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2017 American League Central Division Team Predictions, Picks and Previews

2017 American League Central Division Team Predictions, Picks and Previews


2017 American League Central Division Team Predictions

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Cleveland Indians

The Indians came so close to winning it all last year, when they unfortunately transformed into MLB’s version of the Golden State Warriors by blowing a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Maybe this year’s their time to end their own curse?

The Tribe are back to defend their AL Central title, which they are priced -450 to win again. They are expected to be even better this season with the offseason acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion and whole season with Andrew Miller working the bullpen. But the real deal for the Indians is their elite rotation that’ll parade Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar, who’ll give Cleveland an advantage on most nights.

Writer’s Prediction: Cleveland wins the division and finishes the regular season with a 93-69 record.

Detroit Tigers

There are some aging stars on the Tigers’ roster but stars that could still produce nonetheless. Justin Verlander showed us not he’s far from a career regression when he mustered a 28.1 percent strikeout rate (career best) and a 16-9 record. Detroit’s pitching staff goes deeper than Verlander with Michael Fulmer looking to build on an AL Rookie of the Year campaign in 2016.

Miguel Cabrera is still Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is 34 but he’s coming off a season in which he finished inside the top four in the AL in batting average and slugging percentage. Cabrera will be complemented by Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos, and J.D. Martin. There’s not much window for the Tigers, who are pressured to deliver as a team while the likes of Verlander and Cabrera still can.

Writer’s Prediction: Detroit caps the regular season with an 82-80 record and gains a wild card spot in the postseason.

Kansas City Royals

The death of Yordano Ventura is a blow to the Royals’ pitching staff that will now be led by Danny Duffy. The arrival of Jason Hammel should help cover the void left by Ventura but aside from that, the departures of relievers Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar were also key developments for the Royals over the offseason. Kelvin Herrera is still there to provide an imposing presence out of the bullpen. Mike Moustakas’ return from an ACL injury is also greatly anticipated by the Royals, who missed his presence at the plate in 2016. Offseason addition Brandon Moss lends some power for the Royals’ offense that was just 22nd last year in slugging percentage.

Writer’s Prediction: Kansas City finishes third in the division with a 76-86 record.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are hoping Brian Dozier’s 2017 season mirrors the way he played the second half of 2016, when he slashed .291/.344/.646 with 28 home runs. But the Twins need some more Doziers clones to lift the team from the rubbles of 2016 wherein Minnesota lost 103 games. Even more worrisome is Minnesota’s poor pitching that ranked last in the majors last year in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Nevertheless, youngsters Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are going to be worth following just to see how well they develop moving forward. Minnesota is +2,800 win the AL Central.

Writer’s Prediction: Minnesota registers a 74-88 record at season’s end.

Chicago White Sox

Mercifully, the White Sox let go of Chris Sale in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. Sale was wasting his prime years on the dreadful White Sox, who at least got a good haul in exchange for the strikeout machine. The White Sox got Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz for Sale, signifying the start of a rebuild. And you know how teams usually fare in the first season of a rebuild: a disaster. The White Sox aren’t going to win lots of games. They’ll lose a ton. But that’s the price to pay for a brighter future.

Writer’s Prediction: The White Sox fails to win at least 70 games.

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Written by Rex

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