Using this preview: Some players will be spotlighted and there will be some knee-jerk rankings of each teams lineup, rotation and bullpen. Team previews, born from a desire to design a better cheat sheet, will start with the American League East and finish in the National League West. More previews here.
American League Central
- Stud: Miguel Cabrera, OF — Salivate over these upside numbers: .320, 40 homers, 125 RBIs, 100 runs, .950 OPS.
- Bust: Gary Sheffield, DH — On draft day, remember this is not the same Gary Sheffield who went 20-20 with 100 runs and an .830 OPS two years ago. The decline has begun. As with most busts, get him at a great value or don’t get him at all.
- Sleeper: Marcus Thames, DH/OF — He’ll get enough at-bats, between playing as a backup and filling in for Sheffield when he gets hurt, that he’ll probably get 300 at bats — he’s been around 300 each of the last three years. Those ABs will get you 20+homers, 50 RBIs, 50 runs and an .800 OPS.
- Prospect to watch: Rick Porcello, SP — He had three strikeouts and gave up no runs in two innings of work so far this preseason. The 20-year-old is close to ready and he’ll debut this season. Probably only for deep keeper-leaguers on draft day, but remember the name.
- Wild Card: Armando Galarraga, SP — Torn between Curtis Granderson — who was solid, did not meet expectations, and will bounce back to top tier in 2009 — I went with Galarraga here. The young pitcher threw 178 innings last year and had very respectable ERA and WHIP numbers. His strikeouts weren’t eye-opening, but he was good enough he’ll be drafted by a lot of teams. His performance will determine if this staff is top of the hill or middle of the road.
- Starter you may not know but should: Brandon Lyon, RP — Relievers Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya probably figured they’d get the call once Todd Jones departed. Instead, the Tigers brought in Lyon, who saved 26 games last season for the Diamondbacks. he’s hardly a sure thing, but you probably won’t have to pay a lot for him either.
B — Very solid lineup, with Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Cabrera, Sheffield, Thames.
B — If Galarraga pans out, there’s a solid three here with Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman. If Edwin Jackson and Dontrelle Willis can provide a couple quality starts, they’ll keep the back end of the rotation warm until Porcello arrives.
C — No studs here, but there’ll be some saves between Lyon, Rodney and Zumaya. Draft Lyon late and be ready to pick up whoever replaces him by midseason.
To read all of Chinstrap Ninjas team previews, go here.