AL Central Betting Win Totals for 2020
The 60-game has been announced for each club, giving us a tangible look at this unique MLB season about to begin. Until we arrive at July 23 for Opening Day, we’ve been looking at each team, division by division, in order to gauge where they stand this summer and what their win total may be. Today, we wrap things up with a look at the AL Central.
Chicago White Sox – O/U: 31.5 wins
Although they scraped together just 72 wins last year, the White Sox enter 2020 on the verge of a breakout. Returning is a strong young core of bats, led by 3B Yoán Moncada and LF Eloy Jiménez. 1B José Abreu and batting champion SS Tim Anderson are also back in a lineup that should see the MLB debut of star prospect CF Luis Robert. On the mound, Lucas Giolito became an ace in 2019, while young arms Reynaldo López and Dylan Cease hope to improve.
It was a busy offseason on the South Side. In free agency, the Sox spent big money on Brewers C Yasmani Grandal and Braves SP Dallas Keuchel, reaching multi-year agreements with each. Veteran 1B/DH Edwin Encarnación bolted from the Yankees to sign with Chicago, while SP Gio González left Milwaukee to do the same. In addition to signing Cubs RP Steve Cishek to bolster the bullpen, the White Sox also swung a trade for Rangers RF Nomar Mazara.
Even with all the new faces, there were really only minor subtractions as well. Utility IF Yolmer Sánchez signed with the Giants while pitchers Iván Nova and Héctor Santiago each signed with the Tigers. OF Jon Jay joined the Diamondbacks as well. Other departures include C Wellington Castillo, SP Dylan Covey, and SP James Shields.
The expectations are high for the White Sox, and it’s easy to see why. If this lineup can hit anywhere close to their potential, especially the young guys, then they will be in excellent shape. The rotation after Giolito and Keuchel could potentially get dicey, but the younger pitchers could also make improvements. It helps that Chicago plays in arguably the easiest division in baseball as well, so it wouldn’t shock me to see the Sox find a way to get back into the postseason.
Pick: OVER 31.5 By Gameadvisers
Cleveland Indians – O/U: 32.5
The Indians just missed out on postseason baseball last year despite winning 93 games. The reality is that the bulk of their core is back for another go-around, headlined by the do-it-all SS Francisco Lindor. To his right is 3B José Ramírez, hoping to improve after a down 2019. Long bats like CF Oscar Mercado and DH Franmil Reyes are also sprinkled in the lineup, plus the consistent 1B Carlos Santana. Cleveland also seems to always have a good pitching staff, and this year is no exception thanks to All-Stars Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber, as well as a healthy Carlos Carrasco.
Although they weren’t the flashiest of signings, the Indians did add a couple new potential starters to their lineup. Cleveland inked Phillies 2B César Hernández and Mariners LF Domingo Santana. OF Delino DeShields Jr., acquired in a trade with the Rangers, will compete for time in the outfield, just as former Red Sox C Sandy León will try to find some time behind the plate. The rest of Cleveland’s moves were minor signings and waiver claims.
No departure for the Indians was bigger than that of SP Corey Kluber. The veteran and former-Cy Young Award winner was traded to Texas for DeShields and a prospect. Aside from Kluber, 2B Jason Kipnis, another mainstay in the organization, also left to sign with the Cubs. Cleveland really felt the losses in their bullpen, where Tyler Clippard, A.J. Cole, Dan Otero, and Cody Anderson all left. OF Yasiel Puig and SP Danny Salazar are both still unsigned, but neither appears to be heading back to Ohio.
Between the stars of the lineup like Lindor and Ramírez to the pitching staff with a pair of elite aces, there’s no reason Cleveland shouldn’t be competitive again in 2020. But since their lineup is a little light near the bottom and the bullpen isn’t necessarily what it once was, there will be tremendous pressure on the pitching staff that has three guys who are just 25 years old. With six games against the much-improved Reds and 10 against the equally-improved White Sox, the Indians may fall just a tad short of their projection.
Pick: UNDER 32.5
Detroit Tigers – O/U: 21.5 wins
It was about as bad of a season as you could have for the Tigers, who won a paltry 47 games in 2019. While there are some prospects who should help down the line, 2020 may be more of the same. Detroit brings back future Hall of Fame 1B Miguel Cabrera, as well as 3B Jeimer Candelario and SS Niko Goodrum. Pitching-wise, the lefty Mathew Boyd had a solid 2019 and will look to build off of it, while Daniel Norris and Spencer Turnbull have each flashed some promise.
