• Ranking the AL Central Hitters

    There are a million ways to try to prepare for an upcoming season. In just four days, the Minnesota Twins will be at Target Field taking on the division-favorite Detroit Tigers.

    Everyone knows that the Twins starting pitchers will not be able to compete on paper with the other pitchers in the division, but what about the hitters?



    Let's check out the projected starters for the AL Central teams and compare them by position. Below, I'll go position-by-position with my ranking of the players. In the comments, be sure to post your rankings, and let's see how we did at the end of the year.

    Catchers


    1. Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
    2. Carlos Santana - Cleveland Indians
    3. Salvador Perez - Kansas City Royals
    4. Alex Avila - Detroit Tigers
    5. Tyler Flowers - Chicago White Sox


    First Basemen


    1. Prince Fielder - Detroit Tigers
    2. Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
    3. Nick Swisher - Cleveland Indians
    4. Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox
    5. Eric Hosmer - Kansas City Royals


    Second Basemen


    1. Jason Kipnis - Cleveland Indians
    2. Gordon Beckham - Chicago White Sox
    3. Omar Infante - Detroit Tigers
    4. Brian Dozier - Minnesota Twins
    5. Chris Getz - Kansas City Royals


    Third Basemen


    1. Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
    2. Mike Moustakus - Kansas City Royals
    3. Trevor Plouffe - Minnesota Twins
    4. Lonnie Chisenhall - Cleveland Indians
    5. Jeff Keppinger - Chicago White Sox


    Shortstop


    1. Asdrubal Cabrera - Cleveland Indians
    2. Alexi Ramirez - Chicago White Sox
    3. Jhonny Peralta - Detroit Tigers
    4. Alcides Escobar - Kansas City
    5. Pedro Florimon - Minnesota Twins


    Left Field


    1. Alex Gordon - Kansas City
    2. Josh Willingham - Minnesota Twins
    3. Dayan Viciedo - Chicago White Sox
    4. Michael Brantley - Cleveland Indians
    5. Andy Dirks - Detroit Tigers


    Center Field


    1. Austin Jackson - Detroit Tigers
    2. Michael Bourn - Cleveland Indians
    3. Aaron Hicks - Minnesota Twins
    4. Alejandro de Aza - Chicago White Sox
    5. Lorenzo Cain - Kansas City Royals


    Right Field


    1. Torii Hunter - Detroit Tigers
    2. Alex Rios - Chicago White Sox
    3. Jeff Francoer - Kansas City Royals
    4. Drew Stubbs - Cleveland Indians
    5. Chris Parmelee - Minnesota Twins


    Designated Hitter


    1. Billy Butler - Kansas City Royals
    2. Victor Martinez - Detroit Tigers
    3. Adam Dunn - Chicago White Sox
    4. Ryan Doumit - Minnesota Twins
    5. Mark Reynolds - Cleveland Indians


    So, there you have the postional rankings for the AL Century. Based on my rankings, if I were to add up the total numbers (of their placement within each position), there is a clear-cut paper projection winner. That is the Detriot Tigers.

    So, the Tigers have a starting staff of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello, yet their offense will also be strong. Miguel Cabrera is coming off of a Triple Crown season. Prince Fielder was terrific in his debut season in Detroit. The also are adding Torii Hunter and they'll return the potent bat of Victor offense.

    On offense, the Twins are right with the rest of the division and with any pitching will help lead to some more wins in 2013.

    Here are my rankings:


    1. Detroit Tigers - 21
    2. Cleveland Indians - 26
    3. Kansas City Royals - 29
    4. Minnesota Twins - 29
    5. Chicago White Sox - 30


    So again, how would you rank all of the positions, and how does your team, or your favorite?
    This article was originally published in blog: Ranking th AL Central Hitters started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 61 Comments
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      So, take the gloves off. Who are the top five, regardless of position? One guess:


      1. Mauer
      2. Miguel Cabrera
      3. Fielder
      4. Konerko
      5. Butler
      6. Willinghammer (Remember, no gloves. His Silver Slugger puts him ahead of Alex Gordon on my list of top left fielders with a bat in their hands.)
      7. Hunter
      8. V. Martinez
      9. Swisher
      10. Gordon/Morneau tie
      I'm a big Mauer fan, but he's not a better hitter than Cabrera. Additionally, VMart is higher on that list as well. On this list, VMart should probably be 4th.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Yeah, Cabrera has to go above Mauer.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by powrwrap View Post
      Konerko should be #2 at 1B. Morneau #3.
      Keppinger (.325/.367/.439) is better than Chisenhall (.268/.311/.430).
      Willingham (OPS .890, 35 HR) is better than Gordon (OPS .822, 14 HR).
      Defense and baserunning matter too.
      Gordon has been worth 12.4 WAR the last 2 years, and was worth 5.7 WAR last year.
      Willingham has been worth 5.4 WAR the last 2 years, and was worth 3.6 WAR last year.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Martinez is a wait-and-see, depending upon how he comes off that ACL injury. That's why I have him so low. You're probably right on Cabrera, now that I look at his #'s over the past three years, compared to Mauer. Good points, Puck.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      Martinez is a wait-and-see, depending upon how he comes off that ACL injury. That's why I have him so low. You're probably right on Cabrera, now that I look at his #'s over the past three years, compared to Mauer. Good points, Puck.

