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2019 MLB Win Totals & Division Odds: American League Central

2019 MLB Win Totals & Division Odds: AL Central

 

 

The AL Central is probably the least competitive in baseball at this point, as Cleveland has been the run away winner by at least eight games and up to 13 games each of the last three seasons. The Indians look destined to repeat again this year despite shredding payroll and moving some key pieces. They say it’s lonely at the top, but not in this situation. Cleveland is the class of the division and everyone else is fighting to get better.

SEE ALSO:
AL East Win Totals & Division Odds
AL West Win Totals & Division Odds

Division Odds

Cleveland Indians (-400)

Minnesota Twins (+300)

Chicago White Sox (+2500)

Kansas City Royals (+6000)

Detroit Tigers (+6000)

The chalk is likely to rule here and while I wouldn’t advocate laying -400 straight usually, I think a flat bet for a 25% ROI makes some sense on the Indians. The value here is without question on The Twins, who quietly took major steps forward in their lineup, but the number is very low and reflects that. Wait in season to back any team beside the Indians as they’re likely to fall far behind at least to start.

Cleveland Indians: 91 Wins

The thing with Cleveland from a win total perspective is going over year to year doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team that has little to no motivation to press on and ask injured players to play through bumps and bruises. Indians players have the luxury of taking their time in recovering due to the underwhelming nature of the rest of the division. That will problem again this year for over bettors as Francisco Lindor is likely to miss some time to start the year, and as we saw with Andrew Miller, Cleveland will take their time, especially with Lindor. Yes, they lost Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion which looks bad on paper, but most of those players were often injured. They brought on Jake Baurs and Carlos Santana to help, but they certainly lost more than they gained. Cleveland doesn’t care about the division and the regular season, they care about fixing October, so I have to go under, despite what is likely the best pitching rotation in baseball one through five.

Arrivals: 1B Jake Bauers, 1B Carlos Santana

Departures: RP Cody Allen, OF Michael Brantley, OF Melky Cabrera, 3B Josh Donaldson, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, C Yan Gomes, LHP Andrew Miller

Lineup:
1) Francisco Lindor, SS
2) Jason Kipnis, 2B
3) Jose Ramirez, 3B
4) Carlos Santana, 1B
5) Hanley Ramirez, DH
6) Jake Bauers, LF
7) Tyler Naquin, RF
8) Leonys Martin, CF
9) Roberto Perez, C

Rotation and Closer:
Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber
Closer: Brad Hand, LHP

Prediction: Under 91 Wins


Minnesota Twins

Minnesota was able to shed Joe Mauer’s contract and quietly overhauled their lineup this off season focused around power bats. When you’re able to put together a lineup with Jonathan Schoop in the six hole, it should be a much improved team in 2019. They now have six players in their lineup likely to hit over 20 home runs with three likely to top 30 or at least already have before. As always, the talk will be on Byron Buxton and a potential breakout as it is every year, but I just think he is who he is, a poor man’s version of Jackie Bradley Jr. From a pitching standpoint, if Jose Berrios can take the next step in his development and figure out his road woes, they will have a budding ace. After that the rotation is mostly back end type talent with the wild card of Michael Pineda returning for the first time since 2017. He and Berrios could provide a beautiful 1-2 punch if things break right. They’re not close to as good as The Indians, but better than the rest of the division this time.

Arrivals: 1B CJ Cron, DH Nelson Cruz, 2B Jonathan Schoop, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez

Lineup:
1) Jorge Polanco, SS
2) Max Kepler, RF
3) Nelson Cruz, DH
4) Eddie Rosario, LF
5) Miguel Sano, 3B
6) C.J. Cron, 1B
7) Jonathan Schoop, 2B
8) Jason Castro, C
9) Byron Buxton, CF

Super Util: Marwin Gonzalez

Rotation and Closer:
Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi,  Martin Perez
Closer: Trevor May, RHP

