Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ranking the AL Central (Defense)

1) Minnesota Twins
They still play the game the right way. Ron Gardenhire is one of the few managers in baseball that still makes his team take in field everyday. The Twins added 2 great defensive guys in JJ Hardy and 4 time Gold Glover Orlando Hudson up the middle. Third base will be solid with the Punto/Harris platoon. Denard Span is a better CF then people give him credit for. Delmon Young has gained back some speed after losing 30 pounds. And oh yeah. Joe Mauer is the best all around catcher in the game.

Player to Watch: Jason Kubel might see some more of the outfield this year with the departure of Carlos Gomez. He has never been able to move well in the past, but he has made it a point that he does not want to be a full time DH.

2)Detroit Tigers
The infield is very solid even with the loss of Placido Polanco. Brandon Inge is a great 3rd baseman and Adam Everett has always had a great glove (except in Minnesota). Scott Sizemore has a big challenge infront of him and Miguel Cabrera was still above average at 1st base saving 3 runs in 2009. Maglio Ordonez can cover the ground he once could. Johnny Damon can cover ground but will he be able to get the ball back to the infield in Comerca Park. Austin Jackson is arguably the best athlete on the team and should be able to bail his outfield mates out a lot of jams. Gerald Laird is usually in there to play defense because his .225 batting average is not worth keeping.

Player to Watch: Austin Jackson is a fantastic athlete. He will cover a lot of ground and make all the same plays Curtis Granderson used to.

3) Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have jumped on the approach of pitching and playing defense. Juan Pierre, and Alex Rios will cover a lot of ground in the outfield. Mark Teahen's natural position is 3rd. Not many guys can call a better game then AJ Pierzynski. Gordon Beckham's natural position is shortstop. After playing 2009 at 3rd, he will play 2010 at 2nd.

Player to Watch: Juan Peirre is going to hit lead off but more importantly he is going to move Carlos Quinton over to RF out of the way from fly balls. Peirre improves the Sox defense instantly.

4) Cleveland Indians
The Tribe has some great athletes at the major league level. Grady Sizmore is just fun to watch when healthy. Johnny Peralta is a natural short stop but plays a pretty good 3rd base. I am a huge Asdrubal Cabrera fan. If the Indians decide to go with Michael Brantley instead of Matt Laporta in left, they will be above average in the outfield. Opening Day catcher Lou Marson is a good game caller behind the plate and has solid throwing arm. If and when Carlos Santana is called up, he will be able to gun down a lot of base stealers.

Player to Watch: Grady Sizeore if healthy is gold glove caliber. He has had shoulder injuries the past couple years. If he can play everyday he has 2 plus defensive tools.

5) Kansas City Royals
I like the Royals outfield. Rick Ankiel, David DeJesus and Scott Posednick are all veterans who go all out. I hate the Royals infield. Yuni Betancourt is 11 runs worse the an average short stop. Alex Gordon is projection that will never pan out. Chris Getz does have a better glove then Alberto Callapso but hit bat should not be in over Callapso. Jason Kendall began to lose some of his defensive prowless in 2009 but can still cal a decent game. It is hard to hide Billy Butler at first base. He really should be a DH.

Player to Watch: Rick Ankeil is has made some great catches in his career. He is a very good athlete and still has a cannon in what was a former pitching arm.

All Defense Team in the AL Central

Catcher: Joe Mauer MIN
First Base: Justin Morneau MIN
Second Base: Orlando Hudson: MIN
Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera CLE
Third Base: Brandon Inge DET
Three Outfielders: Grady Sizemore CLE, Denard Span MIN, Austin Jackson DET

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