View From the Center: A.L. Central Unsung Heroes
Welcome to "View From the Center," where our resident pseudo-expert slash Cincinnati Reds fan Jeff Gentil takes a regular rundown of the topics of interest within baseball's divisional landscape. Last week, managers. This week, unsung heroes.
Detroit Tigers: Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera are the bigger names on the Tigers' roster, so it's easy to see how Brennan Boesch gets overlooked. The rookie left fielder is second to Cabrera with 12 homers and third behind Cabrera and Ordonez with 45 RBI and he wasn't called up to Detroit until late April. In the year of the rookie, Boesch is definitely one of the most unsung.
Chicago White Sox: With eight wins to his credit, Freddy Garcia has already surpassed his win totals for the past three years combined. Basically given up for dead after 1-5 ('07), 1-1 ('08), and 3-4 ('09), Garcia is certainly in line for comeback player of the year with his 8-3 record and 4.66 ERA for the resurgent White Sox.
Cleveland Indians: Like Garcia, Austin Kearns was seemingly on his way out of baseball after his not so hot stint in Washington ended after the '09 season. The Indians took a chance, signed him to a one-year deal worth just $750,000, and he has rewarded them with a solid season of seven homers, 34 RBI, and a .275 batting average. Kearns has battled wrist injuries his whole career, but if he can avoid the injury bug, it could land him another nice contract.
Kansas City Royals: One of the finest young first basemen in the A.L. right now is they Royals' Billy Butler. The 24-year-old is quietly backing up his 21 homer, 93 RBI, and .301 batting average '09 campaign with seven homers, 40 RBI, and .320 average. Unfortunately, the only people who know about Butler are scouts.
Minnesota Twins: Morneau and Mauer all day everyday in Minnesota, right? Well, Jason Kubel doesn't get the attention he deserves. Last year, he hit 28 homers and drove in 103 runs. Who knew? This year, 10 homers and 42 RBI are a bit off that pace, but still a very good season so far.