AL Central Preview 2022
With opening day rapidly approaching, the AL Central might be one of the most interesting divisions in Major League Baseball.
The Minnesota Twins made big moves to add talent, the Detroit Tigers swung big on a shortstop, and the Chicago White Sox will return a stout roster. Not to mention, the debut of the Cleveland Guardians, and the mix of old and new in Kansas City.
For the Twins, they won back-to-back division titles, but posted a disappointing campaign last season. The team will look to turn the tides this season, and they have a prime opportunity to do so after a big offseason. They won the Carlos Correa sweepstakes, as the team landed the shortstop on a three-year deal worth $105 million.
Not only that, but the team maneuvered to land third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sanchez from the Yankees, while also getting the team to take on third baseman Josh Donaldson and his contract. Those three will join Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco, as the team looks to get back on track offensively.
On the mound, the pitching staff will be led by new additions Sonny Gray, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, who they hope can all reclaim part of their former successes with the team. The team has a weaker pitching staff and will hope to see some surprises in the lineup and on the mound to get back on track and try to contend for a division title.
The Tigers went for a big fish and came away with shortstop Javier Baez. Baez will now join Miguel Cabrera on the right left side of the infield, and provide more legitimate star power for a relatively young and homegrown team.
Manager AJ Hinch will return for his second season with Detroit, and expectations have risen. The team added Eduardo Rodriguez into the fold with their homegrown pitching staff, as he joins Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning at the front of the rotation. Although expectations have risen, the young team will hope to at least break the stretch of five consecutive losing seasons.
The Kansas City Royals are in a unique spot. They brought back former ace Zack Greinke to be their ace yet again for a much different squad than the last time he was here. Greinke joins a rotation of three young pitchers with high potential in Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic. The franchise will hope the mix of young and old can bring good results, now and down the line.
In the lineup, the team returns star catcher Salvador Perez, as well as outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield. The biggest story this season will be the hopeful rise of the young pitchers and the arrival of baseball’s top prospect, shortstop, Bobby Witt Jr.
The Guardians return with a new identity, but similar lineup. Third baseman Jose Ramirez, short stop Amed Rosario and projected designated hitter Franmil Reyes will anchor the lineup. 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and rising reliever Emmanuel Clase will lead the pitching staff. The team will count on consistency from their star players, but with a lack of depth, and no legitimate additions, the team will hope that consistency and potential steps forward from guys like Clase and Reyes amongst others can vault them to a possible postseason.
The Chicago White Sox, winners of the division last year look primed to potentially replicate their success again.
The team’s largest loss was starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, but they compensated his loss by adding depth in the bullpen, headlined by big personality and strong arm Joe Kelly, and with another bat in Josh Harrison.
The team will rely on a rather similar group to last year led by Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as the team looks ready and primed for another strong season.
Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
First Year / Broadcast Journalism
Dylan Price is a first year student at Pennsylvania State University studying Journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
Dylan currently serves as a member of CommRadio at Penn State where he works with other students to cover Penn State and national sports. Outside of sports media, Dylan is an Eagle Scout and serves as a board member for FOTO, a special interest organization benefiting THON. Dylan also hosts his own podcast called, “Ambitious with Dylan Price” where he interviews NFL players, College Football coaches, NASCAR Champions, NHL Legends, Mental Health Advocates, ESPY Award Winners and Former U.S. Senators. Dylan also works as a staff writer for Empire Sports Media and Turn On The Jets covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, Baseball, Boxing and NASCAR. Dylan intends to graduate and pursue a career in media or coaching as his biggest passion is entertaining and helping others.