The Twins have a knack for finding a way to win the division and returns from key players will be needed for a repeat. A couple of question marks with two key starters and a diminished bullpen with it's own uncertainty make a repeat look like an uphill battle. The White Sox made some acquisitions to bolster their squad and look ready to make a run for the top. Detroit didn't stand still either making this a three horse race that should be exciting to the final week. Cleveland and Kansas City will duke it out for last place and hope for healthy seasons from a few of their hobbled youngsters who will be key to any rebuilding plans.
More after the jump and feel free to comment on any injury news you may have heard.
Asdrubal Cabrera - A forearm injury caused Cabrera to miss 57 games last year and a wrist issue seemed to sap his power, not that he had much to begin with. All things point to a full recovery so he could be a surprise performer in 2011. He won't stand out in any one area so his ceiling is limited but he should get plenty of run scoring opportunities hitting near the top of the Indians lineup.
Justin Morneau - The former MVP was making a run at a second award when a concussion ko'd his season. Morneau seems to be all systems go and as long as there are no more lingering issues he should return to form. Aaron Hill bounced back from a concussion nicely in 2009 so Morneau should be fine. With that said, every concussion is different so watch him in spring training and get ready to pounce if he slips in drafts.
Grady Sizemore - Sizemore does not sound confident when talking about his knee so it's hard to have faith in a bounceback performance this year. The injury is sure to sap some of his speed and the power is also a question mark. He was never a high AVG guy so if he doesn't have the speed and or the power he isn't a very attractive fantasy option. 20-20 is still in the cards but the odds seem low.
Scott Baker - Baker had minor elbow surgery in the offseason and has reported inflammation heading into spring training. He should be fine but it's worth noting the issues.
Kevin Slowey - Slowey missed the playoffs with arm trouble but should be good to go opening day. Injuries have become part of his summer ritual and he is best avoided. He could be valuable if he pitched 200 innings but that's a pipe dream.
Joe Nathan - Nathan's velocity is down a few MPH but he is still less than a year removed from elbow surgery and he should gain speed as he gets further from the date he went under the knife. Wait and see how he does during spring training as he may miss some time to start the season if he's not quite ready.
Jake Peavy - It's safe to say the triple crown days are over but is it time to write Peavy off altogether? He missed the final three months of the season with a detached shoulder muscle. There isn't a similar precedent for this type of injury so how he comes back in a mystery. He is ahead of schedule in his rehab but remains questionable for opening day. When he returns owners might be able to have a pitcher with around 8 K/9 and 3 BB/9 with a decent GB% on a powerful offensive team. His fastball is probably the pitch to monitor and if it's not back around 91 it might be time to back off. At age 29 this workhorse should have some productive years left ahead of him just don't expect them to be elite.
Luke Hochevar - The former #1 overall pick battled elbow woes last year. The Royals will count on him to step up with the departure of Zack Grienke and the 27 year old has shown signs of life. The Royals won't give him many wins but he could put up some decent strikeout numbers if healthy.
Magglio Ordonez - When in the lineup Ordonez remains an effective hitter but he is getting on in years and injuries are becoming frequent. A broken ankle ended his 2010. He may be healed in 2011 but his production was slipping and with the injury risk he is best left alone. The Tigers will need his production in their lineup if they want to keep pace with the Twins and Sox.
Carlos Santana - A nasty knee injury ended his rookie campaign but in the short time in the league he has already shown he has the stuff to be a force for years to come. If Santana is fully healed he could finish 2011 among the top 5 catchers in the game.
Carlos Guillen - With decent power and second base eligibility Guillen may be an interesting option. If healthy enough to play everyday he may be a surprisingly useful back-up at 2nd but I wouldn't bet on that happening. He is questionable at the start of spring training and may miss some time to start the season.