- The Indians are favored to win the AL Central despite rebuilding efforts and offseason moves.
- The Minnesota Twins are the best bet to unseat the Indians in the AL Central.
- The Tigers, White Sox, and Royals don’t pose any significant threat to the Indians.
With 91 wins last year and significant offseason roster moves, the Cleveland Indians look to be AL Central winners again. The Minnesota Twins are the one team who could beat the Tribe should the Indians falter, but this division is a weak one. The Tigers lost 98 games, the White Sox 100 and the Royals 104 last season, and those teams don’t look much better again.
2019 American League Central Odds
|Team||2018 Record||Odds to win the AL Central at
|Chicago White Sox||62-100||+800|
|Kansas City Royals||58-104||+1600|
*Odds taken on 02/19/19
Is there any value in betting against the Indians?
The answer is no, but unlike past seasons, it is not a resounding one. On pace to win a fourth division title if things go their way, Cleveland let Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Donaldson, and Rajai Davis go. They dumped Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, Yan Gomes, and Yandy Diaz via trade to open up salary space.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 15, 2018
With nine players gone, Cleveland will be hard pressed to look like the club that has had six straight winning seasons, an AL Pennant and a World Series berth to their credit.
Let’s take a look at all five teams in the AL Central and see how they stack up.
Cleveland still has Cy Young Award winning pitcher Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer and the rest of their starting rotation from 2018. That’s big but the bullpen isn’t looking great. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are the two best position players they have. It will be tough to keep winning while rebuilding on the fly.
Indians Key Additions and Subtractions
|Carlos Santana, 1B||Edwin Encarnacion, 3B|
|Jake Bauers, 1B||Josh Donaldson, 3B|
|Jefry Rodriguez, RP||Yonder Alonso, 1B|
|Tyler Olson, RP||Yandy Diaz, 3B|
|Jordan Luplow, OF||Michael Brantley, OF|
Terry Francona has 14 straight winning seasons under his belt including winning the 2004 World Series that broke the Boston Red Sox curse. That’s special indeed, but Francona’s magic as a manager did run out in Boston and it could soon in Cleveland too.
The Twins are the best of a sad bunch of teams that didn’t even post a .500 record in 2018. They could unseat the Indians at the AL Central winner, but new manager Rocco Baldelli has his work cut out for him to make that happen.
Twins Key Additions and Subtractions
|Jonathon Schoop, 2B||Nick Anderson, RP|
|Ronald Torreyes, INF||Robbie Grossman, OF|
|CJ Cron, 1B||Matt Belisle, RP|
Players like Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, and Jorge Polanco, who lost half a season to a suspension for testing positive for banned substances, should help the Twins day in and day out.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) February 18, 2019
Chicago White Sox
Manager Rick Renteria and the White Sox have had low expectations placed on then the past two seasons. They are not a good bet to win the Central this year either thought they do look better than the Tigers and Royals which isn’t saying much.
White Sox Key Additions and Subtractions
|Ivan Nova, P||Avisail Garcia, OF|
|Alex Colome, RP||Matt Davidson, DH|
|James McCann, C||Omar Narvaez, C|
|Yonder Alonso, 1B||Yordi Rosario, SP|
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) February 19, 2019
The White Sox do have a great farm system and a number of good prospects which puts them ahead of the Tigers and Royals.
After coming off back-to-back 98 loss seasons and an injury to Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers are big-time AL Central longshots.
Tigers Key Additions and Subtractions
|Matt Moore, P||Jose Iglesias, SS|
|Jordy Mercer, INF||Victor Martinez, DH|
|Tyson Ross, P||James McCann, C|
The Tigers are in a serious rebuild and their focus now isn’t so much about wins and losses as the drafting and development of young talent.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 18, 2019
The +1600 odds the Tigers have is generous to say the least.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals have fallen on hard times since their 2015 World Series Win.
Royals Key Additions and Subtractions
|Billy Hamilton, OF||Kelvin Herrera, P|
|Brett Phillips, OF||Bubba Starling, OF|
|Terrance Gore, OF||Alcides Escobar, SS|
KC doesn’t offer much of anything again this season in the way of betting odds as their bullpen that helped them win back-to-back AL pennants in 2014 and 2015 posted a 5.04 ERA last season, the American League’s worst. Ouch!
They still have a great catcher in Sal Perez and Whit Merrifield at second. Merrifield excels at stealing bases, leading the MLB in stolen bases in 2017 and 2018. Shortstop Aldaberto Mondesi is alongside him in the infield and offers another potential star.
Our 2019 MLB Divisional Previews Coverage: