CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 23: Starting pitcher Zach McAllister #57 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field on August 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Here's a the latest out of the American League Central, where Prince Fielder is already hitting monster home runs, expectations are somehow already out of control for the Royals, and the Twins are invisible:
- Jordan Bastian of mlb.com gives an Indians ST update and notes that Zach McAllister is in the mix for the 5th rotation spot.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star profiles Bubba Starling's adjustment to life as a pro, and the expectations that go with it. Dutton notes that Baseball America puts him in the same company of "franchise players and No. 1 starters such as Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Roy Halladay." If you're measuring at home, those are four of the greatest players that have ever lived. Perhaps it's time to dial this one back a notch.
- Jerry Crasnick profiles the many young Royals and points out that Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon both know the pitfalls of high expectations. Crasnick makes the common mistake of saying Gordon's career was "near washout" without noting injuries and his relative effectiveness despite them.
- Tom Gage of The Detroit News reports that the Brandon Inge at 2nd Base experiment looks like it might work.
- Jim Margalas of South Side Sox looks at Alex Rios' batting stance:
This spring, Alex Rios is open-minded - South Side Sox
It's wise to be skeptical about Rios' ability to reverse course, no matter how he stands in the box. He owns a .250/.293/.392 for his White Sox career, and that didn't happen by accident. And hell, if the arthritic toe is a bigger deal than he's made of it, there might be no sustainable bounce-back in sight.
But if you want to be optimistic, an open stance might help address his biggest problem. He used to use the whole field, but since we've seen him, he's developed a bad habit of pulling his body towards third base as the bat's coming through the zone, which results in a ton of grounders to the left side.