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American League Central Betting Preview
Chicago White Sox (-125 to win A.L. Central)
The Chicago White Sox went from being a young, talented team to a World Series contender in just a couple of seasons. Not only are they the favorites to win the A.L. Central, but they are +850 to win the World Series.
After making the playoffs last season, general manager Rick Hahn bolstered the pitching staff this offseason. They added Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) to an already solid rotation and brought in arguably the best closer in baseball in Liam Hendricks (3-1, 14 saves, 1.78 ERA, 0.67 WHIP).
Furthermore, they brought in a manager that is no stranger to winning. The White Sox will be led by Hall-of-Famer Tony La Russa this season. Off the field issues aside, La Russa will bring both experience and knowledge to a young team trying to win the World Series for the first time since 2005.
With those additions, along with a fantastic core of Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito, and others, this is a team to watch out for.
Minnesota Twins (+135)
While the Chicago White Sox are arguably the best team in the division on paper, the Minnesota Twins might not be ready to give up their claim to the division title. Last year, they squeaked by both the Indians and White Sox to win their second consecutive division title by just one game.
Their biggest addition this offseason may have been a player they retained, not added. Nelson Cruz signed a one-year deal worth $13 million. Last season, Cruz hit .303/.397/.595 with 16 home runs, 33 runs batted in, and 33 runs scored. At 40-years-old, he keeps defying age and continues to hit.
With the departures of Eddie Rosario, Rich Hill, Jake Odorizzi, and Trevor May, the Twins certainly had some holes. They did a decent job filling many of those, though, with the additions of Andrelton Simmons, J.A. Happ, and Alex Colome.
Cleveland Indians (+750)
On the surface, it may be easy to say that the Cleveland Indians will take a big step back after trading their biggest star, Francisco Lindor. In fact, in a deal with the New York Mets, the Indians traded both Lindor and star pitcher Carlos Carrasco.
Despite the losses, the Indians still have plenty of talent, mostly led by starter Shane Bieber. Last year’s Cy Young winner went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and struck out 122 in 77.1 innings.
With a plethora of other talented players, including Jose Ramirez, Eddie Rosario, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, James Karinchak, and others, this is not a team that you can rule out for competing for a division title.
Kansas City Royals (+4000)
After the top three teams, there is a pretty big drop-off. Even so, the Royals still are a better team than the Detroit Tigers.
In the midst of a rebuild, the Royals will blend some young players with some of their established veterans. Their best player is by far Whit Merrifield. Last season, he hit .282/.325/.440 with 9 home runs, 30 runs batted in, 38 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot around him. They signed Carlos Santana to help the middle-of-the-order and signed Hunter Dozier to an extension. They are hoping that Alberto Mondesi continues to develop, but there isn’t a ton elsewhere.
For the Royals, this season is less about competing for a division and more about seeing what some of their young guys can do.
Detroit Tigers (+7000)
Like the Royals, the Detroit Tigers will be trying to see what their youngsters can do in an otherwise lost season. New manager A.J. Hinch will bring some leadership and experience in dealing with young teams.
The Tigers did sign a couple of lower-level free agents in Robbie Grossman, Derek Holland, Wilson Ramos, Nomar Mazara, and Jonathan Schoop. Hinch will hope these veterans can guide their youngsters.
They will likely compete for a high spot in next year’s MLB draft, but the real importance to this season is the development of players like Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Daz Cameron, and others.
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