AL Central: The Twinkies Rise

American League Central 2018:
Upset Special

Because MLB perpetuates the myth of ‘small-market’ teams, every year a certain number of filthy rich owners don their hobo clothes and offload high-priced talent. In truth, it’s the size of the owner’s wallet that matters, not the size of the market. An inordinate number of these poor-in-their-own-minds-only owners operate in the middle of the country.

For this reason, I am not picking the Cleveland Indians to repeat; this is the year the Twinkies (Minnesota Twins) take advantage of Cleveland’s budget-cutting.

Will Win: The Minnesota Twins are the only team that added much to their budget. Mauer doesn’t have much left in the tank, but he’ll look rejuvenated given the addition of Logan Morrison to go with Dozier, Sáno, Kepler, and Escobar. I still think Buxton is a bust, but he at least flashes great leather. They also added Lynn and Odorizzi to the staff and Ervin Santana will soon come off the DL. Pineda also, but I know he’s a fraud.

Dark Horse: Cleveland Indians. It’s odd to call them that because they’re favored, but losing Carlos Santana, Bruce, Napoli, and Allen is a big toll. They added Alonso to go with Lindor, Kipnis, and Ramirez so we’ll have to see how that works out. Ditto catcher Mejia and whether Encarnacion can ward off decline. Kluber, Carrasco, and Bauer head a formidable staff, with Miller waiting to bail any pitcher out of trouble. They also have the best manager in MLB. So why pick them to falter? Chemistry and a hunch.

Predicted Finish:

1. Minnesota Twins: I might look foolish very early on this one, but the stars seem to be aligning.
2. Cleveland Indians: This is a playoff-bound team one way or another.
3. Chicago White Sox: Quietly rebuilding and have a nice core to go with Kopech, Moncada, and a few other kids in the wings. They won’t be a pushover this year. Or the next, or in the foreseeable future.
4. Kansas City Royals: They won the World Series in 2015 and made money. Then their owner decided he was too poor. Enough left to be decent, but not enough to get back to the playoffs.
5. Detroit Tigers: Held a fire sale and they’re probably not done yet. Like the city, things are looking grim for the tabby cats.

No comments: