Baseball season is back in full swing as all teams are headed into spring training. Here are my predictions about how the American League Central will pan out along with off season moves done by each team.
Kansas City Royals- Last season, the Kansas City Royals became “royal” when they became World Series champions against the New York Mets. This offseason, the Royals signed two pitchers: former Braves player Mike Minor to a two year deal worth $7.25 million and Ian Kennedy to a five year $70 million contract. Not only did they add to their already impressive pitching staff, but the majority of fielders for the team are returning World Series champions. They will definitely be a forced to be reckoned with as they are defending their crown.
Cleveland Indians- Last season, the Cleveland Indians came in third for the title of AL Central winners. During the offseason, the Indians signed first baseman Mike Napoli to a one year $7 million deal. Napoli is a former World Series champion (won it with the Boston Red Sox in 2013) who hit a total of 18 homeruns last year for Boston and the Texas Rangers. His bat will be a huge contribution to the lineup. The Indians also agreed on a deal with another veteran, 3rd baseman Juan Uribe which is currently pending a physical. These two veterans will for sure have an impact on the team and influence the team positively.
Minnesota Twins- The Minnesota Twins had a good standing last year as they came in 2nd in the division. A worry for them at the moment is their 1st baseman, Joe Mauer who has claimed to have had blurry vision since a concussion back in 2013. If Mauer misses playing time due to this, the team will suffer defensively as Mauer played in 158 games with a fielding percentage of .994, and offensively as he produced 66 RBI’s. However, the Twins also have Trevor Plouffe who hit 22 homeruns last season, so even if they lose Mauer for some games, they will still have a power bat in the lineup.
Chicago White Sox- The White Sox had a somewhat disappointing season last year as they only had a .469 winning percentage and ended up being nineteen games back from 1st place in AL Central. This offseason, the White Sox have signed pitcher Mat Latos to a one year contract in hopes of adding depth to their starting rotation. They also acquired Todd Frazier through a trade from the Cincinnati Reds. Frazier will hopefully add spark to this lineup and get them producing more runs as he had 89 RBI’s with 35 homeruns. Hopefully by adding another power bat into the lineup, the White Sox can give the rest of the teams in the division a run for their money for the title.
Detroit Tigers- After having continuous success in previous years, the Detroit Tigers fell from a lot of people’s expectations as they ended up only winning seventy games in 2015. In hopes of adding spark to the lineup, the Tigers signed Justin Upton to a six year contract. Upton was a prominent player for the San Diego Padres last year as he had 81 RBI’s. However, Upton also ended up striking out 159 times, which the Tigers need to be worried about as each strikeout is one less person on base that could drive in a run. Another addition to their lineup is short stop Mike Aviles, who has proven to be excellent defensively. Also, he only batted .231 last season for the Cleveland Indians which may happen again this season for the Detroit Tigers.
Even though it seems like the Kansas City Royals have the leg up in this division, it’s a new season of baseball which means it’s anyone’s game. Who knows, maybe one of the other teams in the division will surprise us all and give the Royals a run for their money. Only time will tell.
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