Mark Buehrle.

RP: Bobby Jenks (CWS)
The big man is a reliable closer and barely walks opposing batters.

RP: Joe Nathan (MIN)
Nathan has just been one of the best over the past few seasons, plain and simple.

All-AL Central Second Team
C: Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B: Paul Konerko (CWS)
2B: Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)
3B: Alex Gordon (KC)
SS: Edgar Renteria (DET)
LF: Delmon Young (MIN)
CF: Grady Sizemore (CLE)
Jermaine Dye (CWS)
DH: Jim Thome (CWS)
SP: Mark Buehrle (CWS)

Jeremy Bonderman (DET)
SP: Javier Vazquez (CWS)
RP: Rafael Betancourt (CLE)
RP: Joe Borowski (CLE)

There they are.

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