Well, At Least David Schoenfield Likes The Royals
There is some interesting intra-division comparative stuff (position-by-position, player-by-player) in this ESPN analysis by David Schoenfield. I’ll tease you with Schoenfield’s conclusion (in two parts, bolds mine):
4. White Sox
I like the youthful exuberance of the Royals, plus the likelihood of improvement from the young players and the possibility of some midseason reinforcements from the minors. The depth of the bullpen will help bolster a shaky rotation and this just feels like an organization finally starting to believe in itself. The Indians are riding last year’s positive results and enter the season knowing they might get better production from Choo and Sizemore and full seasons from Kipnis and Chisenhall. I’m not knocking the Tigers here, but they do lack depth in the pitching staff and the pressure is on them.
The final tally
1. Tigers, 65 points
2. Royals, 55 points
3. Indians, 54 points
4. White Sox, 46 points
5. Twins, 35 points
No surprise here: The Tigers will be heavy favorites to win the division with a lineup that should score a ton of runs. I don’t think it’s a lock that they’ll win — Verlander, Avila, Peralta and Valverde will all be hard-pressed to repeat their 2011 campaigns, for example. But the Royals and Indians appear to have too many questions in the rotations, the White Sox have serious lineup issues and the Twins have a beautiful ballpark to play their games in.
I both like Schoenfield’s optimism and appreciate his cautions. It does indeed feel like a year where we’re about to turn the corner. Will it be this year or next? – TL