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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

2024 MLB Preview: AL Central

PREVIEWS, PROPS, AND MORE!

AL Central
MLB.com

Listen, the Central is weak so these previews just won't have that much meat on the bone. The AL Central is a two team race unless Cleveland accidentally wins too many games.



Kansas City Royals

Bobby Witt Jr.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports




2023 Record: 56-106(68-94 ATS)

Batting WAR: 11.4(24th)

Pitching WAR: 7.6(27th)



Key departures: RHP Zack Greinke, INF Matt Duffy


2024 O/U: 73.5

2024 Division Odds: +850

2024 AL Pennant Odds: +6500

2024 World Series Odds: +13000


The Royals are interesting. They're the most interesting they've been since 2015. They went and signed a bunch of veterans for the rotation, bullpen, and lineup and that will increase their win total organically. Hunter Renfroe will win some games against left-handed pitchers and Adam Frazier is a good, versatile platoon player to help the young guys grow. The lineup really needs to see continued growth from Bobby Witt Jr., VInnie Pasquantino, and Maikel Garcia. If Bobby Witt Jr becomes a down ballot MVP candidate, and Maikel Garcia and Vinnie Pasquantino threaten an All-Star nod, that will be a massively succesful season for such a young team.


Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha need to eat innings through July 31st and then be trade for some prospects. That way Cole Ragans and Brady Singer can just keep rolling with their development. Same goes for Will Smith in the bullpen. He needs to help their youth get comfortable to be making a jump next season. The Royals are really just looking to win at least 70 games and making an honest to goodness leap from bad to frisky.


Over or Under

73.5 feels high. That means the ideal scenario has happened and you have great seasons from your 3 best young bats. I'd lean under just because of the strength of the rest of the AL.


Player Prop

Bobby Witt Jr. AL MVP at +1300 is pretty juicy, kind of loving that bet





Chicago White Sox

Luis Robert Jr.
USA Today


2023 Record: 61-101(80-82 ATS)

Batting WAR: 3.4(29th)

Pitching WAR: 10.0(26th)




2024 O/U: 61.5

2024 Division Odds: +4000

2024 AL Pennant Odds: +15000

2024 World Series Odds: +30000



Man. The White Sox are sad. They've got nothing positive going on. Luis Robert Jr. is a great ballplayer that has nothing around him. They need to trade him, Moncada, and Jimenez and just commit to the hard reset. Otherwise they're in danger of false hope. Those three won't be able to do enough damage with how lacking the pitching staff is.


Michael Soroka is the best pitcher on the staff. That is all for today.


Over or Under

Under. I think they're going to be the worst team in all of the MLB


Player Prop

Luis Robert Jr. OVER 29.5 home runs. He's good for 30 a year.



Cleveland Guardians

Jose Ramirez
Nic Antaya/Getty Images



2023 Record: 76-86(81-81 ATS)

Batting WAR: 15.1(19th)

Pitching WAR: 14.6(15th)


Key additions: RHP Scott Barlow, OF Estevan Florial, C Austin Hedges, RHP Ben Lively, 3B Deyvison De Los Santos, RHP Carlos Carrasco (Minor League deal)



2024 O/U: 79.5

2024 Division Odds: +350

2024 AL Pennant Odds: +2500

2024 World Series Odds: +6000


Listen. This team is the definition of insanity. Jose Ramirez will be Jose Rairexz and be in MVP contention. Who will help him in the run scoring effort? The Naylor Brothers? Steven Kwan? Can Andres Gimenez bounce back? Even if it is those 4 supporting them, the next best offensive bat is going to start the season in the minors to manipulate service time in Kyle Manzardo. Jose Ramirez is a delight to watch so I'll be tuning in every now and then to enjoy his 5 tool kit.


The Pitching staff is awesome and what could potentially get them to a post season spot. Shane Bieber is just a great pitcher that can give up to 200 quality IP. Triston McKenzie and Tanner Bibee have electric stuff and have a chance to extend to artound 160-180 IP. Emmanuel Clase is a monster and is the head of a bullpen that always just seems to find a way to be good. The pitchign staff is great. The issue becomes what happens if a starter has an off day? Can the offense do enough damage to generate a winning record? With only 2 bats that you can absolutely count on to be +, it's unlikely.


