2010 MLB Preview: AL Central

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Next up is the AL Central.

1. Chicago White Sox (9)
Some folks will think that this is too high for the White Sox – that they should be behind the Twins and out of the top 10 in terms of the overall power rankings. Some folks will say that Jake Peavy won’t be healthy all season and that the Chi Sox will once again falter as they try to live station to station on offense. Well, I say the folks that disagree with my opinion are friggin idiots. Harsh? Yeah, but it also needed to be said. I realize that I’m taking a risk by moving the Sox to the head of the AL Central, but really, it’s hard to argue that this division isn’t a crapshoot anyway. Every team has question marks heading into the season but at the end of the day, pitching makes or breaks a team. I realize Peavy missed all of last year due to injury, but the Sox were second in the AL in pitching last season with a 4.14 ERA without him. If he stays healthy, Peavy will only add to Chicago’s solid rotation (which also features Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia) and the addition of J.J. Putz should bolster the bullpen as well. Outside of injuries, the only thing that could potentially hold Chicago back this year is its offense. What do you mean that’s kind of a big deal? I’m banking that youngster Gordon Beckham develops quickly and that Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios return to form. I also think the Sox will get key contributions from the additions GM Kenny Williams made this offseason in Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen. I’m not expecting the Sox to magically transform into the Yankees of the AL Central, but I do believe they have enough offense to get by while their pitching carries them to a playoff berth.

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Adam Carolla throws out first pitch at Dodgers game…and the second, and the third…

It never ceases to amaze me how bad celebrities are throwing out the first pitch at baseball games.

Case in point, Adam Carolla at a recent Dodgers game:

When told of Carolla’s performance during the first pitch ceremonies, Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre shrugged and said, “It couldn’t have been any worse than Juan Pierre’s throws home.”

Top 10 Active MLB Triples Leaders

To hit home runs and doubles usually requires power, but to hit triples requires a bit of power and a lot of speed. Or sometimes, luck, such as when an outfielder misjudges a ball and lets an otherwise slow runner reach third. But the leaders in MLB in this category are seasoned speedsters, and have mostly done it for several years. Here is the active Top 10 in triples, including only players on active rosters in 2009:

1. Johnny Damon, New York Yankees (93)—At age 35 and having battled injuries throughout his career, Damon has lost a step or two. But between 1998 and 2002, this sparkplug reached double digits in triples three times.

2. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (90)—Rollins is the heart and soul of the Phillies, and is one of the reasons they won a title in 2008. He’s only 30, but has reached double figures in triples five times, including a career high 20 in 2007.

3. Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays (85)—Crawford is a game-changer, and in his still young career has averaged 15 triples and 53 stolen bases per season.

4. Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals (78)—Still a very good hitter, but Guzman isn’t the triples or stolen base threat he was in his earlier days with Minnesota. His career high, like Rollins, was also 20 triples, set in 2000 with the Twins.

5. Jose Reyes, New York Mets (73)—Arguably one of the two or three fastest players in the game, Jose has averaged 16 triples and 65 steals over the last four seasons. So how in the world do the Mets not score more runs?

6. Omar Vizquel, Texas Rangers (72)—This one is more about longevity, but Omar did have a career best 10 triples with the Giants in 2006, at the ripe old baseball age of 39.

7. Juan Pierre, Los Angeles Dodgers (71)—Ol’ Juan has slowed down just a bit too, but he’s hit double digits in triples four times during his career, including three straight times from 2004-2006.

8. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets (64)—Does anyone remember that Carlos Beltran played seven seasons in Kansas City? I mean, did he really?

8. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (64)—Ichiro bats for average and steals more bases than he does hit extra base hits. But he’s averaged 8 triples per season during his American big league career.

10. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (57)—Jeter is just a true professional and great baseball player, but his career high in triples, 9, came ten seasons ago.

