We are going to go bottom to top with each team, starting with
5. This division is tough for me to say who will be at the bottom of the division, which shows how big of a talent gap is between these bottom two teams and the top 3. I am going to have to put the Kansas City Royals at the bottom of the division. Yes, KC has the Super Bowl champion Cheifs and this team did win a WS less than ten years ago. With a ton of questions everywhere on this roster. The pitching with injury history and inconsistency loomed in Kyle Zimmer, Mike Montgomery, Ashe Russell, Bradley Singer, and Gabe Speier. When it comes to the position players, we do expect to see Perez back behind the plate. But the rest of the team lacks consistency and poor track record in the names of Adelberto Mondesi, Maikel Franco, Ryan O'Hearn, Ryan McBroom, Kelvin Guttierrez. Look for this team to be pushing some of their new talents from the draft quickly this season. Asa Lacy was signed and placed on the 30 man taxi squad. If the season goes as expected for the Royals. I can see Lacy getting thrown into one of the last 5-10 games.
4. Detroit Tigers. The only reason I don't have the Tigers in 5th place is because of their young pitchings. I don't expect them to lose as many games as the Royals because of their talented, high upside rotation. With Fulmer, who should be returning from the IL and with Mize, Manning, Skubal, Parades all being on the 60 man roster, should get some reps in this season. With Boyd and Zimmerman also in the rotation, I expect one of them to be moved this season. This rotation belongs to the young guns. With the predicted position player group of Rodgers, Garcia, and Castro to stay up at the MLB level. With Hill and Wentz also coming into the mix. Also, add in Funkhouse, Burrows into the pitching mix. Add Cameron into the position mix. Also, the heir to Miggy was drafted in Torkelson, who IS on the 60 man roster. The guy could get a shot down the road for the last 5-10 games if things are going as expected for the Tigers. But this team is so talented and only about two years off from really being a force.
3. Here is where it gets tough for me. We have a big talent break for these next few teams. Here is where it gets tough. A much-improved squad in the White Sox's puts this into a different tier of teams. The WhiteSox had a lot of talent come into the mix in Kopech, Madrigal, Mendick, Collins, Mayala, Burdi, and Hamilton to add to an already impressive young talent group. They have Giolitto, Lopez, Cease, and Rodon as well there as well. With FA additions of Grandal, Mazara, Encarnacion, Kuechel. We are hoping to see Palka make a comeback with them as well as Luis Robert. Add in an emerging Eloy Jimenez; this team is ready to compete more than in previous years. Holding this team back is how well the young guys develop and how they fare with consistent playing time. Only time will tell.
2. The Cleveland Indians are my 2nd place team in the central. We have seen the Indians be so consistent the last few years as to be the top tier of the division without question until the Twins took over last season. But the Tribe is still very, very good. With only a few additions to the team in free agency who all look to be role players. Look to the players who debuted last season to continue their development. Those players are Tristan McKenzie, Beau Tayler, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac. Also, look for guys like Adam Plutko, Daniel Johnson, and flamethrower Emmanuel Clase to impact the field. This team also has Christian Arroyo and Tyler Naquin, both coming back from injuries. A lot of rumors during the offseason surround Lindor. I don't think he will be moved if the Indians are in it. If they aren't Lindor, he could find himself on a contender if he is playing well. Look for the Tribe to be pushing for a trip to the postseason.
1. The Minnesota Twins are winning the central on their offense alone. After being a top team in HR last season and then adding Josh Donaldson to the lineup and adding great pieces to the pen and rotation in Pineda, Bailey, Maeda, Clippard, and Hunter McMahon. Buxton is coming back from injury. This team is locked and loaded without any real weakness, with so many expiring contracts this offseason. It is indeed now or never for Twins, and I think now is the time! I stand by what I said in spring training that this team is the 2nd best in the AL to the Yankees. I think this Twins team is in ALCS when that time comes.
1- Twins 45-15- Win the division
2- Indians 40-20- Fall 1-3 games short of a WC spot
3- White Sox 35-25- Have a tremendous late-season push but fall just short
4- Tigers 25-35- Eliminated before the midseason
5- Royals 22-38- Eliminated before the midseason