2019 MLB predictions preview: AL Central
1. Cleveland Indians
Postseason Result: Lost to Houston Astros in the AL Division Series.
Offseason Acquisitions: Traded for Max Moroff from Pittsburgh Pirates, traded for Jake Bauers from Tampa Bay Rays, traded for Jordan Luplow from Pittsburgh Pirates, Walker Locket traded from San Diego Padres, traded for Carlos Santana from Seattle Mariners, traded for Kevin Plawecki from New York Mets, and traded for Nick Wittgren from Miami Marlins.
Offseason Departures: Mike Freeman, Trayce Thompson, James Hoyt, Anthony Gose, Brooks Pounders, Brandon Barnes, Matt Joyce, Dioner Navarro, Ryan Flaherty, Alex Wilson, Ben Taylor, Yu Chang, Corey Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Oscar Mercado and Justin Grimm signed with Minors, Mike Napoli retired.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: It’s given that Cleveland will more likely than not top this division, again, for the fourth consecutive time. The main eyes should be facing the playoffs after, as Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948. However, it will be even more difficult than last season for them to do so. Despite the signings during the offseason, shortstop Francisco Lindor will be missed in the beginning due to a strained calf injury. Despite the setbacks, this team will still likely beat out any competition in their division to seal a playoff spot. But this team’s waited long enough for a World Series appearance, therefore, can Cleveland bring the title home?
2. Detroit Tigers
Postseason Result: Nice try.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Shane Greene from New York Yankees, Matthew Boyd from Toronto Blue Jays, Kaleb Cowart from Seattle Mariners and Josh Harrison from Pittsburgh Pirates.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Casey Mize to Minors, Optioned Dawel Lugo, Eduardo Jimenez, Matt Hall, Sandy Baez, Franklin Perez, Willie Castro, Sergio Alcantara and Victor Reyes to Minors.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: For the last two seasons, the Tigers have lost 98 games each, and they’ll be hoping to turn that around. The signings of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will definitely help, but they will need more. Detroit will need to look towards good performances from Nicholas Castellano and Jeimer Candelario for support. However, if anything happens to the two of them, it’s gonna be a long season for Detroit. But can Detroit utilize these players and push for second in the division?
3. Minnesota Twins
Postseason Result: Not last season, better luck this time around.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Nelson Cruz from Seattle Mariners, Blake Parker from Los Angeles Angels, traded for Daniel Ozoria from Los Angeles Angels, signed Martín Pérez from Texas Rangers and signed Marwin González from Houston Astros.
Offseason Departures: Dario Alvarez, Mike Olt, D.J. Baxendale, Jordany Valdespin, Wilin Rosario, Pat Dean, Kevin Comer, Adam Atkins, Lucas Duda, Adam Rosales and Tomas Telis signed with Minors, traded Zack Granite to Texas Rangers, optioned Andrew Vazquez, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Nick Gordon, LaMonte Wader Jr., Luis Arraez, Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey and Lewis Thorpe to minors, released Lucas Duda.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: The Minnesota Twins have had a wonderful offseason. The most eye-catching player this season for them has to be Byon Buxton. He’s known as ‘the fastest man in baseball’. According to SBNation, he had the best defense in the league, hitting .300/.357/.546 by the latter end of the season. The Twins can also benefit from the services of Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn to stabilize the lineup. Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Even though Satana’s got a finger injury to deal with, Jake Odorizzi is an upgrade from last year, so the Twins should be optimistic. Despite it being a long stretch, can Minnesota dethrone Cleveland at the top of the division?
4. Kansas City Royals
Postseason Result: Is this question necessary?
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Brad Boxberger and Jake Diekman from Arizona Diamondbacks, signed Jorge Lopez from Milwaukee Brewers and signed Martin Maldonado from Houston Astros.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Cheslor Cuthbert to Omaha, optioned Arnaldo Hernandez, Ben Lively, Jake Newberry, Josh Staumont, Scott Blewett, Kelvin Gutierrez, Glenn Sparkman, Brett Philips and Jorge Bonifacio to Omaha, assigned Jake Kalish, Andres Machado, Foster Griffin, MJ Melendez, Sebastian Rivero and Samir Duenez to Minor League, traded Jason Adam to Toronto Blue Jays.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: The Kansas City Royals didn’t sign much in this offseason nor did they intend to. According to Dayton Moore, the general manager of the team, the team is looking to develop their youth players for the future.
However, going into this season, one main player which will be key for the Royals is Danny Duffy, who’s signed a major five-year, $65 million deal. But although Duffy continues to thrive, he is injury prone, starting no more than 30 games last season. But this season is a good chance for Jorge Soler to show what he’s made of in the case of a Duffy injury.
Though it would be really tough for this young team to make the playoffs, can they outdo themselves and give their fans hope by coming third in the division?
5. Chicago White Sox
Postseason Result: Everybody has dreams.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Manny Bañuelos from Atlanta Braves, claimed Josh Osich from waivers off of Baltimore Orioles.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Charlie Tilson, Aaron Bummer, Carson Fulmer and Juan Minaya to Minors, Ryan Goins, D.J. Peterson, Matt Skole, Randall Delgado, Evan Marshall, Donn Roach and Brandon Guyer and Preston Tucker signed with Minors.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: Though it seems the White Sox don’t fancy winning as of late, they still like to and are surely looking for more of those this season. The main player for the White Sox will be Shortstop Tim Anderson, who will be entering his fourth season with the White Sox. On his MLS debut, he clocked a 2.8 WAR. Along with Anderson, young faces like Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dylan Cease will hopefully please the fans.
This team is nowhere near settled like the others in this division, but there’s no reason the White Sox can’t improve upon last season. Last season, the White Sox won 62 games, consider 70 as excellent improvement. Can Anderson and co. lead the White Sox to an improved 70 wins or more?
Predicted Division Standings:
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox