The A.L. Central has been one of the more competitive divisions in baseball from year to year, with the Twins, Indians, Royals, and Tigers all winning the division in the last six seasons. But last year it was the only division with two 100-loss teams, and for 2020 it already appears to be a runaway.
Division Champions: -180
Regular Season Wins: 91.5
At -180 the payout on a Twins bet isn’t great. But there really is no one else to seriously push this team for the division. It’s unlikely we’ll see another 300 home runs, or over 100 wins, but the additions of Josh Donaldson at 3rd base and Kenta Maeda in the starting rotation will keep Minnesota humming.
They will miss pitcher Michael Pineda for the first quarter of the season because of suspension, but he’s back in late May and they shouldn’t miss him against this competition.
Division Champions: +330
Regular Season Wins: 85.5
Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber are now gone, and you have to wonder if the starting rotation can still be a strength after losing that much talent and those many innings.
Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger are still rotation anchors. But overall the Indians feel like a team stuck somewhere between a youth movement and an effort to be competitive, and that rarely leads to success on the field. If someone is going to challenge Minnesota for the division title, it’s not going to be Cleveland.
Chicago White Sox
Division Champions: +360
Regular Season Wins: 83.5
The one team that hasn’t tasted a division championship in the last decade is the White Sox. But perhaps no team is making more moves in the division in effort to change their fortunes. They punched up an already good lineup with the additions of Nomar Mazara and Edwin Encarnacion, and this offense will score.
The real test in Chicago will be the effectiveness of former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. If he’s good, this rotation can be good. But if he struggles, the Southside of Chicago will feature a lot of very high scoring baseball.
Kansas City Royals
Division Champions: +10000
Regular Season Wins: 64.5
The Royals have a new owner in John Sherman and a new manager in Mike Matheny, but almost the exact same team that lost over 100 games last season.
Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Salvador Perez are all very good ballplayers. But the pitching staff is filled back of the rotation guys and innings eaters and an overpaid closer in former starter Ian Kennedy.
Help is coming from the Minors in a year or two, but 2020 is going to be rough.
Division Champions: +10000
Regular Season Wins: 56.5
Over the last three seasons, the Tigers have lost 310 games, and the 2020 version is going to be every bit as bad. Even Miguel Cabrera is a shell of the player we once knew.
Maybe by 2021, the fruits of their sporadic labors will be felt as some of their minor league talent makes it to the bigs. But this year Detroit will challenge Baltimore as the worst team in baseball.