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Ted Schwerzler



Twins Video

We are now at the point in the Major League Baseball calendar where exhibition games have commenced, teams are looking at how to fill out their 25-man roster, and the regular season is on the horizon. Although a few marquee free agents remain, I’m at a point where I feel good about how what could potentially be baseball’s worst division, is going to play out. The incumbent division winning Cleveland Indians are ready to defend their throne and it’ll be on a challenger to emerge.


Including current PECOTA projections (as of February 26, 2019) next to predicted records, here’s how this writer has the standings for the American League Central playing out:


1. Minnesota Twins 92-70 (83-79)


No team has done more in the division to take strides forward than the Twins for 2019. While that’s great in a vacuum, no team was also able to make bigger moves than Minnesota as well. I’ve dug deeper into why I think this is realistic in a secondary piece here, but the front office must be hoping what they’ve done is enough. Despite what’s being billed as a “wait and see” type approach, I’m all in on the Falvey and Levine being vindicated in their decision making.


2. Cleveland Indians 89-73 (96-66)


Quite opposite of the Twins, arguably no team within the division has gotten worse than the Indians. Cleveland loses Michael Brantley as well as Carlos Santana. They’ve replaced the latter with Edwin Encarnacion, but there’s no outfield to speak of, and significant reliance on repeat performances. Trevor Bauer, Jose Ramirez, and Francisco Lindor all posted career year’s in 2018, all while Cleveland mustered just 91 wins. Lindor will miss the beginning of the season, and despite the rotation still being among the best in baseball, it’s hard not wondering what else to fall in love with surrounding this team.


3. Chicago White Sox 73-89 (70-92)


One of the trendiest teams in baseball right now, the White Sox are being lauded for their stellar farm system. There’s no denying that Eloy Jimenez is a stud, and he’s backed by names like Kopech, Cease, and Robert. The first starter on that list is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery though, and there’s always an incredible amount of volatility when it comes to top prospects (ask Twins fans about that.) Manny Machado would’ve moved the needle for this franchise, but instead of going all in, Kenny Williams signed friends and family hoping that would be enough. Chicago will get there, and an 11-game jump in the win column from 2018 is no small task, but that’s about where the fun ends.


4. Kansas City Royals 69-93 (72-90)


Welcome to the dreaded middle ground. It was great for the Royals that they popped up and won a World Series, as the fanbase could be looking at mediocrity or worse for quite some time. The big-league club is void of any real star potential, and the farm system is among the worst in baseball. Kansas City can’t spend big with it making any sort of a difference, but they’ve also yet to hit on any prospects that put them in a better light going forward. If you’re a Royals fan, the highlight of the season is June 3rd when Dayton Moore will have the second overall pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.


5. Detroit Tigers 62-100 (67-95)


If Kansas City is considered the dreaded middle ground, then Detroit is trending in a much better direction. The Tigers have a strong farm system headlined by pitching stalwarts, and they also hold the 5th overall pick this summer. There’s still plenty of questions surrounding both Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd, and Detroit is hoping to see Nicholas Castellanos take yet another step forward, but there’s some building blocks here. Miguel Cabrera is on his way to Cooperstown, but Niko Goodrum has provided some immediate intrigue in the infield. This team won’t be good in 2019, but they could certainly flip the script in the coming years.


For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz



Recommended Comments

The more I think about it, the more I agree with the wait and see approach. Obviously at this point in time Buxton and Sano have not overachieved as we assumed they would. If both tank this season, the teardown will begin at the deadline. If only one shines, the decision will probably be we can wait for Lewis, Kirillioff, etc. Also, I would not automatically trade the one who tanks. Hicks was almost 28 before the light came on, and I believe Go Go Gomez was reasonable close to that.


We bought in 3.75 regulars. Parker and Perez are placeholders waiting to be replaced by our near Major League ready arms. Time to rock and roll.

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92 wins is quite a jump. The Sox may eat into a couple of those at the least. I agree the team has made some strides, mostly on the fan pleasing offensive side. But they may need that offense. The pitching remains a questionable average. And, inside of the OF grass, it's backed by some very mediocre and potentially damaging defense. I know baseball has become a fly ball/strikeout style game, but the IF and catching situation is as cringe worthy as the excellence of the OF defense is laudatory. Be that as it may, the foregoing analysis is all somewhat moot. Sano and Buxton. If they thrive the division and 92 wins is easily in reach. If they don't, we are probably baseballs polar vortex! :(

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The great thing about March is that predictions can be wild and hopeful and by June nobody remembers them.  I enjoyed your day dreaming.


If and when things hit the skids, I fully expect my Twitter mentions to be filled with people pointing at this prediction. The written word is forever fresh.

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Hey Ted;


I'm confused by your sentence:

"The Tigers don’t have a strong farm system headlined by pitching stalwarts, and they also hold the 5th overall pick this summer."


Should the "don't" be a "do" or should the "and" be a "but"?

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Hey Ted;


I'm confused by your sentence:

"The Tigers don’t have a strong farm system headlined by pitching stalwarts, and they also hold the 5th overall pick this summer."


Should the "don't" be a "do" or should the "and" be a "but"?

Thanks for catching that, was an extra word in there.

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