Back in April the Puckett’s Pond staff all sat down and wrote up some predictions for the 2012 season, a quick look at the cumulative records for the AL Central is listed below:
1. Detroit Tigers, 93-69
2. Minnesota Twins, 81-81
3. Kansas City Royals, 81-81
4. Cleveland Indians, 80-82
5. Chicago White Sox, 73-89
A look at the current standing in the AL Central look nothing like our pre-season predictions.
The White Sox have a 3 game lead in the AL Central and look to be strong contenders for the AL Central crown, in addition to a division best 47-38 record the White Sox sent four players to the All-Star game in Kansas City, Paul Konerko, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Adam Dunn. For the White Sox to hall back to the bottom of the division a lot of things would need to go wrong. Jake Peavy’s arm would need to fall off, which many fans though might actually happen this season. Chris Sale will have to skip a few starts in the second half of the season for his young arm to stay fresh, but unless a major arm injury comes along, he seems well on his way to scorching the league in 2012. Everyone said there was no way Adam Dunn could be has bad as his 2011 numbers, and he has bounced back quite well hitting 25 long balls in the first half of the season. Paul Konerko seems to only get better as he ages, and there is talk around MLB that he may have the best approach at the plate in all of MLB. I suspect the White Sox will finish well above the 73 wins Puckett’s Pond predicted this season, I look for the White Sox to continue their dominant play, finishing the season with a record of 89-72 which should be plenty of wins to take the AL Central crown in 2012.
The Cleveland Indians are 44-41 at the All-Star break and after a red hot start the Indians have come back to the pack again, very similar to last season when the Tribe was 47-42 at the break before tanking in the second half to finish 80-82. Puckett’s Pond predicted another 80-82 season for the Indians, and I suspect the Indians to continue to flounder as the season goes on. The end of the season will again find the Indians under .500, final record 80-82.
The Detroit Tigers came into the All-Star break at 44-42, having just righted their ship and found the good side of .500. The Tigers offense has sputtered this season and their defense, especially their infield defense has been downright terrible. Prince Fielder has only managed 15 long balls this season, the Red Sox’s cather, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, has more HR on the season! The Tigers offense is starting to mesh together and Prince has finally started to mash taters in his new home. I look for the Tigers to continue on their upward swing and challenge the mighty White Sox for the division crown. I don’t think the Tigers can get their win total up to 93 after their rough first half, but 88-73 seems reasonable for the Motown sluggers.
The Royals entered the break 10 games under .500 at 37-47. Those of us here at Puckett’s Pond looked for the Royals to finally start to put things together in 2012 but the youngsters in Kansas City are still playing like youngsters. Eric Hosmer is hitting .231 and both Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur are posting OBP under .300 which is borderline awful. The Royals have sent 10 different men to the mound to start games and none of those men have a win/loss record above .500 and only Felipe Paulino has a WHIP under 1.3. The Royals have shown flashes of the team they can be, but I don’t think they can play 10 games over in the second half. It looks to be another losing season in Kansas City, final record 77-85.
Our home town heroes, the Minnesota Twins sit at 36-49, ouch! Last season the club entered the break at 41-48. We’re 5 games behind the 63-99 team from last season. The Twins starting pitching in 2012 has been awful, save for Scott Diamond and the post-bullpen stint Francisco Liriano. The Twins bats have been performing this season and Joe Mauer is back to being Joe Mauer and leads the AL in on base percentage. Justin Morneau has show glimpses of power but is struggling mightily against LHP, although he’s started to come around. Injuries once again have played havoc on the Twins and 2012 is looking more and more like a repeat of 2011. Puckett’s Pond predicted a .500 season for the Twins in 2012, but already 13 games under, the Twins do not have the horses to pull themselves back up to the .500 mark. I look for the Twins to play above .500 in the second half, but to once again finish in the AL Central cellar. Final record for the 2012 Twins, 76-86.
It will be interesting to see what happens at the trade deadline this season. The Twins are in position to be sellers, but with the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) things will definitely be quite a bit different at the deadline, especially with the addition of the 2nd wild card. Check back to the Pond for all your Twins news and notes.
Follow @BaseballPirate on Twitter