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  • 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. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I really, really hate the White Sox, but there is no way Swisher or Morneau should be above Paulie. 37? Konerko defies age. He's been consistently one of the best 1B in the league for most of his 30s. I'm a fan. Between Swisher and Morneau it's pretty close, but the safe choice there is Swisher. Plus, I think Stubbs is the worst batting RF out of that bunch. Parmelee really doesn't have to try too much to be better than Francoer either.

      The rest I say is pretty good except for a few minor gripes that could certainly go either way. I'd prefer Perez to Santana and Peralta to A. Ramirez.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I think you can make a case for his career average, .843. If he stays healthy, I would be disappointed if he didn't hit that. The risk with him is health. By all accounts, he's healthier than he's been since the 2010 collision.
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      Konerko, 2010: .312/.393/.584/.977
      Konerko, 2011: .300/.388/.517/.906
      Konerko, 2012: .298/.372/.486/.857
      I think dropping 120 points of OPS between ages 34 and 36 should make you cautious about what might happen at age 37.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by big dog View Post
      Konerko, 2010: .312/.393/.584/.977
      Konerko, 2011: .300/.388/.517/.906
      Konerko, 2012: .298/.372/.486/.857
      I think dropping 120 points of OPS between ages 34 and 36 should make you cautious about what might happen at age 37.
      How many points of OPS has Morneau dropped the last 3 years?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      How many points of OPS has Morneau dropped the last 3 years?
      Completely different scenarios. Morneau suffered from injuries but is still relatively young, Paulie is just getting old.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Echoing the sentiments about Konerko -- he has had quite the career renaissance, it's hard to bet against him yet. Swisher is pretty good too.

      And both of these guys have exemplary records of health and consistency. Once that is factored in, I don't see any way you can rank Morneau ahead of them right now in terms of expected 2013 performance. The optimistic 2013 outlook for Morneau looks to be about the baseline for Konerko and Swisher. (Assuming Konerko's deal with the devil does not expire for at least one more season.)
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Hicks above Cain and De Aza looks optimistic at the moment too. (Where the heck did De Aza come from?)
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      De Aza replaced Rios for a while in 2011 and played really well. He struggled quite a bit last year playing more or less full time (524 ABs, .760 OPS after a .920 OPS in 152 ABs in 2011). Before that he'd only had a few short stints in the majors, with the Marlins and the White Sox. This year might reveal which is the real version. He's 29 so I think the .760 is going to be closer to the real version than the .920.

      Konerko's been healthy enough to stay off the DL the last 3 years, other than I believe one 7-day DL late last year. I'm thinking Morneau's numbers might have been a tad better than they were if he had gotten the same run of health. Anyway, to each his own and I'll tell you in October if I was right or wrong.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      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.
      With Perez I wouldn't put him above Mauer... Posey might be the only catcher I'd place in front of Mauer in MLB and that isn't a slam dunk. No denying Santana's Power and that has value but Santana just doesn't hit for high enough average. I'd go Perez over Santana for that reason.

      With Hosmer I'd put him over Swisher... Based on last year I wouldn't... I just think that these two players will cross past each other in opposite directions... Hosmer up... Swisher down.

      As for the White Sox... I'd put all of them at the 5 spot in every catagory. I just hate the White Sox with a passion and the curse I'm placing on them is powerful stuff. It's a new formula straight from Jamaica... The Sox don't stand a chance.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      One thing Justin has done consistently right up through this spring is strikeout. His power might be back but his plate discipline seems to be lagging.
    1. Han Joelo's Avatar
      Han Joelo -
      Parmalee is too low for me as well. I'd put him third based on batting. Other than that, no complaints. Personally, I think Morneau has a season that puts him in the MVP debate. But that is just my gut (full of beer) talking.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by big dog View Post
      Konerko, 2010: .312/.393/.584/.977
      Konerko, 2011: .300/.388/.517/.906
      Konerko, 2012: .298/.372/.486/.857
      I think dropping 120 points of OPS between ages 34 and 36 should make you cautious about what might happen at age 37.
      Age 34 was his best year OPS wise. So he went from an extraordinary season to his career average in 2 years(.858). Terrifying indeed.
    1. chuchadoro's Avatar
      chuchadoro -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      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.
      Rational Me would rank Mauer at #3 but that dude is a buzzkill.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      Every single 1 of those guys will have more HR's and RBI than Mr. Mauer. I wasn't ripping anyone.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Every single 1 of those guys will have more HR's and RBI than Mr. Mauer. I wasn't ripping anyone.
      Austin Jackson's career avg. for HR/RBI is 11/56.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Every single 1 of those guys will have more HR's and RBI than Mr. Mauer. I wasn't ripping anyone.
      You rank hitters on RBI? hmmm.....
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Every single 1 of those guys will have more HR's and RBI than Mr. Mauer. I wasn't ripping anyone.
      RBI? Really?

      (hint: RBI are far too correlated with team performance to be useful as an individual stat of merit)
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      RBI? Really?

      (hint: RBI are far too correlated with team performance to be useful as an individual stat of merit)
      Since consequences of team events do not count, does that mean that people shouldn't rip into Mauer for hitting into double plays?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Since consequences of team events do not count, does that mean that people shouldn't rip into Mauer for hitting into double plays?
      yes.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Since consequences of team events do not count, does that mean that people shouldn't rip into Mauer for hitting into double plays?
      Yes.

      Unless you also want to complain about that Albert Pujols guy. He hits into double plays all the time.

      At which point, everyone realizes that you are just an unreasonable person and ignores you.
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