With the season approaching, it’s time to start doing section previews. While we’re clear that there may be some moves left for us to make, at this point we have a pretty good idea of what each team will look like. After our delivery on Central Division of the National Leaguecame the turn of the central division of the American League.
Let’s be honest: Until the lockdown was over, it looked like the White Sox would easily break out in this department, right? They won it easily last year, despite their injuries all season, and this year they look just as strong. One wondered if the rest of the department would watch Chicago ride them.
But the twins, as we already know, did not sit still. Minnesota moved almost excessively after the hiatus, culminating in the superb signing of Puerto Rican Carlos Correa. Now it looks like we’re going to fight again. The rest of the division still has a lot of ground to cover, but that’s not one of those keys, like Central of the National, where two or even three teams are already thinking about 2023. These five teams, each on their own the way they think they can win it now .
Chicago White Sox
1. Will they be healthier this year?
Dominican Eloy Jimenez played 55 matches last year. Cuban Luis Robert has played 68 games and compatriot Yasmane Grandal 93. The White Sox, logically, expect to see more of these three on the field. Just having them in the squad on a regular basis makes their predictions much better than last year… where they won 93 games. Robert, in particular, has the talent of MVP. Last year he hit 0.567. Do that for an entire season—and remember Robert is only 24—and you’re a star.
2. Will they finally be able to take the next step in the post-season?
The White Sox looked great en route to the ALDS against Houston last October – Lucas Giolito, Lance Lane and Carlos Rodon lined up in the rotation – but they fell in four games, and they never looked particularly competitive. The White Sox haven’t won a post-season series since their 2005 World Championship win (Robert was eight years old at the time) and Tony La Russa hasn’t turned up in the first round by knockout. Chicago has all the chops to succeed in October. Now they have to do it.
1. Wow, is that… Carlos Correa?
I don’t remember a surprising signing like Korea’s with the twins. Perhaps Albert Pujols to Angels? This move makes perfect sense for the twins, who obviously needed a short hiatus and got the best of it. Correa clearly thinks the Twins – a team that lost 89 games last year – to sign them, so now it’s up to Minnesota to make it look good. Otherwise, are you ready for change rumors around Korea in the middle of the year? I’m not ready.
2. Do they have enough promotion?
The lineup looks more complete with Correa, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela, and it could be a frightening lineup if Byron Buxton can stay healthy (no guarantees, of course). But even with the additions of Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer, the start of promotion will still be a big question mark in Minnesota.
1. Will the rotation be able to stay healthy?
The Guardians are beginning their first year with their new name with many similar questions. They have a lot of promotion, as usual, but keeping the stars healthy is a recurring issue (as is a lot of other teams). A quintet from Shane Pepper, Cal Quantrell, Zack Plisak, Aaron Ceval and Triston Mackenzie (all 27 or younger) are scary, impressive and good enough to win the division…but do we really count on all of them? Have all your beginnings? Or even half? They always have new weapons on their farm, but given Cleveland’s crime, they don’t have much room for error here.
2. Jose Ramirez stays…right?
The trade rumors surrounding Dominican Jose Ramirez don’t stop, and while they seem to be going nowhere, the fact that the case continues to emerge speaks to the general instability prevailing in Cleveland now. Because if the guards trade Ramirez, these starters will have to win many matches 1-0. Dominican Franmil Reyes and Rosario have both had their moments, but Ramirez is the only influential player in this squad. And the formations, well, they have nine centers. Ramirez and those novice shooters are almost enough to keep you afloat. As long as nothing is going well… and nobody is leaving.
1. Will they be able to maintain the good momentum?
Don’t you think there is not much noise around tigers anymore? They’ve improved so much in the second half of last year, a club on the rise, a storied MLB franchise ready to compete after years of rebuilding. They’ve added some off-season names – mainly Puerto Rican Javier Paez and Venezuelan Eduardo Rodriguez – but when you take a deeper look at their roster… they don’t look like a team ready to compete with the Twins at the moment, let alone white socks. It seems too early to talk about the competition: perhaps the Tigers should focus better on their first positive record season since 2016.
2. When will we see Turkelson and Greene?
What is this world, right? After all these years developing young shooters—and we also have a few questions about them, since we’re here—the Tigers have two top five potential players in the MLB Pipeline. We’ll probably see Spencer Turkelson and Riley Greene this year, perhaps sooner rather than later, especially in the case of Turkelson. The two are not only key to improving the Tigers’ lineup, but they also represent a brighter future after years of neglect. This is a lot of pressure on them…but hey, 1984 was a very long time ago.
1. Can Zack Grenk Throw 229 Rounds Again?
Those were the episodes he filmed in 2009, the year he won Cy Young with the character of the Royals, his best person. Well, well, there’s no way in 13 years to get close to that number – although it’s worth noting that he shot 208.2 in 2019 and 171 last year – but that speaks volumes about how desperate the royals are, as always, When it comes to starting a promotion. Besides Greinke, the rotation is basically what it was last year, and while none of these shooters are necessarily terrible, they aren’t exactly inspiring either.
2. Maybe Bobby Waite Jr. is the missing spark plug?
If you want to change things up a bit, there are some better ways to do it than to put together the best prospect in the entire baseball game. Witt appears to be the real deal in every possible way, talented enough to become the best player on the team once he sets foot in the club, even if the royals aren’t sure exactly where he’ll play. Will you be ready to dominate from day one? Obviously, that’s a lot to ask, but the royal family still has a long way to go to seriously compete. Witt’s arrival will keep everyone entertained for a while.
White Sox: 97-65
Royal Family: 75-87
Even with Correa, the twins don’t seem to be close to the White Sox, unless they make some sway for further promotion. The rest of the teams seem to be missing a lot. However, one thing is clear: This split looks a lot more fun than it did a few weeks ago.
“Analyst. Web buff. Wannabe beer trailblazer. Certified music expert. Zombie lover. Explorer. Pop culture fanatic.”