Source: Baseball Reference

UNIforms – Not So Much


From Merriam-Webster.com…



1 : having always the same form, manner, or degree : not varying or variable


1. : dress of a distinctive design or fashion worn by members of a particular group and serving as a means of identification ; broadly : distinctive or characteristic clothing

Juan Pierre is my hero. I instantly regret having that thought as I neither believe it nor do I want to lose any credibility as a writer. It’s just that, for the purposes of this piece, Pierre exemplifies what I feel is the perfect uniform attire. In his ten years as a professional baseball player, Pierre has been on five clubs yet always dressed exactly the same despite working with different material, jersey cuts, and color combinations. We’ll use his style with his current team, the Dodgers, as an example. Given the Dodgers white/blue combination, Pierre chooses to wear blue gloves, blue cleats, and blue socks, which I might add, he fully displays by hiking his pants up to his knees. Perhaps I get a kick out of Pierre so much because he dresses like my teams used to do in little league — but what purer form of baseball is there than that? Not only does he look like an anxious pre-teen out on the field, but he usually wears his cap under his helmet when he bats, which little leaguers must do because of the awkward size and feel of the helmets.

Pierre’s style harkens back to an earlier baseball era, when uniforms made the player look trim and clean cut, not sloppy and careless. The only thing Pierre’s getup is missing is a pair of stirrups, but I think Jamie Moyer is the only one advanced enough to pull those off. Point is, Pierre dresses in a classy and non-distracting manner that would make a manager like Tony La Russa or Joe Torre proud. Nowadays, players make so many adjustments to their attire that a team’s uniform is anything but, and quite frankly, it’s irritating.

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Top 10 MLB Active Stolen Base Leaders

The baseball season, and more importantly to some of you, the fantasy baseball season, is underway. Some fantasy GM’s, myself included, usually stock up on home run hitters and focus less on stolen bases. It’s a matter of taste and a matter of how your league keeps score. But some speedsters can be difference-makers, and here is a list of the active Top 10 in stolen bases to date, excluding those who are technically active but not currently on a major league roster:

1. Juan Pierre, Los Angeles Dodgers (429)—I had to do a double take. Juan Pierre, still playing? Why yes, he’s only 30 years old, and he had 40 stolen bases for the Dodgers last season. He could easily reach 500 by late next season, putting him in the career company of Luis Aparicio and Paul Molitor, among others.

2. Omar Vizquel, Texas Rangers (385)—He’s 42 and a backup now, but how about Omar’s ’99 season in Cleveland when he hit .333 with 42 steals? The fact that Omar finished 16th in the MVP voting that season says more about the steroid era than it does about his season. Today he’d probably finish in the top 5 with those numbers.

3. Johnny Damon, New York Yankees (363)—It’s hard to believe Johnny Damon has been in the league since 1995, but he has, and he’s been a pesky leadoff hitter the entire time, averaging an impressive 30 steals per season.

4. Luis Castillo, New York Mets (342)—He’s not the speedster he once was, but Castillo stole a modest 17 bases last year while not at 100%, and he’s still only 33 years young.

5. Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles Angels (318)—Bobby has that rare combination of speed, power and the ability to hit for average. It’s amazing he was on the free agent market this past winter for as long as he was.

6. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (315)—The amazing thing about Ichiro is that he’s only entering his ninth season in the American major leagues. Once he returns from the DL from a stomach ulcer, he’s going to keep adding to this total, probably for several years.

7. Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays (302)—One of the game’s most exciting young players, and he’s only 27 years old.

8. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies (295)—Rollins is another guy who does it all, including hit for power and play the field like a wizard. A legitimate MVP candidate year after year, and a big reason the Phils won it all in 2008.

9 (tie). Mike Cameron, Milwaukee Brewers (291)—If Cameron had a higher career batting average than his .250 mark, he’d no doubt have more steals by now as well. But .291 is still pretty impressive for any player.

9 (tie). Jose Reyes, New York Mets (291)—One of the cornerstones of the Mets’ franchise and a guy that has contended for the stolen base title every season of his career. Reyes is only 26 years old, and AVERAGING 62 steals per season. That’s just mind-boggling.

Source: Baseball Reference

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