AL Central Preview
The AL Central is a very intriguing division as we have now seen a changing of the guard. The Clevland Indians used to run the division, but it looks like they are rebuilding while teams such as the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox are on the rise.
Let's take a deeper dive into the division.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox finished second in the division last season for the first time since 2012 and this year, they will look to build off a promising season.
The team has a very young roster but is built around reigning AL MVP José Abreu and shortstop Tim Anderson.
The key for the team is if top prospects Nick Madrigal, Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jiménez all play to the level that they are expected to.
The rotation is headed by Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance Lynn. Rounding out the rotation are top prospects Reynaldo López, Michael Kopech, and Dylan Cease.
The bullpen is much improved as they signed closer Liam Hendricks to a three-year contract in the offseason.
The Twins finished first in the division; however, their 16-year streak of not winning a playoff game lives on.
Minnesota’s lineup features a lot of power hitters including the likes of Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sanó, and Max Kepler. The acquisition of shortstop Andrelton Simmons gives the team another contact hitter to go along with Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton.
The starting pitching is the weak spot of this team and they failed to address that in the offseason only acquiring J.A. Happ who has not been good the past two seasons. Alongside Happ, they have Kenta Maeda, José Berríos, and Michael Pineda who all have question marks heading into the season.
The backend is solid with Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rodgers as the closer and set up man.
The Indians moved on from superstar Francisco Lindor as they packaged him and pitcher Carlos Carrasco in trade to the New York Mets.
The lineup will look a lot different without Lindor and Carlos Santana who they let walk in free agency however Jose Ramirez will look to have another great season. Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario will try to produce how Lindor did but it will be difficult.
The starting rotation is solid led by AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. However, besides Bieber, the rest of the rotation is not good. Guys such as Zach Plesac and Adam Plutko will need to step up for the team to be competitive.
The bullpen also had some turnover the team let closer Brad Hand walk in free agency. Emmanuel Clase will be given the reigns as the team’s closer. The bullpen can be solid however there is a lot of inexperience.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals could be a surprise team to watch shortly however this will not be their year.
The lineup features contact hitters Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi and power hitters Carlos Santana, Salvador Perez, and Jorge Soler. The offense lacks star power and could struggle at certain points throughout the season.
The pitching is extremely young with top prospects Brady Singer and Brad Keller cracking the big leagues this season with veterans Mike Minor, Danny Duffy, and Jakob Junis filling out the other rotation spots.
The bullpen is very inexperienced with Greg Holland being the anchor in the pen.
It is going to be another disaster of a season for the Tigers however pitcher Casey Mize making his debut seems to be a bright spot for the team.
Miguel Cabrera will look to rack up his 500th home run and 3,000 hits if he stays healthy.
The future's looking bright for the Tigers however they are still years away.
Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.