AL Central Preview: Guardians, Twins White Sox in Familair Territory


Mar 29, 2023

Last season, the American League Central was a one-horse race. The Cleveland Guardians waltzed their way to the division title, winning 11 games more than the second-best Chicago White Sox. However, bookies predict a much closer race for the title this time around. Chicago and Minnesota have improved in the offseason, and they’ll be looking to dethrone Cleveland this year.

Below, we’ll dive into each team in the AL Central and discuss their odds of winning the division.

Odds Courtesy FanDuel Sportsbook

Cleveland Guardians (+115)

Major League Baseball’s youngest team last season, the Cleveland Guardians, went on a surprise run to game seven of the ALDS. After a tight race most of the season, Cleveland pulled away in the Central late in the season. Favorites to repeat the division title at +115, the Guardians are in a prime position to do just that. 

Their starting rotation is one of the deepest and youngest in baseball, as they possess five above-average pitchers in Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac. Bieber and McKenzie, specifically, have made significant strides in the postseason and are quickly becoming one of the best pitching duos in the league.

Cleveland didn’t rely on heavy bats last season, instead opting for timely hits and fast base running. Implementing new rules should complement this play style, as the lack of defensive shifts will produce more singles, and the larger bases will make it easier to run. Nonetheless, in the offseason, the team addressed their lack of power by grabbing Josh Bell for their designated hitter spot. The slugger will have an immediate impact when he joins a lineup that already boasts Jose Ramirez, speedy Steven Kwan, and Andres Gimenez.

Minnesota Twins (+180)

The second-best pitching rotation in the AL Central belongs to the Minnesota Twins – and the odds reflect that. Minnesota are +180 to win the division. Sure, they lost AL batting champ Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins, but the team needed to sacrifice something to improve their pitching. Pablo Lopez addresses precisely that and rounds out a rotation that includes Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, and Kenta Maeda.

Minnesota also added some heavy hitters to their batting order. Christian Vazquez, Joey Gallo, and Michael A. Taylor joined in the offseason, while Carlos Correa is back after one of the wackiest free-agent paths ever. If Correa and DH Byron Buxton stay healthy, the Twins will compete for the division title.

Chicago White Sox (+300)

Speaking of injuries, the Chicago White Sox are hoping things look different this year. Despite facing a plethora of injuries in 2022, they still finished second in the AL Central. At +300 to win the division, they are being overlooked this year by all of baseball.

The fact of the matter is this team can be sneaky good, and some have high expectations for them. New addition Andrew Benintendi joins Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, and Luis Robert Jr. to make up one of the best batting lineups in the AL Central. Ravaged by injuries last year, healthy will be key to staying competitive.

With a new manager in Pedro Grifol and Dylan Cease on the mound – it may be time this squad fulfills its potential.

That said, closer Liam Hendriks will be away from the club while undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Don’t be surprised if the White Sox make the division title race interesting in 2023.

Detroit Tigers (+3000)

Detroit had one thing going for their team last season – relief pitching. They finished with the eighth-best bullpen ERA in MLB and hovered around the top five in that category for most of the year. Instead of building around that strength, they inexcusably opted to sell a few of their pitching pieces this offseason while letting others walk. Gregory Soto is with the Phillies, Andrew Chafin signed with the Diamondbacks, and Joe Jimenez went to the Braves. 

To make matters worse for the Tigers rotation, Casey Mize is at risk of missing most of the regular season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Truthfully, Detroit is not going anywhere near the AL Central title this year, and their odds reflect that at +3000. Miguel Cabrera is retiring at the end of the season, and his farewell tour provides the only reason to tune into Tigers games in 2023.

Kansas City Royals (+3500) 

The Kansas City Royals finished dead last in the AL Central last season. However, unlike the Tigers, Kansas City is doing the correct thing – a rebuild. 

The Royals have a few young, exciting up-and-comers, Bobby Witt Jr, Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez, leading the charge. Still, a few years away from competing, they are +3500 to win the AL Central this season.

Kansas City’s pitching rotation is quite underwhelming heading into 2023. That being said, keep an eye on Brady Singer’s production. The 26-year-old has a crucial year ahead of him and is attempting to solidify his role as the Royals ace for the future. The club added Ryan Yarbrough and Aroldis Chapman this past offseason to improve their pitching corps.

It will be another season of ups and downs for the Royals – but the future is promising.

Odds for all five AL Central teams on the FanDuel Sportsbook


AL Central Div. Odds

AL Pennant Odds

World Series Odds

Cleveland Guardians




Minnesota Twins




Chicago White Sox




Detroit Tigers




Kansas City Royals





Thumbnail photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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