2020 AL Central: Joy in Chi-Town?

Is this the year the ChiSox rule the Windy City?

This is the worst division in baseball, which makes for an anything-can-happen scenario–sort of.

The Minnesota Twins won over 100 games last year and logic says they should win the Central again in 2020. Maybe, but their pitching is thin after Berrios and Odorizzi. Maeda came over from the Dodgers and NL pitchers often fare badly in the AL. Hill has had injury woes and Bailey just isn’t very good. It’s nice to have Cruz as your DH and on paper an infield of Donaldson, (Marwin) Gonzaléz, Polanco, and Sanó is really good. The same can’t be said of the outfield. They need much more consistency from low OBP Kepler and “Swings at Anything” Rosario. And there’s Buxton, the Jackie Bradley of the AL Central who catches up to anything except a pitched baseball.

I’m going out on a limb and predict the Chicago White Sox will sneak past the Twins in the 2020 truncated season. (My second guess is that they’ll slink to the bottom again!) Kopech is a stud in the making who can carry a pitching staff and Keuchel wins, though no one can figure out why. Colomé is serviceable. Grandal is a very good catcher and the infield is terrific: Abreu, (Tim) Anderson, Moncada (another giveaway from Boston). Encarnacion is also a productive DH. The outfield is unsettled beyond Jiménez and could an Achille’s heel.

Alas, the poor Cleveland Indians. Terry Francona will get the best from what he’s got, and make them a dark horse, but there comes a time in which subtraction is just that: subtraction. Carrasco and Clevinger are good pitchers, but the rest of the staff is a bunch of guys in camp with high numbers on their backs and big dreams under their caps. Brad Hand might be traded simply because there aren’t enough games for him to save. There’s Lindor and loads of questions about the lineup, including the strange retrogression of (José) Ramirez. Even Francona will be hard-pressed to get these guys into the money.

The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals are works in progress and regress. The Royals should be marginally better than Detroit because of a sprinkling of good players–Montgomery, Soler, (Salvador) Perez, Gordon, and Whitfield. They might even be mediocre if Duffy’s sore arm is healed. The Tabby Cats are waiting and praying that some young guys show them something. He’s had a great spring, but does (Miggy) Cabrera have much left? (Jordan) Zimmerman certainly doesn’t and it’s almost impossible to believe that just a year ago other teams thought it would be a good idea to trade for Boyd. Every tick over .380 will be a moral victory. Mostly, though, there’s not much reason to catch a game in KC or Motown if you’ve got better things to do, like clip your nails or paint the garage.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1.    Chicago
2.    Minnesota
3.    Cleveland
4.    Kansas City
5.    Detroit

Rob Weir 

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