Tag Archives: Jesse Crain

American League Central Previews- White Sox

Today’s Focus: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox will need to step it up in April and May to contend for the A.L. Central Division Title. Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham all did their part in ensuring a sub par April and May in  2010.

For the most part, the lineup looks to be pretty solid. The addition of Adam Dunn not only adds incredible power, but he also brings a much need left-handed bat in the middle of a right-handed heavy lineup. Gordon Beckham’s strong 2010 second half suggests a breakout campaign. The only glaring hole would be at 3B. Mark Teahan and Brent Morel will battle it out for the 3B job but this could be a possible platoon situation. Mark Teahan has a career .200 AVG vs. lefties and Brent Morel bats from the right side.

As for the pitching, they may have the best staff in the A.L. Central when it’s all said and done. The only issue I see is, we don’t know who will be filling in for Jake Peavy until his return. If they decide to go with Chris Sale, it will thin out their bullpen and they could go with a platoon of Jesse Crain, Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton in the closer spot.

Notable Losses: Manny Ramirez, Bobby Jenks, Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Scott Linebrink, Freddy Garcia

Notable Pick Ups: Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge, Will Ohman, Jesse Crain, Phillip Humber

If the White Sox can keep their heads above water during April and May, they will take the A.L. Central dethroning the Minnesota Twins.

American League Central Previews- Twins

Today’s Focus: Minnesota Twins

The Twins added speed to the lineup with the addition of Tsuyoshi Nishioka at SS. They will also be starting Alexi Casilla at 2B with the departure of Orlando Hudson. Other than that, it looks like the rest of the Minnesota’s offensive regulars will be returning in 2011.

In 2010, they had much more depth in the infield and bullpen which helped them tremendously down the stretch. Nick Punto played 2B, 3B, SS, and all 3 outfield spots in 2010 and he played them very well. He was arguably their best defender.

Morneau still has not begun baseball-related activities. Joe Nathan is making good progress from surgery last March. Nathan should be good to go to start the season but may be limited early. Michael Cuddyer (arthroscopic right knee surgery), Joe Mauer (left knee surgery), Scott Baker (right elbow surgery), Nick Blackburn (right elbow surgery) and Jason Repko (left thumb surgery), should all be ready to go by Spring Training.

The team was able to resign Carl Pavano, Jim Thome and Francisco Liriano. Liriano signed for a one year deal to avoid arbitration. Liriano is said to have wanted a 3 year $39 million contract. There is a possibility that Liriano will be traded. That leaves only Delmon Young left to sign. After Delmon Young signs, the Twins will be done this offseason putting their payroll around $110 million.

Notable Losses: J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Nick Punto

Notable Pick Ups: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Dusty Hughes

If the Twins trade Francisco Liriano their rotation would look like, 1) Carl Pavano, 2) Scott Baker, 3) Brian Duensing, 4) Kevin Slowey, 5) Nick Blackburn. The White Sox are going to give them a run for their money even if they kept Liriano. Their reign at the top of the A.L. Central will come to an end this year.