With the Chicago White Sox recent struggles, it looks like the American League Central is going to be a wide open race. Kansas City, Cleveland, and Detroit are all very much in the race. Here’s why each team has a chance:
Chicago White Sox
If the White Sox are going to win the division it will be a result of their two studs at the front of their rotation, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. The two have a strong case for best pitching duo in baseball. They’ve already posted 5.1 WAR this season and struck out 143 batters. They, however, will likely need some other guys to step up to win the division. Carlos Rodon shows potential, but will need to cut down on the walks. If he does that, the White Sox will be a real threat in the American League Central, and in the playoffs.
Kansas City Royals
They are the World Series Champions. Their core of Hosmer, Cain, and Perez know how to win. That counts for something in my book. They’re going to be in the race. Until the Royals are officially eliminated, teams in this division should be worrying about the Royals.
So far this season the Cleveland Indians are playing great offensively. Francisco Lindor is coming off a season where he should have won Rookie of the Year, and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s showing people that he’s not only better than Carlos Correa, but one of the league’s premier talents. They lost Marlon Byrd, but if Michael Brantley comes back healthy, that could provide a huge bump. It’s also important to note that the Indians are one of the best base running teams in baseball. Good base running, is rarely talked about, but can make a huge difference.
The Tigers are likely going to have to rely on their offense to get them to October. Justin Verlander started the season slow, but has pitched well of late. The only question is will he maintain that recent form? Jordan Zimmerman has pitched well, but has also had some groin issues. Fortunately for the Tigers, they have some big bats in their lineup. They have one of the best hitters in the baseball in Miguel Cabrera. They also have Ian Kinsler who has been playing phenomenal baseball so far this season. And Nick Castellanos is finally starting to live up to some of the hype that surrounded his ascent through the minors. If the pitching shows up, the Tigers have a very real shot at October baseball.