March 30, 2003

Aaron's Baseball Blog 2003 Season Preview: AL Central

Other Previews:

American League East

American League West

National League East

National League Central

National League West

Last year's standings:

AL Central        W      L    Win%      GB

Minnesota 94 67 .584 ----
Chicago 81 81 .500 13.5
Cleveland 74 88 .457 20.5
Kansas City 62 100 .383 32.5
Detroit 55 106 .342 39.0

This year's prediction:

I started to write previews for all the AL Central teams when I realized 2 things: 1) I have already written a combined 25,000 words on the Twins and White Sox for and 2) there is absolutely no chance that a team other than those 2 ends up even competing for this division or the Wild Card.

So, check out the abbreviated AL Central preview and make sure to go read my gigantic, in-depth previews that I wrote on the Twins and White Sox for Baseball Primer.

Looking Forward to 2003: Minnesota Twins (by Aaron Gleeman)

Looking Forward to 2003: Chicago White Sox (by Aaron Gleeman)


94-67 (.584) | 1st Place

768 Runs Scored (9th) | 712 Runs Allowed (6th)

I am not even going to attempt to say anything new or interesting about the Twins' 2003 season because I have already written 15,000 words on them for Baseball Primer and how much more could I possibly have to say?

If you haven't already, I urge you to check out my Twins preview. I put a lot of work into it and I think you'll enjoy it quite a bit:

Looking Forward to 2003: Minnesota Twins (by Aaron Gleeman)


81-81 (.500) | 2nd Place (13.5 GB)

856 Runs Scored (3rd) | 798 Runs Allowed (8th)

Ditto with the White Sox. I wrote a nice little 10,000 word preview for them over at Baseball Primer that I would love for everyone to check out.

Looking Forward to 2003: Chicago White Sox (by Aaron Gleeman)


74-88 (.457) | 3rd Place (20.5 GB)

739 Runs Scored (10th) | 837 Runs Allowed (10th)

The AL Central is very clearly in a 2-1-2 alignment, much like the AL East. I don't see any circumstance where Chicago or Minnesota would finish outside of the top 2, Cleveland would not finish 3rd and Kansas City and Detroit would not finish 4-5 in some order.

I suppose it could happen, but I just don't see it.

I really like the rebuilding Cleveland has done with their farm system and I could definitely see them seriously contending by about 2005, but their rotation this year is a complete mess (Brian Anderson and Jason Bere!) and I don't envision their offense performing like the 1927 Yankees or anything. Still, they're good enough that they shouldn't have to worry about KC or Detroit catching them anytime soon.

Prediction: Travis Hafner is going to have a big season, so keep an eye out for him.


62-100 (.383) | 4th Place (32.5 GB)

737 Runs Scored (11th) | 891 Runs Allowed (13th)

The Royals are the best of the worst, which isn't saying a whole lot when their competition is the Tigers.

Carlos Beltran is starting the season on the DL and if he stays there for a long time I could see the Royals finishing in the cellar, but otherwise they should beat Detroit by at least 5 games.


55-106 (.342) | 5th Place (39.0 GB)

575 Runs Scored (14th) | 864 Runs Allowed (11th)


Detroit walked 363 times last year (the fewest by a team in like 30 years) and scored the fewest runs in MLB. And yet their offense might just be a little worse this year.

They got rid of 2 of their top 3 hitters from last year, Randall Simon and Robert Fick. Now, those 2 guys are no great shakes, but they were still 2 of the most valuable Tigers last year. The good news is that the fences at Comerica have been moved in, which should help their raw offensive totals and at least make it seem like their offense is improved over last season. Still, they could move the fences into the infield and Detroit would have a hard time scoring 700 runs.

Right now their rotation includes a grand total of 18 career major league wins, which is the 4th fewest for an opening-day rotation since 1902 (thanks to Rob Neyer's most recent column for that tidbit).

The good news for me in all of this mess is that the Twins get to open the season against the Tigers, in Detroit. Anything less than 2 out 3 will probably have me ready to cancel the season, so the Twins better take care of business.

Okay, that's it for the division previews. I hope you all enjoyed them and I want to thank everyone that sent me emails with their own thoughts on the divisions. Make sure to check back tomorrow for a very special opening day entry.

By the way, did I mention TOMORROW IS OPENING DAY?!?!?!? I'm kinda excited, can you tell?

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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