The stat wizards over at Baseball Prospectus released their projected standings for the 2009 Major League Baseball season.
BP has the Cleveland Indians winning what is predicted to be a very weak AL Central race, finishing five games ahead of the second-place Minnesota Twins. The Chicago White Sox are picked to finish last, which comes as a surprise to me despite the fact I feel they took a step back this offseason. I really don’t think they’ll be THAT bad, though.
Actually, BP only has the White Sox 10 games out of first place. That would be pretty amazing if the last-place team in a division was that close to the division title, but mediocrity does breed parity.
BP also has the Twins – along with the Los Angeles Dodgers – as having the worst slugging percentage in baseball this coming season. The big difference between the Twins and Dodgers, though, is one of the teams is in the market to improve their lineup with Manny Ramirez.
The Indians have a pretty unbalanced lineup sporting one of the best players in the game – Grady Sizemore - but a lot of also-rans at the bottom of it. They have a good young rotation, but their bullpen struggled last season and they did little this offseason to improve it. Kerry Wood helps, but you still have to find guys to get the ball to Wood.
Sound familiar? The Indians remind me a lot of the Twins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see those two teams duking it out for the division title in September.