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AL Central Spring Training Report: Can Anybody Challenge Twins?

The American League Central was the only division a season ago with just one team finishing with a winning record. Will it be any different this season?

When looking at the MLB odds, Minnesota is the overwhelming favorite to win the AL Central once again. The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians look to do something about that.

AL Central Spring Training Report: Can Anybody Challenge Twins?
Caleb Thielbar #56 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Houston Astros | David Berding/Getty Images/AFP

When looking at the MLB futures odds, the Twins are among the teams with the best odds of winning the World Series.

With players reporting for spring training, here’s an early look at the American League Central.

1. Minnesota Twins

Minnesota is going into the 2024 season with pretty much the same team that won the AL Central by nine games.

The strength figures to be the starting pitching with Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober all coming back. Sonny Gray did leave for the St. Louis Cardinals while Kenta Maeda is now a member of the Detroit Tigers. The bullpen is led by Jhoan Duran.

The Twins acquired Anthony DeSclafani in a deal that sent Jorge Polanco to Seattle.

Polanco was limited to 80 games a season ago so the Twins are accustomed to playing without him.

Max Kepler, Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, Kyle Farmer, Ryan Jeffers and Byron Buxton return to the batting lineup. Getting a healthy Jose Miranda back will be a key for the teams listed by the MLB betting odds to win the division title.

  • Odds to win Division: -115
  • Odds to win the American League: +1200
  • Odds to win World Series: +3000


2. Cleveland Guardians

With the retirement of Terry Francona, Steven Vogt is now the manager for the Guardians as Cleveland looks to rebound from a disappointing 76-win season that included a 34-47 record on the road.

Starter Shane Bieber and closer Emmanuel Clase lead a young pitching staff. Logan Allen, Tanner Bibee and Gavin Williams are other key starters.

Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor, Steven Kwan and Andres Gimenez are the top returning hitters. There are 11 position players on the active roster under the age of 25 so some new hitters could make an impact for a team that was 12th in the American League in runs scored last season.

  • Odds to win Division: +350
  • Odds to win the American League: +3000
  • Odds to win World Series: +6500


3. Detroit Tigers

Are the Detroit Tigers ready to take the next step and make a run at a playoff spot?

Former No. 1 MLB Draft pick Casey Mize, who has pitched in two games over the last two seasons, is joined by Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo and Matt Manning as potential starters. Detroit brought in Jack Flaherty and Kenta Maeda but did lose Eduardo Rodriguez.

Youngsters Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter will be the faces of the franchise now that future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera has moved on as the Tigers look to make a run at their first AL Central title since 2014.

Mark Canha adds a veteran bat to the Detroit lineup. Shortstop Javier Baez looks to rebound from a disappointing 2023 season.

  • Odds to win Division: +350
  • Odds to win the American League: +3000
  • Odds to win World Series: +6500


4. Kansas City Royals

With shortstop Bobby Witt and starting pitcher Brady Singer, there are some building blocks for the Royals. Pitchers Cole Ragans and James McArthur displayed their potential late in the 2023 season.

The Royals traded for Kyle Wright, a 21-game winner with the Atlanta Braves in 2022.

Vinnie Pasquantino was limited to 61 games a season ago. He is joined by Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez as other key hitters for a team that finished second in the division in runs scored a season ago.

Kansas City had the second-most losses in the American League a season ago with plenty of pitching woes as the Royals finished with more than 100 losses in three of the last six seasons. When looking at the MLB picks, the Royals were last in the majors with a run-line record of 69-93 a season ago.

  • Odds to win Division: +850
  • Odds to win the American League: +8000
  • Odds to win World Series: +15000


5. Chicago White Sox

Even with Andrew Vaughn, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Benintendi coming back, this is a roster in a state of flux. Only the Oakland Athletics scored fewer runs among American League teams than the White Sox in 2023. Will it be any different during the 2024 season?

Pitcher Aaron Bummer was traded to Atlanta in exchange for four players, including starting pitcher Michael Soroka and infielder Nicky Lopez. Infielder Paul DeJong and catcher Max Stassi are other newcomers along with catcher Martin Maldonado and pitcher Chris Flexen.

There is plenty of work to do for the White Sox to become relevant again as they are predicted to finish last in the AL Central, something that hasn’t happened since 2013.

  • Odds to win Division: +4000
  • Odds to win the American League: +8000
  • Odds to win World Series: +15000



Questions Of The Day

Which team is favored to win the American League Central Division?

The Minnesota Twins have the best odds at -115 to win the division title in 2024.

Who are some American League Central players to watch in the individual awards races?

Detroit’s Tarik Skubal (+1600), Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox (+2500), and Kansas City’s Cole Ragans (+2800) are among the Cy Young candidates. Detroit outfielder Parker Meadows and fellow Detroit prospect Colt Keith are in the top 10 in the AL Rookie of the Year odds.

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