The AL Central was one of those divisions last year that I felt like would have one clear winner and instead it turned into a total disaster. One of my favorite bets actually was that the Tigers would finish in second and the White Sox in first. That aged poorly. The Guardians won the division and then the White Sox were in second, and preseason favorite Twins were in third. That left the Tigers in fourth. I was glad I was correct about the Twins, but not good enough. Now I'll break down what I think of the win totals for these teams but if you want all the futures from BeatintheBookie and BTBJesse, be sure to buy the MLB package and it includes all futures with max plays and the first 30-days.
Cleveland Guardians, 92-70 last year, 1st in division
I still think the Guardians aren't a good-hitting team. They have very little power but are decent contact hitters. You would think that would translate to success in the playoffs mostly, but there was no success for the Guardians in the playoffs. They got to the playoffs mostly on the strength of the pitching staff and bullpen. Their rotation is led by Shane Bieber who is very talented. After that Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill are both strong pitchers, but I'm not sold on Civale or Plesac. I honestly think they have one of the worst lineups in the division, but somehow it works. You won't find me betting on them one way or another. I don't expect them to win 90 games, but the over 86.5 does seem realistic.
Chicago White Sox, 81-81, 2nd
What was the biggest problem for the White Sox in 2022? Their manager Tony La Russa was not clicking with the team and it resulted in some bad performances. There were some injuries, but they don't seem like the main reason for the slippage in the division. The Sox were really bad against the Guardians and the Twins too which hurt their record but also the division standing. I still look at this lineup and think they are easily the best in the division. I look at their pitching staff - at least the starters - and think they have the best rotation in the division. La Russa is gone which is great, and so is Jose Abreu (which hurts), but I'm taking the over 82.5. By the way, I'm a Cubs fan, so I hope that gives a little added faith that I believe in this team.
Minnesota Twins, 78-84, 3rd
The Twinkies are still not a very good team. When your ace is Sonny Gray, you are not going to go very far. That really isn't meant to be a shot at Gray either, he's a talented enough pitcher, but ideally, he is your second or third-best starter. The rest of their rotation is full of question marks. Nothing about the starters give me confidence that this team will improve this year. Then there was the Carlos Correa saga who was on two different teams (kinda) before coming back to the Twins. Joey Gallo had a terrible year least season, and he probably will improve but is still strikeout prone. Byron Buxton still has only played more than 100 games once in his career. I'd lean under but 83.5 is a number you're asking to sweat close to the end of the year.
Detroit Tigers, 66-96, 4th
The Tigers are not a good team and will not be a good team this season either. I was wrong last year and was hopeful that the end of their 2021 season would lead to success in 2022 with the moves they made. I was way off. Javier Baez seems to have forgotten how to hit, and there aren't too many other hitters in this lineup that I think are going to have great success this year. The starting staff doesn't have an ace and doesn't even have a really solid great second starter. I still think it is conceivable that they win 70 games, but I could also see them winning 60 games. I'm not touching them one way or another.
Kansas City Royals, 65-97, 5th
Brady Singer is one of the few pitchers on this team that I think could make some sort of mark on this season. Salvador Perez is one of the few hitters I like on the team (Bobby Witt is another). However, outside of those two players, there isn't much I like for the Royals. I think they picked up Aroldis Chapman to see if he can rebound and then they will trade him away. Zack Greinke is back for another year and last year he was only good in home starts. I think I'd play the under on 69.5 for the Royals, I just don't see them being much better than last season.
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