The model: Giants

Leaders are bold, accountable, adaptable and influential, willing to share credit and learn from failure, and the Giants have those qualities at every level of their operation. General Manager Brian Sabean, on the job since 1997, was once known as the man who wasted $126 million on Barry Zito, but he is now known as a master of assembling complementary pieces around his stars. Manager Bruce Bochy, far right, hired by Sabean in 2007, is a steady influence in the clubhouse and a courageous tactician on the diamond; his unwillingness to settle for managerial orthodoxy in using his bullpen may have decided last year's World Series. And such players as Buster Posey, an MVP-level star who doesn't act like one, and Hunter Pence, who didn't miss a game the past three seasons, bring a professionalism and enthusiasm that infects the entire roster.

AL Central rankings

Indians: Terry Francona, one of the best managers at maneuvering his team's bullpen, also developed Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber into stars.

Royals: General Manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost are often criticized, but they have ignored the criticism and built the Royals into a pitching-and-defense American League champion.

Tigers: Dave Dombrowski isn't afraid to pull off big trades, and his clubhouse is full of leaders such as Justin Verlander and Victor Martinez.

Twins: Paul Molitor is untested, but Torii Hunter's return should help transform this quiet clubhouse.

White Sox: GM Rick Hahn's aggressive rebuilding effort and manager Robin Ventura's low-key style could move them up this list quickly.