Over or Under

Over. Full seasons from Biebs an Sticks McKenzie will get them to .500 at a minimum


Player Prop

Jose at +2500 for MVP is crazy value. He's liable to mess around and clearly be the best player in the MLB any given year.



Detroit Tigers

Spencer Torkelson
AP Photo/Paul Sancya


2023 Record: 78-84(86-76 ATS)

Batting WAR: 10.4(25th)

Pitching WAR: 14.5(17th)


Key additions: RHP Kenta Maeda, RHP Jack Flaherty, RHP Shelby Miller, LHP Andrew Chafin, OF Mark Canha


Key departures: DH Miguel Cabrera, LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, RHP José Cisnero


2024 O/U: 80.5

2024 Division Odds: +350

2024 AL Pennant Odds: +2500

2024 World Series Odds: +6000


The Tigers are primed to make a leap. They should be competing for the division at best and cracking .500 at worst. Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson are primed to become potential all stars and they call up of Colt Keith will round out their young core. Kerry Carpenter and Gio Urshela are capable of swinging the stick and providing veteran support to a young lineup. The real question is whetehr or not Javy Baez can have a biounce back season. Hopefully he can for the Tigers' sake, but I think the lineup will be solid with or without him. Torkelson especially can become a 35 HR 100 RB guy while nearing a .250/.350/.500 slash line. I really dig the potential, of this lineup, especially since they really turned it around from an abysmal April in 2023 and were an above .500 team.


What Detroit did in the off-season was give their lineup a lot of leeway to develop by loading up with quality pitchers. If Tarik Skubal can work his way up to 180 IP, he has a a real shot at the Cy Young. His stuff is fantastic and all he needs is length in his starts. The additions of Jack Flaherty and Kenta Maeda to the rotation will provide smore wins. They will also allow Matt Manning, Reese Olson, and Casey Mize to develop with some security. They'll just have more leeway for mistakes with an actual, experienced top 3 in the rotation. The bullpen is fine and as long as the lineup does enough damage, Alex Lange, Tyler Holton, and Jason Foley will shut the door.


With such a weak division, I think The Tigers can threaten a wild card spot quite easily. All they have to do is perform well in division and go .500 elsewhere.


Over or Under

Over. I like them to win around 85 games in 2024


Player Prop

Tarik Skubal +900 for the Cy Young is Juicy, especially if he gets deeper into games.



Minnesota Twins

Lopez
MLB.com


2023 Record: 87-75(81-81 ATS)

Batting WAR: 24.8(9th)

Pitching WAR: 19.7(4th)


Key additions: 1B/DH Carlos Santana, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Justin Topa, RHP Jay Jackson, RHP Josh Staumont



2024 O/U: 87.5

2024 Division Odds: -115

2024 AL Pennant Odds: +850

2024 World Series Odds: +1900



Health. The only question regarding the Minnesota Twins is their health when it comes to if they can win the division. They got the monkey off their back in terms of getting that wild card series win, but now they need to do more damage across the AL. If Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Eduoard Julien, Max Kepler, and Ryan Jeffers are all healthy for 2024, the lineup is gong to be sick. That's 6 minimum 2.0 WAR bats if they just meet their projections. They also now have offensive depth with Carlos Santana, Matt Wallner, and Alex Kiriloff. The Twins are primed for deep playoff run.


If the lineup remains healthy, all they Twins pitching staff has to do is be average. The good thing for the Twin Cities is that the pitching staff is ridiculously deep. Normally losing starters like Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray would be devastating for a team. All that means for the Twins is that Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober are the definitive top 3 of the staff and tehy can hang with any other top 3 in the AL. Chris Paddack, Louie Varland, and Anthony DeScalfani round out the innings eaters, and those are some of the finest innings eaters you can have. Brock Stewart, Griffin Jax, and Jhoan Duran are insanely good and the rest of the bullpen ain't too shabby.


This team is deep when it comes to offense and pitching. Their defense is solid as well. All they need to do is stay healthy. Health is all they'll need to be a threat to win the AL Pennant, and if you win that you might as well win the whole thing.


Over or Under

The Twins underperformed their run differential substantially last season. I think they hit 90 wins this season. Over


Player Prop

Royce Lewis OVER 24.5 home runs. The third basemen should hit close to 30 if he's healthy



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