Here, we will be giving our MLB predictions for the 2023 AL Central standings at the end of the season. If you want to hear our more in-depth breakdown from two generations of baseball fans, listen to the attached episode of the Playing Catch-Up Podcast below for the opinions of a father-son duo.
Now, let’s get started with the bottom of the barrel.
MLB Predictions for 2023 AL Central Standings
5th Place: Kansas City Royals
The Royals actually have a lot of talent to be excited about. They’re still developing, and there are a couple of spots with no real plan (like most of the rotation), so they can’t be higher than last, unfortunately. But the young phenom Bobby Witt Jr. isn’t the only reason to like this team. We could be witnessing one of the last runs of the great Salvador Perez, which is worth noting, along with the aging Greinke and Chapman now as well as closer this year. My main note for those not in the know is to keep an eye on Brady Singer. He’s gotten some love from the World Baseball Classic now, but by the end of last year, the sophomore in the league was top-10 in almost every pitcher category. He could be an elite ace before we know it. Sure, they might stink this year, but I don’t think it’ll be that way too long in KC.
4th Place: Detroit Tigers
The most disappointing team last year, at least by their own expectations, has some big stakes this year. The good news is, I actually think people are expecting too little of the Tigers this year. They are a really young team with some guys who were top-of-the-league prospects. We can’t give up on Riley Greene or Spencer Torkelson just yet, and it’s not uncommon for these young teams to suddenly figure it out. I also think we forget how banged up their pitching was last year, and I look for E-Rod and Lorenzen to bounce back especially. I’m not saying they’re a playoff team, hell, they’ll be happy to make .500. But I think it would be naive to rule them out of even a mediocre showing this year, as we seem to be doing.
3rd Place: Cleveland Guardians
The defending AL Central champs are on the other side of the youth coin for me this year compared to the Tigers. It seemed like whatever could go right did last year for the Guardians. Every hitter made contact, every stolen base worked, and the bullpen became damn near superhuman. Now, some of that expect to remain consistent. I think guys like Steven Kwan, Rosario, newly acquired Josh Bell, and especially the incredible Jose Ramirez are going to deliver. But this team overachieved by about 10 games last year, and I just think a small step back could be in order. I think the Guardians could easily be a 90-win team this year, and it’ll be a damn close race. But to me, the consistency of this team is the most suspect of the real contenders.
2nd Place: Minnesota Twins
Minnesota was one of the best teams in baseball for the first two months last year, and it seems some have forgotten that. An even mediocre end of the year, and this team would have slipped into the playoffs. Now, how good are they? Probably somewhere in between those extremes. I don’t love the health prospects of Byron Buxton for sure, and there are a couple of spots on this roster that still need to be improved, but they added Pablo Lopez, Joey Gallo, Christian Vasquez, Jorge Lopez, and Tyler Mahle since the deadline last year. This team wants to win, and they want to do it now. I love the young guns of Miranda, Lewis, and Taylor, and their starting rotation is deep if not elite at any spot. In the central, this is actually the team that has the highest floor for me, but still hasn’t proven they can reach their heights. So, that’s why they still land at two on the list.
1st Place: Chicago White Sox
They were so, so, so held down by LaRussa. A manager isn’t everything, but he’s a symbol of the White Sox. Nothing was broken two years ago. This was a young, star-studded team, who just needed a little polish. Then, they brought Mr. Killjoy into the mix. All I’m saying is it’s a fresh start, and a year ago, people thought this was a world Series team. Sure, they could underperform again, but I don’t see it. I’m most worried about their bullpen without Hendricks (get well soon, man), but otherwise, this is a loaded roster. Injuries are always a possibility, but if they have even a bit healthier time this year, they have three Cy Young-level pitchers and about as many MVP-level batters in the mix. Look especially for the re-emergence of Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolitto this year. Maybe I’m looking to be let down again, but I think the addition of Benintendi and the current pieces are just too much to ignore. Prove me right, Chicago.
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