There always has to be a division that proves to be the weakest in all of baseball. A review of the American League Central shows that it is clearly the weakest. Four of the five teams in the division have losing records. They also show no signs of pulling off a winning campaign this season.
American League Central
Cleveland Indians-Buried in Mediocrity
Some tend to forget that the Cleveland Indians are a great team. They have flown under the radar this season because, in a year when the American League is top heavy with juggernauts like the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, and New York Yankees, the Indians are the only team with a winning record in the AL Central to this point.
It cannot be overlooked how dangerous the Indians are this season. They have a Hall of Fame caliber manager in Terry Francona. The rotation features a two-time Cy Young Award winner in Corey Kluber. It also see the likes of Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger backing him up. The lineup is anchored by two MVP candidates in Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. The bullpen also boasts one of the best relievers in the game in Andrew Miller although he has dealt with injuries this year.
In addition to this year’s success, the team won 22 consecutive games, 102 overall, last season and took the Game 7 of the World Series to extra innings in 2016. The main components of those teams are still around in 2018. September will be used to rest, get healthy, and gear up for another deep run in October.
Minnesota Twins – Even year woes
After a last-place finish in 2014, the Minnesota Twins had a solid season in 2015, finishing over .500 and contending for a Wild Card spot. In 2016, they took three steps back and finished with the worst record in Major League Baseball.
2017 saw better fortunes with the team winning the second Wild Card. They have reverted back to a sub-.500 team in 2018. Management tried to supplement their young core of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and Jose Berrios with proven veterans, to no avail. Buxton and Sano have both spent time back in the minor leagues this season. It will be interesting to see how the management moves forward, given the team’s inconsistencies from year to year.
Detroit Tigers – Rebuild has begun!
The days of the Detroit Tigers being the perennial champions in the AL Central are an afterthought now. Most of the key contributors from those teams have departed, and Miguel Cabrera is out for the season. After taking Auburn starter, Casey Mize, with the first overall pick in the draft back in June, the Tigers are ready to move on into the future as they hope to rebuild the team back to glory.
Chicago White Sox – Cubs, but worse
The Chicago Cubs were able to build themselves into a contender by stockpiling prospects and draft picks while sacrificing several seasons to mediocrity. The Chicago White Sox have tried a similar strategy by trading the likes of Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Quintana in recent years for big-time prospects while letting their own top prospects develop in AAA.
So far, the results do not match the Cubs. The team played well in August, but they still sit in fourth place. Some of the coveted pieces they acquired through trade are not performing as projected.
Kansas City Royals – 2015 World Champions
The Kansas City Royals are a bad baseball team. They couldn’t afford to keep their core together but opted to go all in for a playoff spot last season rather than start to rebuild.
There is not much on help on the way, either. The Royals only have one prospect in the top 100, Brady Singer. Singer was drafted in June and will most likely need a few years before being major league ready. The situation looks bleak in Kansas City. At least fans have their 2015 World Series win over the New York Mets to boast about for now.
While a review of the American League Central indicates that it is a weak division, do not be surprised if the World Series representative comes from this division in the form of the Indians.