New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

The 2012 Central Division champion Detroit Tigers will open the 2013 season with arguably the strongest rotation in the division, but that’s not to say the other teams backed down from upgrading in the position this off-season. The Royals made a splash, bringing in James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa, while the Indians took a chance on right-hander Brett Myers. The White Sox open 2013 with Chris Sale as their No. 1 starter and the Twins made wholesale changes to their rotation, but the Tigers still look to have the edge for another division crown.

Earlier we looked at the National League West, the National League Central, the National League East, and the American League West

Now let’s look at how the rotations will potentially look come opening day in the American League Central.

Detroit Tigers

2012 Opening Day Rotation 2013 Projected Rotation
1. Justin Verlander: 17-8, 2.64 ERA, 2.94 FIP 1. Justin Verlander: 18-8, 3.00 ERA, 3.04 FIP
2. Doug Fister: 10-10, 3.45 ERA, 3.42 FIP 2. Doug Fister: 13-10, 3.69 ERA, 3.50 FIP
3. Max Scherzer: 16-7, 3.74 ERA, 3.27 FIP 3. Max Scherzer: 12-9, 3.72 ERA, 3.51 FIP
4. Rick Porcello: 10-12, 4.59 ERA, 3.91 FIP 4. Anibal Sanchez: 12-10, 3.72 ERA, 3.38 FIP
5. Drew Smyly: 4-3, 3.99 ERA, 3.83 FIP 5. Rick Porcello: 9-11, 4.50 ERA, 4.07 FIP

Thoughts: The Tigers re-signed Sanchez to a five year, $80 million contract after acquired the right-hander last season from the Marlins. Last year’s fifth starter to begin the season, Drew Smyly, is the next in line if the Tigers deal with any injuries to their top five in 2013.

Cleveland Indians

2012 Opening Day Rotation 2013 Projected Rotation
1. Justin Masterson: 11-15, 4.93 ERA, 4.16 FIP 1. Ubaldo Jimenez: 9-10, 3.97 ERA, 3.99 FIP
2. Ubaldo Jimenez: 9-17, 5.40 ERA, 5.06 FIP 2. Justin Masterson: 10-12, 4.01 ERA, 3.76 FIP
3. Derek Lowe: 9-11, 5.11 ERA, 4.37 FIP 3. Brett Myers: 10-7, 3.07 ERA, 3.23 FIP
4. Josh Tomlin: 5-8, 6.36 ERA, 5.09 FIP 4. Zach McAllister: 8-11, 4.50 ERA, 3.97 FIP
5. Jeanmar Gomez: 5-8, 5.96 ERA, 5.47 FIP 5. Trevor Bauer: 9-7, 3.62 ERA, 3.46 FIP

Thoughts: The Indians made more moves than many anticipated this past off-season, which included signing right-hander Brett Myers. The top three spots in the rotation are set, with the four and five spots to be determined out of spring. McAllister and Bauer will battle with Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Scott Kazmir, who has looked good so far this spring.

Chicago White Sox

2012 Opening Day Rotation 2013 Projected Rotation
1. John Danks: 3-4, 5.70 ERA, 5.01 FIP 1. Chris Sale: 14-8, 3.09 ERA, 3.14 FIP
2. Jake Peavy: 11-12, 3.37 ERA, 3.73 FIP 2. Jake Peavy: 14-9, 3.20 ERA, 3.26 FIP
3. Gavin Floyd: 12-11, 4.29 ERA, 4.46 FIP 3. John Danks: 9-10, 3.90 ERA, 4.07 FIP
4. Chris Sale: 17-8, 3.05 ERA, 3.27 FIP 4. Gavin Floyd: 8-10, 4.06 ERA, 4.12 FIP
5. Philip Humber: 5-5, 6.44 ERA, 5.77 FIP 5. Jose Quintana: 8-6, 3.80 ERA, 3.99 FIP

Thoughts: One of the bigger surprises for the White Sox in 2012 was Chris Sale, who will likely open 2013 as the number one guy in Chicago. John Danks, who underwent shoulder surgery last August, is expected to be ready in time for the start of the season. If Danks starts on the DL, Hector Santiago will likely take his spot in the rotation in the short-term.

Kansas City Royals

2012 Opening Day Rotation 2013 Projected Rotation
1. Bruce Chen: 11-14, 5.07 ERA, 4.73 FIP 1. James Shields: 12-12, 3.67 ERA, 3.75 FIP
2. Luke Hochevar: 8-16, 5.73 ERA, 4.63 FIP 2. Jeremy Guthrie: 10-12, 4.20 ERA, 4.62 FIP
3. Jonathan Sanchez: 1-9, 8.07 ERA, 6.60 FIP 3. Ervin Santana: 11-11, 4.04 ERA, 4.50 FIP
4. Luis Mendoza: 8-10, 4.23 ERA, 4.28 FIP 4. Wade Davis: 8-6, 3.49 ERA, 3.57 FIP
5. Danny Duffy: 2-2, 3.90 ERA, 3.96 FIP 5. Bruce Chen: 9-11, 4.25 ERA, 4.49 FIP

Thoughts: Where to start. The Royals 2013 rotation compared to the 2012 version is a complete re-model to say the least. Eighty percent of the 2012 squad aren’t projected to make the top five in 2013, which was expected after the Rays and Royals hooked up on that monster off-season deal that saw Kansas City bring in James Shields and Wade Davis. When your number one guy ends up as your number five after one year (enter Ricky Romero) you would think it’s a step in the right direction, although, these are the Royals we’re talking about here.

Minnesota Twins

2012 Opening Day Rotation 2013 Projected Rotation
1. Carl Pavano: 2-5, 6.00 ERA, 4.38 FIP 1. Vance Worley: 5-7, 4.06 ERA, 3.80 FIP
2. Francisco Liriano: 6-12, 5.34 ERA, 4.34 FIP 2. Kevin Correia: 9-11, 4.09 ERA, 4.29 FIP
3. Anthony Swarzak: 3-6, 5.03 ERA, 4.79 FIP 3. Mike Pelfrey: 7-6, 3.99 ERA, 3.77 FIP
4. Nick Blackburn: 4-9, 7.39 ERA, 6.09 FIP 4. Liam Hendriks: 6-7, 3.82 ERA, 3.61 FIP
5. Liam Hendriks: 1-8, 5.59 ERA, 5.57 FIP 5. Brian Duensing: 6-8, 4.29 ERA, 4.00 FIP

Thoughts: The Twins will feature a make over of sorts when it comes the rotation of 2013 compared to 2012. Like the Royals, the Twins are expected to have four new starters in 2013 with Vance Worley projected to be number one. Mike Pelfrey, coming off Tommy John surgery is feeling good this spring, making his one year deal for $4 million a potential steal for the Twins.

Stats and projections courtesy fangraphs