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Friday, February 04, 2005
AL Central -- Position by Position -- 1B

Spurred on by this terrible article in the Tribune yesterday, which compared the Sox and Cubs, position by position, Cheat's Chisox Blog has emerged from hibernation. Rather than point out the obvious flaws in the article, or even bother to compare the Sox to that club on the northside, I've decided to give a position by position rundown of the AL Central. I'm not gonna try and use this comparison to predict an order of finish, but rather just to help give a scouting report for the entire AL Central.

PlayerTeamCareer OPS+2004 OPS+
KonerkoChi Sox111123
SweeneyKansas City120123

Without a doubt, this is them most even position battle in the AL Central. Sweeney checks in as the grandfather of the group at age 30. He's also been the most feared hitter of the bunch over his career. Sweeney's plate discipline eroded last season from a career line of (.305/.377/.498) to (.287/.347/.504), but if it should return, he's once again the best of the bunch.

Morneau is the baby of this group at age 23, and could improve on his already impressive 2004 totals(.271/.340/.536). Morneau hit 41 HR's between Rochester and Minneapolis last season. If he starts to hit for average like he did in the minors(career .310 hitter in the minors), he could surpass Sweeney as the most feared first baseman in the AL Central.

Broussard had a break out season at age 27, but I would be surprised to see him improve on his 2004 season(.275/.370/.488). His counting stats may improve, but that will probably only be because of increased playing time.

Konerko broke in with the sox as a good average, decent power first baseman. After a disappointing second half in his All-Star season of 2002, and a horrible season in 2003, Konerko rebounded to put up the best numbers of any first baseman in the AL in 2004 with 41 HRs and 117 RBIs. Although Konerko's average has taken a little bit of a dip, if he can continue to take advantage of the friendly offensive conditions at USCF, he should reach the 35HR 100+ RBI plateau once again.

Carlos Pena has yet to really put together a productive season as a firstbaseman in the major leagues. A career line of .244/.331/.456 isn't exactly what I'm looking for from a position where a premium is put on offensive production.