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Season Preview: American League Central

April 6, 2012

Opening Day is here and 25-man rosters have been set. It seems as good a time as any to start to preview the upcoming season. For a change of pace, I’m going to run with a bit of a different format this year and view things one division at a time.

We’ll cover each division in no particular order. We started with the NL West and then moved on to the AL West. Then we tackled the NL Central and the NL East. Next came the AL East. Now we’ll finish things up with the AL Central.

Top 5 Moves Since Last Season:

1. Detroit signed first baseman Prince Fielder to a nine year, $214 Million free agent contract.

2. Kansas City agrees to terms with left fielder Alex Gordon on a four year, $37.5 Million extension. The deal includes a player option for the 2016 season, valued at $12.5 Million.

3. Kansas City trades outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

4. Chicago trades right-hander Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for right-hander Nestor Molina.

5. Cleveland trades left-hander Chris Jones to the Atlanta Braves for right-hander Derek Lowe. Atlanta is also covering a significant portion of Lowe’s 2012 salary.

Key Acquisitions:

Chicago (None), Cleveland (Lowe), Detroit (Fielder), Kansas City (Sanchez), Minnesota (None)

Key Losses:

Chicago (Santos, Carlos Quentin), Cleveland (None), Detroit (None), Kansas City (None), Minnesota (None)

Predictions:

Cy Young – Justin Verlander (Justin Masterson)

MVP – Prince Fielder (Eric Hosmer)

Rookie of the Year – Addison Reed (Jacob Turner)

Standings:

  1. Detroit
  2. Cleveland
  3. Kansas City
  4. Chicago
  5. Minnesota

All Division Team:

Finally, let’s close things out with my pre-2012 All Division Team*. Eligible candidates consist of each team’s projected starter heading into Opening Day. We’ll revisit these lists again once the season concludes.

* Honorable mentions in parentheses.

1B: Prince Fielder (Eric Hosmer)

2B: Jason Kipnis (Gordon Beckham)

3B: Miguel Cabrera (Mike Moustakas)

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera (Alcides Escobar)

LF: Alex Gordon (Delmon Young)

CF: Austin Jackson (Ben Revere)

RF: Shin-Soo Choo (Brennan Boesch)

C: Alex Avila (Carlos Santana)

DH: Billy Butler (Travis Hafner)

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