I’ll probably make this a regular feature, since I need something easy to write with finals week coming up in less than a month. Two weeks into the season, our Twins have the second best record in the AL, and the best run differential in the division. They really do look like the class of the AL Central, and I don’t think this is a fluke. First of all, simply looking at average runs scored per game and average runs allowed, the Twins are far and away the best in the AL Central, with 5.31 and 3.62, respectively. I do expect the starting rotation to regress a little, but overall it looks like a pretty solid group, and the bullpen should continue to be lights-out. As for the rest of the division: the Tigers have a great starting rotation (yes, even with Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman bringing up the rear), and a pretty mediocre offense. The Indians have a thoroughly average starting rotation and a pretty craptastic offense, though I expect the offense will start producing a little better than 3.75 runs per game. The Royals actually have a mediocre offense this year, which is a vast improvement over completely terrible, but it doesn’t matter when their pitching staff is giving up an average 6.08 runs per game. The White Sox are in the same boat as the Tigers, so while I don’t expect them to finish dead last, it’s hard to imagine them posing much of a threat.
1) Joe Mauer, 8.0. Man Muscles is bound and determined to earn every penny of his $184 million contract before it even starts. Even though he’s batting third, he’s also got 10 RBI already, which speaks well of the on-base skills of the guys hitting ahead of him. In light of the miserable production the Twins got out of the 2-spot last year, the Orlando Hudson signing is looking pretty good. Anyway, since it was his birthday yesterday, and I heart both him and the Sugarcubes, here’s the Sugarcubes:
2) Justin Morneau, 6.9. The Mountie is a distant second to his man-muscled BFF, but he’s batting .319/.467/.511 and just generally making my fantasy team proud. At least until August.
3) Michael Cuddyer, 3.8. Despite his much ballyhooed struggles with runners in scoring position, Cuddles is currently the third-most valuable hitter on the team. He’s also tied with Man Muscles for RBI, so there.
1) Francisco Liriano, 4.8. F-bomb is back.
2) Scott Baker, 4.3. The Opening Day Starter has rebounded nicely from his pitiful performance in Anaheim, surrendering only three runs over 14 innings, with a 9/1 K/BB ratio in his last couple of starts.
3) Matt Guerrier, 4.3. That’s right, as of now Mayor McCheese is the third-most valuable pitcher on the team. He’s tossed 7.1 innings already this season, already among the league leaders. Maybe this will be the year the Mayor’s arm finally falls off.