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    March 15th, 2011

    Division Preview AL West

    by fantasyfootballmaniaxs

    The Texas Rangers represented the division in the World Series in 2010. How will the division shape out in 2011? Here is the preview of all the teams in the AL West and their projected record to end the season.

    Texas Rangers 2010 Record (90-72 finished first in AL West)

    The Rangers appeared in the World Series for the first time in franchise history in 2010 but lost to the San Francisco Giants in five games.

    Texas defeated Tampa Bay in the American League Division Series and the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

    The Rangers have arguably one of the most dangerous lineups in the American League with 2010 MVP Josh Hamilton. Add in a healthy Ian Kinsler at second base, the speedy Elvis Andrus at short stop and their newest free-agent acquisition Adrian Beltre.

    Hamilton, 29, won his first MVP award last season as he hit for an average of .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI. The three-time all-star also won the sliver slugger award in 2010. Hamilton played in 133 games last season. If healthy, I expect another MVP caliber season from Hamilton.

    Kinsler missed most of April last season with an ankle injury but was still named to the all-star team. He also suffered a groin injury in late July and only played 103 games. Kinsler hit nine home runs and drove in 45 with a .286 batting average. The two-time all-star hopes to stay healthy this season. He expressed to the media that he is going to take care of himself in the spring and plans to be on the field with no injuries on opening day.

    The Rangers will need Kinsler to play everyday at second base. When healthy he can rake the baseball as he set career highs in home runs (31) and RBI (86) in 2009. Kinsler and the Texas Rangers hope he can eclipse those numbers in 2011…

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    March 15th, 2011

    MLB Division Preview: AL Central

    by fantasyfootballmaniaxs

    Spring training is well under way! Part II will focus on the season preview of the AL Central. The Twins came away the champs of the division last year. Do they have what it takes to repeat, or can the Tigers or White Sox swoop in and take the AL Central crown away from the Twins?

    Minnesota Twins: 2010 Record: 94-68 (AL Central champions)

    The Minnesota Twins lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series in 2010. The Twins are always under great leadership with manager Ron Gardenhire and will look to win another division championship in 2011.

    Francisco Liriano anchors their rotation. Liriano struggled in 2009, as he compiled a 5-13 record with an ERA of 5.80. The southpaw bounced back in a major way in 2010, as he tallied a 14-10 record with an ERA of 3.62 in 31 starts. The Twins will need a season similar to 2010 from Liriano to win the division.

    Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn will fill spots two through five. Kevin Slowey has an outside shot to win the No. 5 spot as well.

    Their bullpen from the eighth inning on could be considered one of the best in the American League with Matt Capps and Joe Nathan.

    Nathan is returning from Tommy John surgery and will look to take the closer spot that was his previous to last year.

    From 2004 through 2009 Nathan recorded at least 36 saves with a career-high 47 in 2009. Capps recorded 42 saves last season for the Nationals and Twins. With two 40-plus save men at the back end of the bullpen, this could strike fear in opponents who are trailing entering into the final stages of games.

    Their offense is led by star Joe Mauer. The Twins catcher homered nine times in 2010, down from his career-high 28 in 2009. Their ballpark factors in eight percent less than the major league average in home runs, so the lack of power numbers didn’t surprise me in Year One of Target Field. I expect 10 to 15 home runs from Mauer this season…

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