Key Additions: Jake Bauers, Carlos Santana, Jordan Luplow
The Cleveland Indians made some interesting moves in the offseason. Unloading the power of Edwin Encarnacion and the often-injured Michael Brantley were moves made to change up the culture of the Indians locker room, while also making sure to free up money to sign franchise cornerstones Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor for the long term.
Their open negotiations on moving starting pitchers was surprising to say the least. Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber were openly being discussed in the market, ultimately the Indians decided to hold on to their top two rotation pieces. Making them the favorites for the 2019 season.
The Indians still have the best rotation in the division. Brad Hand will take over the closing duties for another departing star Cody Allen, overall the bullpen is still solid. The biggest worry I have for the Indians would be their depth in the outfield. They have great speed but no real established major league stars. The projected starters are currently Jake Bauers, Leonys Martin, and Tyler Naquin. The Indians will be putting a lot of pressure on their stars in a lineup that is does not have the depth is has had in past years.
Key Additions: Marwin Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, CJ Cron, Jonathon Schoop
The Twins have quietly become the most improved team in this division and its not even close. A team that ranked 23rd in the league in homers last year added some serious pop to their lineup. Nelson Cruz and CJ Cron immediately give them two players that can hit over 30 homers backing up Eddie Rosario and hopefully a resurgent Miguel Sano. Fellow additions veterans Jonathon Schoop and super utility man Marwin Gonzalez gives the Twins some serious depth on the infield.
Offensively there is a lot to like about Minnesota going into 2019. To overcome the Indians though they will need more production at the very top of the order. A healthy Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton are the best bets to take over the lead off role. If Minnesota can put people on base consistently they could be looking at a top ten offensive club.
The biggest questions will be the starting pitching behind stud Jose Berrios. Minnesota fans will hope to see Michael Pineida take the mound during the season fresh off his Tommy John surgery. The former Yankee and Mariner has shown glimpses of what could be before his injury, if he is able to step in and help solidify a rotation with a lot of promise this team will not only take of the central but potentially be a contender in the American League.
Key Additions: Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison
Can someone please make a deal for Nicolas Castellanos??? The Detroit Tigers are not ready to contend, and this guy is too good of a hitter to waste his prime years in Detroit in what is a forever rebuild. The Tigers have some players that are going to be fun to watch, Jeimer Canderlario, Niko Goodrum and Christian Stewart will all get the opportunity to show the organization what they have this season but that shouldn’t make a huge difference in their overall record.
With a core of veterans like Miguel Cabrera, Jordan Zimmerman and the newly signed Josh Harrison the tigers will be competitive early in the season but it’s time for them to fully commit to their rebuild. They need to move on from all of their older players and help build their farm system that currently ranks in the middle of the pack. If the Tigers are smart they will also move their lone pitching star Michael Fulmer while he still has solid value.
Kansas City Royals:
Key Additions: Brad Boxberger, Terrance Gore, Billy Hamilton
The 2019 Kansas City Royals are going to be fun to watch. An adrenaline rush of energy from almost every spot in the lineup. With the addition of Billy Hamilton to go along with Whit Merrifield, Alberto Mondesi and Terrance Gore the Royals are going to be tough for opposing pitchers and catchers.
The Royals have begun the rebuild of their farm system bringing themselves from worst in the league to 27th ranked. While not a huge upgrade moving up four spots in farm system rankings in just one year is very impressive. The Royals don’t have much pitching depth in the rotation or bullpen but their great defense and unique offense should help them pull out victories in 2019.
Chicago White Sox:
Key Additions: Kelvin Herrara, Yonder Alonso, Jon Jay, Ivan Nova
I want to say I feel bad for the White Sox for losing out on Manny Machado but when you sign players to help you bring in the guy you want to build around you put yourself in a tough situation. The Sox still have a great core of young players Yoan Moncada, Eloys Jimenez, Dylan Case and Michael Kopech. They are still looking for the player to finalize the rebuild.
The 2019 White Sox will still be bottom dwellers but there is at least excitement in the works for Chicago’s second favorite team. The pickup of proven major league player like a Yonder Alonso, Ivan Nova and Jon Jay will give them potential trade chips when the trade deadline hits. Chicago has its core but is still a few years away from being a true contender.
- Minnesota Twins
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Kansas City Royals
- Detroit Tigers
I think that the Twins have done enough to improve their offense to take the American League Central. This is a two team race between the Twins and the Indians. The battle for third place in the division will also be a battle for the worst record in the American League.