The AL Central is easily the weakest division in the American League.
I was all set to go with the Chicago White Sox as the division champs, but looking at their roster, I'm now making a change. I predict Minnesota to win the division. Their bullpen is a question mark outside of Jhoan Duran, their lineup is full of strikeout heavy injury-prone and inconsistent players, but their rotation is easily the best in the division. Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle. They're all #3 starters, but all have upside and should be dependable.
If 1B Alex Kirilloff finally breaks out and they get bounce backs from RF Max Kepler and LF Joey Gallo, they might even have a chance at running away with the division. Of course failures to do so and more missed time for CF Byron Buxton might just allow their rivals to catch up.
I think that Cleveland well overachieved in 2022. The lineup is really weak behind 3B Jose Ramirez. 2B Andres Gimenez won't match his BABIP-fueled production from 2022 and I predict a sophomore slump for LF Steven Kwan. With SP Shane Bieber's declining velocity and SP Triston McKenzie's injury, their rotation is very top heavy and reliant on Bieber. Their bullpen is the best in the division however, and will be the main asset for them. Despite everything that I've just said, I can see a path to them winning the division just because it looks so bad and they have some upside, but I'm going with Minnesota as my pick.
I was ready to call them the division favorites, but that lineup is completely dependent on DH Eloy Jimenez and CF Luis Robert Jr. no longer being injury-prone. Their bullpen is shaky without CP Liam Hendriks. They lack much depth and I fully expect SP Dylan Cease to come back down to earth as his walk rate is just too high for him to be a Cy Young candidate again (3.82 in 2022). Fangraphs projects him for a 3.74 ERA in 2023. Add SP Lucas Giolito's struggles over the last few seasons and I'm not confident that they'll win the division. If all breaks right and they stay healthy then it's ossible, but I can't make that prediction.
As surprising as it might sound, I like their lineup and bullpen quite a bit when compared to the rest of the division. If their rotation wasn't the way it is, they actually could be in the conversation as darkhorses to win this division. Their rotation however is the way it is. Unless Brady Singer takes a step forward and someone else does as well, there's just no way that this is a division winning team. That said, don't be surprised if they're in contention for it longer than you might expect, their top of the lineup consisting of 3B Bobby Witt Jr., 1B Vinnie Pasquantino and C Salvador Perez is as good as any in the division and if they get Franmil Reyes back on track as the DH things will look very bright for them this season.
This isn't a good team, let's just say that. There's really no area on this team that I can say much positive things about. Their goal should be for more players to develop positively, such as 1B Spencer Torkelson, 3B Joey Kreidler and CF Riley Greene. It's hard to see much more than a last place finish for them.
The AL West...