Friday, April 2, 2010

Ranking the AL Central (Bullpen)

1) Chicago White Sox
The Sox have three good guys in the back end. Bobby Jenks has lost a ton of weight and quit drinking. Might be able to pull out a few more 2 inning saves. Matt Thorton is their big lefty with the power breaking pitches. If JJ Putz can be healthy, he can close. Being the 8th inning guy throwing mid to upper 90's will help Chicago.

2) Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have power power arms all across the board. Their new closer Jose Valverde is an upgrade from Fernando Rodney. If Joel Zumaya if healthy (unlikely) can still throw over 100 MPH. Ryan Perry is another power arm. Phil Coke is their new lefty. Bobby Seay is a huge loss for them. I still like the Tigers pen overall.

3) Minnesota Twins
How much does Joe Nathan mean to the Twins. If he were here the Twins would have the best bullpen in the division no question. Pat Nasty Neshek will bounce back from 2 years of recovery. Jesse Crain's second half of 2009 is what he is really capable of. Jose Mijares has a ton of talent from left side but does he have the mental aspect to get out of Gardenhire's dog house. My pick for who should close is John Rauch. He has done it before and is the best internal option. Matt Gurrier was great last year but is not as good as his stats indicate in 2009.

4) Cleveland Indians
Kerry Wood is out the first 2 months. It hurts the Tribe more then just in the bullpen. It makes him less valuable in a deadline trade. Chris Perez, Jensen Lewis and Rafeal Perez all have a lot of talent but got roughed up and were set back in 2009. Location issues are the main component to the Indians success. Joe Smith and Tony Sipp might both be guys to take big steps forward in 2010.

5) Kansas City Royals
The best reliever in the division is Joakim Soria. But getting to him is rather difficult. Again I say that the Royals screwed up trading Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez for Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs. Kyle Farsnworth can throw upper 90's but it goes straight. Robinson Tejada is very solid and should be Soria's setup man if he does not start. Juan Cruz was great in 2007 and 2008 but got shelled in 2009. He should be able to get back to form.

Top Relievers in Division

1) Joakim Soria (CL)KC
2) Bobby Jenks (CL)CHW
3) Jose Valverde (CL) DET
4) Kerry Wood (CL)CLE
5) JJ Putz CHW
6) Pat Neskek MIN
7) Matt Thorton CHW
8) Jose Mijares MIN
9) Matt Gurrier MIN
10)Ryan Perry DET

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