Detroit decided to make some veterans signings, particular for the lineup, that should improve them a little bit this season. They snagged a pair of power hitters from the Twins in 1B C.J. Cron and 2B Jonathan Schoop, both of who, should see time in the heart of the order. They also signed a pair of former Yankees; CF Cameron Maybin and C Austin Romine. SP Iván Nova left the White Sox for the Tigers, as the crafty veteran will try to provide some stability to the rotation.
As expected, there weren’t many departures for Detroit. C John Hicks and SP Edwin Jackson signed with the Diamondbacks, while 2B Josh Harrison bolted for the Phillies. SPs Matt Moore and Tyson Ross also left the organization, as did IF Gordon Beckham.
The rebuild is on, and soon Detroit will have heralded prospects like Matt Manning and Casey Mize on the mound with Spencer Torkelson in the lineup. But for now, this is a team that will struggle to win games and compete in 2020. However, perhaps the veteran additions give them a minor boost, enough to win 22 games or more.
Pick: OVER 21.5
Kansas City Royals – O/U: 24.5 wins
It seems like ages ago when the Royals were World Series champions. But a lot has changed in five years, evident from only 59 games in 2019. Although LF Alex Gordon is the only starter from 2015 expected to be in the Opening Day lineup, there are plenty others worth watching. DH Jorge Soler is coming off of a monster power-hitting season, while CF Whit Merrifield is one of the league’s most-underrated players. Speedy SS Adalberto Mondesi and RF Hunter Dozier are also returning, as is a pitching staff led by the young Brad Keller and veterans Danny Duffy and Jakob Junis.
There weren’t too many new faces Kansas City brought in this offseason. The main one on offense is Phillies 3B Maikel Franco, who should get the starting nod right away. Veteran relievers like Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland will also get a chance to make the roster during camp. But KC’s biggest addition is in the dugout, where former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny takes over for the longtime manager Ned Yost.
The Royals had hardly any roster turnover, evident by their few departures. IF Cheslor Cuthbert is gone, signing a one-year deal with the White Sox. RPs Wily Peralta and Jacob Barnes have also left town. Their only other loss of note was backup OF Jorge Bonifacio.
One saving grace for the Royals in 2020 is 10 games against the Tigers, the only team in the division likely worse than them. On the surface, this is a lineup that can actually produce some runs. But the pitching staff is incredibly questionable, and in a season where pitching will mean a ton, that doesn’t bode well for Kansas City.
Pick: UNDER 24.5
Minnesota Twins – O/U: 34.5 wins
The Twins burst onto the scene in 2020, winning 101 games and setting a record for home runs in a season. Their powerful lineup returns nearly everyone, including LF Eddie Rosario, RF Max Kepler and DH Nelson Cruz. C Mitch Garver and SS Jorge Polanco also provide some pop, while CF Byron Buxtom gives them speed and defense. José Berríos had an excellent 2019 and looks to repeat his success, while Jake Odorizzi provides a steady option behind him.
Minnesota, contrary to what we normally see, made a big free agent splash. The team inked former MVP Josh Donaldson to a four-year contract, making a great lineup even better. Donaldson spent much of his career in the AL, but spent last season with the Braves. They also bolstered the back end of their rotation with older vets, signing SP Homer Bailey and Rich Hill from the Dodgers. As the third team involved in the Mookie Betts deal, Minnesota also acquired SP Kenta Maeda from Los Angeles. RPs Tyler Clippard and Matt Wisler also entered the organization this winter.
The additions of the L.A. pitchers were done to replace some departed arms. SP Kyle Gibson left to sign with the Rangers after a strong season, while Martín Perez bolted for the Red Sox. Both 1B C.J. Cron and 2B Jonathan Schoop signed with the Tigers, while C Jason Castro agreed to a deal with the Angels. RPs Sam Dyson, Trevor Hildenberger, and Cody Allen are also all gone.
On paper, a team that won over 100 games in 2019 is better now, mostly thanks to Donaldson. Minnesota’s lineup should still be very good, while the veteran rotation should hold up over a 60-game season. 20 combined games against the Tigers and Royals, along with four against the Pirates, should help them remain the favorites in the AL Central, with a chance to have the best record in the league.
Pick: OVER 34.5.
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