With the regular season just around the corner, many people are starting to predict who will win each division, the wild cards, and even the World Series. The Minnesota Twins are predicted to appear again at or near the bottom of the American League Central Division. In this article, I’ll give my own prediction as to how the AL Central Division will possibly look at the end of the 2014 regular season.
The Twins had a pretty rough preseason, going 9-16-3. One great concern the team has as of late is batting, as the Twins don’t have the greatest numbers in the league at the plate. Of the projected rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, and Kyle Gibson, Nolasco has become almost unhittable as of late and is projected to open the Twins’ season against the Chicago White Sox. Gibson has also been performing fairly well as of late. If pitching can step up and keep runs at a minimum, it could give the lineup a chance to improve their preseason struggles.
The White Sox had a similar preseason as the Twins, finishing with a record of 9-14-5. Like the Twins, the White Sox have struggled at the plate, with a majority of batting averages falling in the low .300s and below. If they want to have a successful season and be a contender for the Central Division title, they either need to greatly improve on their batting statistics or heavily rely on a pitching rotation to carry them through the season.
The Kansas City Royals had a slightly better preseason record, finishing at 12-16-2. Their batting statistics seem to be about average, and their team is overall healthy. However, will they be able to repeat the type of season they had last year?
Almost surprisingly, the Detroit Tigers did not finish the preseason with the best record in the Central Division, as they finish at 15-12-2. They have also begun to deal with injuries. Bruce Randon is out for the season with a right elbow injury, Jose Iglesias is out until late 2014 with stress fractures in both of his legs, and Andy Dirks is out until possibly June due to back surgery. And, they won the Division last year by just one game over the Cleveland Indians. I believe the Tigers will perform just as well this season, but I won’t be surprised if they are overtaken by the Indians for the Division title.
Of the five teams, the Indians had the best preseason record, finishing at 20-9-2. They did make the postseason as a wild card team in 2013, but lost to the Tampa Bay Rays. This year, I see the Indians as a serious team to beat for the Division title. Losing the title by just one game, the Indians will more than likely be out for revenge to claim what they missed.
At the end of the season, this is how I believe the AL Central Division will lay out.
- Cleveland Indians
- Detroit Tigers
- Minnesota Twins
- Kansas City Royals
- Chicago White Sox
I won’t predict how many wins each team will have. This is simply a best guess of how the division will end up. With that said, I believe it is difficult to truly predict how a division will lay out solely on what is seen in Spring Training. Preseason is an opportunity for teams to test some players with no risk and see who will produce the best numbers for them throughout the season. Every single player seen in spring training will not be seen in the regular season.
Also, I believe spring training is there for players to get back in the swing of playing ball. After a few months of offseason, spring training is a great way for players to refocus on the game itself and give players a chance to return to where they need to be physically. It’s a time to work out any issues before the actual season begins so teams can perform well when it will start to truly matter. So let the season start and see what the teams have to offer.