      Thanks.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Defense and baserunning matter too.
      Gordon has been worth 12.4 WAR the last 2 years, and was worth 5.7 WAR last year.
      Willingham has been worth 5.4 WAR the last 2 years, and was worth 3.6 WAR last year.
      yeah, but we're talking hitters...not ranking best overall offensive players...certainly not ranking defense.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      So, take the gloves off. Who are the top five, regardless of position? One guess:


      1. Mauer
      2. Miguel Cabrera
      3. Fielder
      4. Konerko
      5. Butler
      6. Willinghammer (Remember, no gloves. His Silver Slugger puts him ahead of Alex Gordon on my list of top left fielders with a bat in their hands.)
      7. Hunter
      8. V. Martinez
      9. Swisher
      10. Gordon/Morneau tie
      If we are only going by pure hitting (no position, no glove), I don't see how you can have Mauer ahead of Miggy.
      Miggy has a career OPS nearly 100 points higher than Joe.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      Take the gloves off
      1)Cabrera 2)Fielder 3)Butler 4)Willingham 5)Martinez 6)Dunn 7)Gordon 8)Morneau 9)Swisher 10)Jackson
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      yeah, but we're talking hitters...not ranking best overall offensive players...certainly not ranking defense.
      Ah, Gotcha.
      I thought Seth was ranking the position players, didnt notice that he is in fact ranking "hitters".
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Take the gloves off
      1)Cabrera 2)Fielder 3)Butler 4)Willingham 5)Martinez 6)Dunn 7)Gordon 8)Morneau 9)Swisher 10)Jackson
      No 3-time Batting Champ???? Led league in OBP last year???
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Take the gloves off
      1)Cabrera 2)Fielder 3)Butler 4)Willingham 5)Martinez 6)Dunn 7)Gordon 8)Morneau 9)Swisher 10)Jackson
      Uh, where's Mauer?
    1. travmak's Avatar
      travmak -
      The lists show how good the catchers are in this division even without AJ. And how bad the CF and RF positions are offensively across the division.
    1. chuchadoro's Avatar
      chuchadoro -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Take the gloves off
      1)Cabrera 2)Fielder 3)Butler 4)Willingham 5)Martinez 6)Dunn 7)Gordon 8)Morneau 9)Swisher 10)Jackson
      I enjoy ripping Baby Jesus more than most but even I think he should be in the #3-#6 range.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
      I enjoy ripping Baby Jesus more than most but even I think he should be in the #3-#6 range.
      There's just no way to rationally place Mauer any lower than #3. Cabrera is a given. Fielder is probably a given.

      But who could you rank above Joe after those two guys? He's an on base machine... The best in the league. And while chicks dig the long ball, the guy who doesn't make outs still still more valuable and nobody in baseball is better at avoiding the out than Joe.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I agree with the majority of the rankings but I think Seth was too hard on some Royals.

      I would move up Perez one notch. He's looking like Mauer Jr thus Far.

      No way do I rank Hosmer at the Bottom. I know he struggled last year but I think he rebounds big this year. At least I hope so because I got him on my fantasy team.

      Escobar at SS for the Royals... Should be moved up to #2 behind only Cabrera.

      Jeez, it sounds like I've become this Royals backer or something.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      I think you might be a little down on Parmelee, but it's true he's a wait and see kind of guy.

      I also had some issue with the idea of "hitters" versus offensive players. Mauer is very much a better hitter than Prince Fielder, but Fielder is a slugger par excellence and Mauer's slugging doesn't match up.

      Maybe there are two lists to be made.

      Maybe that's why I love lists like this.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      I also had some issue with the idea of "hitters" versus offensive players. Mauer is very much a better hitter than Prince Fielder, but Fielder is a slugger par excellence and Mauer's slugging doesn't match up.
      To me, "hitting" is anything that happens from the time the batter steps into the box until he makes an out or is safe on base.

      Otherwise, the distinction becomes a mess. "Well, he's a good hitter but he doesn't have much power and he walks a lot but has the speed to turn a double into a triple" compared to "Well, he hits for no average and is slow on the bases and doesn't draw walks but hits for a ton of power".

      If you start breaking up hitting into smaller elements, it stops being a comparison of players because there are too many variables to track.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      I think you might be a little down on Parmelee, but it's true he's a wait and see kind of guy.

      I also had some issue with the idea of "hitters" versus offensive players. Mauer is very much a better hitter than Prince Fielder, but Fielder is a slugger par excellence and Mauer's slugging doesn't match up.

      Maybe there are two lists to be made.

      Maybe that's why I love lists like this.
      Fielder's career OBP is only 12 points behind Mauer's, while his SLG is 70 points higher.
      If you are removing position and glove, and only looking at hitting, Fielder is well above Mauer.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Riverbrian, I absolutely love Salvador Perez. I think maybe by the end of the year, he'll be right near, if not at the top of that catcher category. So young, and so much power. I'd have no problem moving him up, but not ahead of Mauer... yet. They aren't comparable at all. Perez has serious power.

      I like Hosmer for a bounce-back, but I just couldn't put him ahead of the others.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      To me, "hitting" is anything that happens from the time the batter steps into the box until he makes an out or is safe on base.

      Otherwise, the distinction becomes a mess. "Well, he's a good hitter but he doesn't have much power and he walks a lot but has the speed to turn a double into a triple" compared to "Well, he hits for no average and is slow on the bases and doesn't draw walks but hits for a ton of power".

      If you start breaking up hitting into smaller elements, it stops being a comparison of players because there are too many variables to track.
      I'm the only one who thinks that kind of thing is fun? It's like a self-justification game for your own biases, and I think it's fun to play.

      Fine, I'll just go into a corner and play with myself. (Phrasing.)
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