Jul 20, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) scores in the 6th inning against the Houston Astros at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Now, let’s take a look at the position players of both the White Sox and the Tigers.
Here are the position players for the Tigers:
C-Alex Avila (.218, 11 HRs, 47 RBIs)
1B-Miguel Cabrera (.313, 25 HRs, 109 RBIs)
2B-Ian Kinsler (.275, 17 HRs, 92 RBIs)
3B-Nick Castellanos (.259, 11 HRs, 66 RBIs)
SS-Jose Iglesias (DNP in 2014)
LF-Rajai Davis (.282, 8 HRs, 51 RBI)
CF-Yoenis Cespedes (.260, 22 HRs, 100 RBIs)
RF-Anthony Gose (.226, 2 HRs, 13 RBIs)
DH-Victor Martinez (.335, 32 HRs, 103 RBIs)
Now for the White Sox and their position players:
C-Tyler Flowers (.241, 15 HRs, 50 RBIs)
1B-Jose Abreu (.317, 36 HRs, 107 RBIs)
2B- (TBD-Spring Training battle)
3B-Conor Gillaspie (.282, 7 HRs, 57 RBIs)
SS-Alexei Ramirez (.273, 15 HRs, 74 RBIs)
LF-Melky Cabrera (.301, 16 HRs, 73 RBIs)
CF-Adam Eaton (.300, 1 HR, 35 RBIs)
RF-Avisail Garcia (.244, 7 HRs, 29 RBIs-missed several months)
DH-Adam LaRoche (.259, 26 HRs, 92 RBIs)
While both lineups are about even, a lot will depend on two things. First, the return of Garcia to the White Sox lineup. If he can come back and become the player the Sox think he can, the South Siders may have a terrific offense.
Sep 25, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) hits a two run home run in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Another key this time for Detroit is Victor Martinez. His production will have a big impact on Miguel Cabrera, therefore a major cog to the Detroit lineup in Martinez. If he falls off the cliff, Detroit is in trouble. If he continues to be great, or at least good, the Tigers’ offense should thrive.
Obviously, Abreu and Cabrera are the big bats in each order, but I think that Abreu may have a bit more around him. Keep in mind, the Tigers are beginning to age, and that could hurt them. Don’t forget, there is no Austin Jackson at the top of Detroit’s lineup as he has been in past years.
I am not trying to slight Kansas City or Cleveland by leaving them out, it is just that Detroit is the four-time reigning AL Central champ. Either of those two teams could end up challenging the White Sox instead of Detroit, it is just that Detroit has to be beaten before they can be considered anything but the favorite.
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Regardless, this could be a four-team race that goes down to the wire. Since the AL is trending towards average, I think the winner of the Central in 2015 will win 86-89 games.
I also wouldn’t be shocked if the second wild card winner is in that total as well. White Sox fans, don’t be shocked to see the South Siders playing meaningful September baseball … and maybe even October baseball.