A Lineup of Predictions From Various Sources

The 2011 MLB regular season will already be a week old tomorrow. As such, this is the last collection of predictions from external sources that I’m going to pass along. This batch includes AL Central predictions from 9 very diverse and different sites.

Just for fun – and since I have a number of these to share – I will award points to each of the 3 contenders based on order of finish. Thus 3 points will go to the team picked 1st, 2 points for 2nd, and 1 point for 3rd. At the end I will provide the total to get a “consensus” of these sites.

To get things started I will turn it over to 2 of my favorite minor experts covering the beautiful game of baseball these days. After that there is no real meaning to the order of these links/predictions

First from a national perspective, we have Baseball America’s own Jim Callis who slipped his picks into the latest installment of Ask BA.


Twins: 3 / Tigers: 2 / White Sox: 1

Next we turn to someone who is a little more TwinsCentric (sorry couldn’t resist). He was one of the first Twins writers/bloggers to welcome me to the world of Twins coverage when I was just starting out back in 2009. He was also the first to welcome me back when I returned to Twins coverage at the end of January. I am of course talking about the imcomperable Seth Stohs.


Twins: 3 / White Sox: 2 / Tigers: 1

Batting third in our prediction lineup is Big League Stew’s AL Central Preview. Kevin Kaduk and Ian Casselberry both project the order of finish and while they agree on the first place team, they disagree on who will finish 2nd. Since “Duk” runs the site, I’m going with his rankings, and yes, I am cherry picking with that selection.


White Sox: 3 / Twins: 2 / Tigers: 1

Next up was going to be the predictions of Pioneer Press writer Charley Walters. Unfortunately the link I had saved no longer routes to the correct place. I spent 15 minutes searching on Google and Bing in a futile attempt to find the article but either I’m completely missing something obvious or the column no longer exists on the website.

So … pinch hitting is Fragile Freddy’s 2011 AL Central Predictions. I had never visited this site up until I read this article and I could have chosen any one of several hundred articles like this one from any one of several hundred sites/blogs. However, this one stood out to me for the way he broke things down.

I also really liked what Freddy had to say about the AL Central as it makes a lot of sense to me (and jives with my own thinking):

At first glance a gripping division with the defending champion Twins, consistently strong White Sox and rejuvenated Tigers competing. I question if those latter two clubs are as good as first glance suggests. If they are the Wild Card may be available from this division as the Indians and Royals figure to be pushovers setting up some potentially nice win totals at the top of the division.

Twins: 3 / White Sox: 2 / Tigers: 1

Hitting 5th in our external predictions lineup is a Fan IQ article from “Scott.”

Twins: 3 / White Sox: 2 / Tigers: 1

This last round of predictions wouldn’t be complete without bringing up the lines out of Las Vegas. Of course, Vegas sets the odds but they aren’t exactly known for dropping quality analysis to go along with their numbers. Enter everyone’s favorite Twins Geek, John Bonnes to help dish up some meat to go with the Vegas potatoes.

Before checking out the article, remember that Vegas sets and adjusts their odds to get – and keep – even money on both sides of the betting ledger. When looking at over/under bets, this is a subtle difference to keep in mind. Also prediction systems like this, and the one Baseball Prospectus uses, tend to push everyone to the middle and closer to 0.500 than what they really should.

Twins: 3 / White Sox: 2 / Tigers: 1

Now I don’t condone betting on baseball, but if you do I’d take the over on both the Twins and White Sox, and the under on the Indians. Barry Daniels from the site donbest.com has a similar opinion of the Twins chances to surpass the Vegas line.

He doesn’t really pick the order of finish in the division but he likes the over on the Twins which I interpret to mean he likes them to win the AL Central. Since I have no clear indication of his feelings on 2nd and 3rd I’ll split the points.

Twins: 3 / White Sox: 1.5 / Tigers: 1.5

It seems like centuries ago but at one time The Sporting News was the source for baseball content. Now it’s just an afterthought for most people – if a thought at all and that is kind of sad in a way. Still it seems right to pay homage to the former giant by including their predictions here.

You have to piece things together from a few other previews to get the full picture, but their picks shake out like this:

White Sox: 3 / Tigers: 2 / Twins: 1

Finally, because I like to dream, I have to include the truly bold prediction from Redbird Rants Staff Writer and Call to the Pen columnist, Alex Brown. (See #8 in his list)

That’s right, Alex has the Twins ALCS bound in 2011. Unfortunately his first prediction is that the Red Sox will win the World Series* so know that he anticipates Minnesota will lose to Boston. Here’s hoping that ALDS win comes against the New York Yankees …

*Picking Boston is hardly a bold prediction but since he has our Twins reaching and advancing in the playoffs I’m going to give him a pass on that.

You will notice that Alex says nothing about the White Sox or Tigers but if you’ve been keeping track you already know that it doesn’t really matter so once again I’ll split the difference on their points.

Twins: 3 / White Sox: 1.5 / Tigers: 1.5

Conclusion:

One thing is fairly clear from the above, and the other sources I’ve linked to with predictions over the last month or so. The Twins are anything but the underdog. In fact, despite all the hemming and hawing, despite all the questions surrounding the team when spring training was getting under way, they are still the class of the AL Central. I believe that holds true on paper, on the field, down in the minors, and pretty much every other place you can think of to use as a measuring stick between the 3 organizations.

Here’s how the points break down:

24 Twins (1st Place Votes: 7)
18 White Sox (1st Place Votes: 2)
12 Tigers (1st Place Votes: 0)

Of course I’m biased, but most of the above sources are not. In tracking the picks of various writers/sites the thing that has surprised me more than anything is how few people are actually picking the Detroit Tigers to win the division. Most people tout the 2011 AL Central as a three-team race, but if that were really the case you’d expect more sources (and there are some outside of the state of Michigan) would stand up and pick them outright. Seems to me a majority of sources are calling is a 3-team race so they will be “less wrong” if the Tigers manage to finish in first.

For me, and you know this based on my own predictions, it’s only a two team race between Chicago and Minnesota. I don’t believe the Chicago White Sox can get past Minnesota, but I can at least understand why some people are picking them. I can’t say the same about Detroit.

Topics: Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins

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