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Al Central Update: White Sox Win, Twins Lose To Put Magic Number At 7

Another guy on the 40-man, another guy without minor league success. The 25-year-old Jones posted a 4.17 FIP in high-A Winston-Salem in 2010. Like the last few pitchers listed, he’s on the 40-man, so I’ll say he gets a shot, but don’t expect him to be much of a factor in this race.

Man, does that seem like a long time ago. The only time “confident” is used with Jerry Owens at this point is when people say they’re confident Owens has played his way off the major league club.

Overall, these five players combined for 62% of the relief innings in 2010, but the damage done by other pitchers getting significant action was hard to overcome. Henry Rodriguez (4.55 ERA in 27 2/3 innings), Boof Bonser (5.09, 23), Tyson Ross (5.12, 31.2) and Chad Gaudin (8.83, 17.1) accounted for 23% of the relief innings last season, and when almost a quarter of your bullpen innings are that bad, it makes it hard for a team to stay in games when the offense isn’t playing well.

Lefty Craig Breslow turned in an admirable season in the bullpen, posting five saves in Bailey’s absence. He also notched 16 holds with a 3.01 ERA on the year — while striking out 71 batters in 74 2/3 innings, too.

National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.

To that point, Detroit’s own trio of relievers have equaled the task, as Ryan Perry, Fernando Rodney, and Bobby Seay have also gone 7.1 innings without yielding a run.

He’s not on the 40-man roster, but Leesman was one of 14 non-roster invitees to spring training. He’s an organizational favorite-also the best pitching prospect in the organization not named sale jerseys, but that’s also not saying much-who posted a nice 3.05 FIP with double-A Birmingham in 2010. Unfortunately, that success has a red flag. Leesman actually had worse results with single-A Winston-Salem before being bumped to Birmingham last season, posting a 5.37 FIP for the Dash in 84.2 innings.

Most run production will come from the 1-5 spots in the lineup. Sure, Juan Pierre could have better on-base skills, but for the team’s roster, he’s the ideal leadoff hitter. If Pierre can replicate his .341 OBP from 2010, he’ll at least be acceptable.