This season, a new team has emerged at the top of the division — the Cleveland Indians — but with plenty of baseball to be played, there's no telling who will be sitting at the top when all is said and done.
The Cleveland Indians currently hold a four-and-a-half game lead over the second place Detroit Tigers. At 25-13, they own the best record in baseball, a stark contrast from their 69-93 finish in 2010.
Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner are healthy again and regaining their All-Star form, while the team's young players — such as Michael Brantley, Matt LaPorta and Carlos Santana –- continue to produce.
Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and Fausto Carmona continue to anchor a starting rotation that has surprised many.
The Tigers, meanwhile, boast one of the game's best hitters in Miguel Cabrera, who is a perennial MVP candidate. With Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta producing as well, not a lot of pitchers want to face the Tigers lineup right now.
As far as pitching, Justin Verlander is the one who's made headlines because of his second career no-hitter, but Max Scherzer, at 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA, has been the best starter on the team, and one of the best in the league.
The Indians may be receiving most of the credit when it comes to early-season surprises, but the Kansas City Royals are cruising along at .500 –- uncharted waters for a team that's never won the AL Central since it became a division in 1994, and hasn't finished with a winning record since 2003.
A young nucleus of up-and-comers has the Royals thinking postseason, and could make them a team to watch out for in the next couple of years.
The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have won the division nine of the last 11 seasons, but they both find themselves looking up in mid-May.
At 17-25, the White Sox have struggled offensively in 2011. Paul Konerko has been on a tear and Carlos Quentin has shown some pop, but Adam Dunn and Alex Rios haven't provided the offensive firepower that they’ve become known for.
The Twins are in the midst of a dismal season, as they sit at 12-27 — the worst record in baseball. They are known for making late-season surges, but their offense has been terrible, due in large part to the struggles of first baseman Justin Morneau, who continues to show the ill-effects of a concussion.
Again, there's a lot of baseball to be played, though. If the AL Central has shown us anything in the past, it's to not count any team out until 162 games are complete — or in some cases, 163.
So who will win the AL Central this year?
Tuesday, May 17: Is Zach Britton the best 25-and-under pitcher in the major leagues?
Powered by WordPress.com VIP