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Target Field Tax Status

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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

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Recent Blogs


AL Central Aftermath: What’s Next?

Three AL Central teams qualified for MLB’s expanded playoffs and all three were bounced out of the Wild Card Series. After beating up on each other, the future of the division is up in the air. What went right and what went wrong for all three teams in October?
Image courtesy of © Joe Camporeale -USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Indians
What went right?
The Indians seemed to be set up well to find a way to win. Shane Bieber was the American League’s best pitcher for the entire season and the rest of the rotation was strong with Zach Plesac, Carlos Carrasco, and Triston McKenzie making strong contributions. After struggling through parts of 2019, Jose Ramirez posted a .993 OPS while leading the AL in runs. Cesar Hernandez, an eight-year vet, made an impact by leading the AL with 20 doubles. The club won 9 of its final 11 games to pass the White Sox and finish in second place in the division.

What went wrong?
Cleveland was one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs, but the Yankees were just that much hotter as the Bronx Bombers got healthy at just the right time. New York pounced on Beiber for seven runs in Game 1 as Gerrit Cole cruised through seven innings with 13 strikeouts. Cleveland jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in Game 2, but New York scored nine runs in the last six innings to seal the deal. When Cleveland needed it the most, their pitching didn’t hold up and their season came to an end.

What’s next?
Francisco Lindor has one arbitration year remaining before he can hit the open market. He’s one of the top players in baseball and he plays a premier defensive position. He turns 27-years old so he could just be entering his prime year and it seems likely for the Indians to try and move him before the start of next season.

Chicago White Sox
What went right?
It seemed like almost everything was going well for the White Sox as the season entered its final weeks. Jose Abreu played like an MVP candidate, Tim Anderson continued to be a masterful hitter, and Luis Robert broke onto the scene as one of the most exciting young players in the game. With eight games remaining, the team held a comfortable three game lead as they looked to lock up their first AL Central title since 2008. Things seemingly couldn’t have gone much better in what was certainly a strange 2020 campaign.

What went wrong?
After losing seven of their final eight contests, Chicago went from the AL Central frontrunner to the AL’s seventh seed and a first-round match-up against Oakland. The A’s couldn’t solve Lucas Giolito in game 1 and it looked like the White Sox could be the only Central team to make it out of the Wild Card round. In Game 2, Oakland got out to an early 4-0 lead and two unearned runs turned out to be the difference in the game. Both teams went with a bullpen game in Game 3 with no pitchers throwing more than two innings. Chicago outhit Oakland in every game, but the A’s walked away winners.

What’s next?
Chicago’s young core showed plenty of promising signs and they certainly look like they will be a threat in the AL Central for years to come. With few holes in the line-up, the White Sox could be looking to add to their pitching staff this off-season. Last off-season, the front office gave out some large contracts to fill areas of need and that could be the case again this year. They fired their manager Rick Renteria too, so that's another hole to fill.

Minnesota Twins
What went right?
For the second straight year, the Twins ended up as AL Central Champions. A year removed from the Bomba Squad, the Twins sought ways to improve their starting staff and acquiring Kenta Maeda turned out to be the team’s best off-season move. He helped the Twins’ pitching staff to finish second overall in fWAR behind Cleveland. Minnesota’s bullpen was also a strength for much of the season as they finished tied with Tampa Bay for the AL’s highest fWAR. Nelson Cruz led the offense through the first part of the season and Byron Buxton showed again why he is one of baseball’s most dynamic players.

What went wrong?
Minnesota struggled to consistently score runs as the team finished 10th in the AL behind non-playoff teams like the Angels and the Red Sox. Injuries played a big part in Minnesota’s struggles. Josh Donaldson (calf), Byron Buxton (concussion), Jorge Polanco (ankle) and Luis Arraez (knee) were all playing through injuries down the stretch. Houston limited the Twins offense to two runs in the two-game series and Minnesota was eliminated before the calendar turned to October.

What’s next?
Minnesota has four free agent hitters and up to five free agent pitchers if the team doesn’t pick-up Sergio Romo’s $5 million option for next season. The Twins are going to need to add to their starting rotation depth with Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill becoming free agents. Another option is turning the reins over to a young core of top prospects that are on the cusp of being big league ready.

What do you think happens next in the AL Central? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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6 Comments

Go young!The White Sox did and it worked except they did not have the pitching.We have arms - including some young ones.

 

Go young!The White Sox did and it worked except they did not have the pitching.We have arms - including some young ones.

Sox pitching is not young, and the ones that are did not perform well.The hitters, they had 3 guys I would consider young as regulars.Roberts, Madrigil, and Jimeniz.The rest, although many are 27 or younger, they have been in the league for several years.Mocanda, Anderson, Mazara all have 4 plus years of experience.Abreue and Grandal both over 30 and been playing long time.So they very much have a mix of age and experience in the lineup.  

 

Roberts also faded down the stretch, scouting most likely caught up to him.My point overall, White Sox not as young as they seem.We had similar built line up.Many under 30 with years experience.Buck, Polonco, Sano, Eddie, Kepler.We had some rookie or second year guys, Jeffers, and Arraez.We had some vets Donaldson and Cruz.Our bench was older overall I would say, but comparing the two lineups of age and experience we are actually very close overall.  

    • DocBauer likes this

What happens in the AL Central?The division that was a joke a few years ago, a cakewalk for Cleveland, is going to become even tougher as Detroit improves.I haven't studied what the problem is in Kansas City, but they showed flashes of life against the Twins this year, so maybe they too are on the way back to contention.  

 

JcS

Photo
stringer bell
Oct 13 2020 01:15 PM

Cleveland has done a good job turning over their roster making it younger and continuing to reinforce their pitching. They aren't going away anytime soon, whether or not they retain Lindor.

 

Chicago has a lot of good players and a lot of pitching that has a good chance to be very good or better plus they have an ace in Giolito. I think they will be above average or better.

 

The Twins have a lot of guys who have had periods of outstanding performance. Some like Sanó and Buxton have never sustained it for an entire season. Kepler and Polanco each had one great season plus above average play in other seasons. The pitching staff has a good top of the rotation and some good bullpen pieces, but will need to fill out both the BP and the starting staff. There's a lot for the front office to do, but they have the pieces in place.

    • DocBauer likes this

Chicago will be a legit threat in the years to come and are the most likely to shut our window.... as it were

The AL Central won one game in the postseason. 1-6. There was an opportunity to have 3 of the 4 teams in the ALDS round from the Central. Instead there were none. Instead of the teams showing the world that the Central means some of the best competion, we showed exactly the opposite, and this is a deceptively weak division.You are your record. Talk all you want, you are your record. As long as the Twins go with good stories instead to fill out the roster, instead of improving the team to win in a short postseason series, I don't see anything changing, except more balls being hit through the shift. 

 

I hope we get some of the top prospects onto the team before they are in the mid/upper 20s. You see these young 21, 22, 23 yr olds getting opportunities even on the 4 teams left in the playoffs......


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