Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AL '09 Rookie Preview - AL Central

We continue our preview of the AL's top rookies with a look at the AL Central's up and comers.

White Sox

Chicago surprised just about everyone, but themselves, with their first place finish in the AL Central last season. The core of the team is in tact, but there is a hole at third base after the departure of Joe Crede. It's an opening that could be filled by a soon-to-be 20-yr old.

Dayan Viciedo defected from Cuba last May and was signed by the White Sox in December. He proved to be one of the shining stars in the Cuban baseball leagues after hitting .337 as a 16-yr old. Just 6'1", Viciedo had ballooned to 262 pounds last fall after his defection, but shed 15 pounds over the summer. The White Sox would like him to lose another 15 pounds prior to the start of the season.

Viciedo is a strong hitter, who showed in winter ball that he can handle breaking pitches. Defense is a question mark though and could lead to Viciedo eventually supplanting Paul Konerko at first base. For now, Viciedo will have competition at the hot corner with Josh Fields.

The back end of the rotation is up for grabs with prospects Lance Broadway, Clayton Richard, (former Yankee farm hand) Jeffrey Marquez, and Aaron Poreda in the mix.


Catcher Carlos Santana and outfielder Matt LaPorta should see plenty of playing time in 2010, but aren't expected to have much of an impact in the coming season. That leaves the bullpen as the only spot where a rookie will get a shot. One time top starting prospect Adam Miller could be that guy.


Detroit is heavily laden with veterans, with no rookies on the immediate horizon. 2007 first round pick Rick Porcello should be in the 2010 rotation if all goes as planned. It's doubtful the Tigers would rush him to the majors this season, but you never know.


The Twins have young players sprinkled throughout their lineup and starting rotation. The organization's top ranked prospect, Aaron Hicks, is just 18 years old, so he won't have an impact any time soon. If Joe Crede's back acts up, Danny Valencia could see some time at third base, but he's likely to spend the year at Triple-A.


No team uses more young players than KC (the 'C' may very well stand for cheap). Stud prospects Alex Gordon and Billy Butler currently man the corners. Mike Moustakas could join them at shortstop next season or this year if Mike Aviles doesn't pan out (or plays well and KC trades him before he can earn money).

Ranking the AL Central ROY Prospects

1. Dayan Viciedo
2. Matt LaPorta
3. Mike Moustakas
4. Rick Porcello

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