Prediction: Over 84 Wins


Chicago White Sox: 74 Wins

All the talk is on Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and rightfully so, but Eloy Jimenez was one touted as the best hitting prospect in baseball for a reason. Guerrero Jr. and Jimenez should go toe to toe for rookie of the year all season just like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna did last year, and both are likely to start in the minors for service time reasons. Chicago at one point was absolutely loaded with young talent, they have just been bitten by in the injury bug, although they remain in a great place for the future. Yoan Moncada still needs time to develop and needs to cut his MLB leading strikeouts, Eloy Jimenez is the second best power prospect in baseball, Jose Abreu had fewer than 25 home runs for the first time in the last five MLB seasons, Lucas Giolito was once the top pitching prospect in baseball, Michael Koppech is recovering from Tommy John, and Manny Banuelos was another top prospect derailed by injury. They have upside, but the pitching is a year or two away. They haven’t had more than 67 wins in the last two seasons, but never went below 73 from 2014-2016. Are they 12 wins better than last season with The Twins improving? No. But in two years they will be.

Lineup:
1) Jon Jay, RF
2) Yoan Moncada, 3B
3) Jose Abreu, 1B
4) Yonder Alonso, DH
5) Welington Castillo, C
6) Daniel Palka, LF
7) Tim Anderson, SS
8) Yolmer Sanchez, 2B
9) Adam Engel, CF

Rotation and Closer:
Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Ivan Nova, Lucas Giolito, Manny Banuelos,
Closer: Alex Colome, RHP

Prediction: Under 74 Wins

 

Kansas City Royals: 69.5 Wins

If you’re a Royals fan, you can’t really be upset about what they are doing. They went all-in, caught lightning in a bottle to win a World Series, and then blew it up to rebuild, even if it happened a year later than it should. Every teams goals are different going into a season, and Kansas City is trying to get their young talent experience while returning to at least mediocrity. The problem is they have most of the same talent as last year who only won 58 games. I’m not sure they are 11.5 games better than last seasons team, but they do have some great talent coming up including Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield, and Brady Singer. The rotation always has talent but isn’t able to put it together, at least at the front with Danny Duffy and Jakob Junis. They have made the decision to have the fastest outfield in baseball, so they should lead the league in steals, which is something. Losing Salvador Perez is a bigger blow than people think and will literally cost them runs and potentially victories without his leadership and mentoring in-game for pitchers.

Arrivals: OF Billy Hamilton

Departures: C Salvadore Perez (Torn ACL)

Lineup:
1) Whit Merrifield, 2B
2) Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3) Alex Gordon, LF
4) Jorge Soler, DH
5) Ryan O’Hearn,1B
6) Hunter Dozier, 3B
7) Brian Goodwin, RF
8) Cam Gallagher, C
9) Billy Hamilton, CF

Rotation and Closer:
Danny Duffy, Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Ian Kennedy, Jorge Lopez
Closer: Brad Boxberger, RHP

Prediction: Under 69.5 Wins


Detroit Tigers: 68.5 Wins

Detroit seems to know only two speeds, all in or complete rebuild, which isn’t the worst game plan in baseball. They often bounce back quickly because of this and are very obviously good when they are good yet very obviously not trying to compete when it seems that way. They have talent coming up with #1 overall draft pick SP Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Daz Cameron but they just aren’t four games better than last year-in theory. They lost Victor Martinez and his power, Jose Iglesias’ defense, but they will return Miguel Cabrera and Michael Fulmer. If Cabrera can return to being the model of 30HR 100RBI consistency while Fulmer is finally able to break out and stop his issues the third time through the order, they may just surprise. The problem is Cabrera is obviously getting older and they have won 64 games in each of the last two years-with or without him. This win total hinges on Cabrera, and I need to see him do it again.

Arrivals: Tyson Ross, LHP Matt Moore

Departures: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Lirano, DH Victor Martinez

Lineup:
1) Josh Harrison, 2B
2) Christin Stewart, LF
3) Nicholas Castellanos, RF
4) Miguel Cabrera, DH
5) Jeimer Candelario, 3B
6) Niko Goodrum, 1B
7) Jordy Mercer, SS
8) Grayson Greiner, C
9) JaCoby Jones, CF

Rotation and Closer: 
Matthew Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Moore, Tyson Ross
Closer: Shane Greene, RHP

Prediction: Under 68.5 wins

SEE ALSO:
AL East Win Totals & Division Odds
AL West Win Totals & Division Odds

A jack of all trades, Christian got his start in the gambling industry using a model to predict players performance in daily fantasy sports. Eventually, he used that same model to cross over into NFL handicapping, specifically the prop market and honed his craft enough to cross over from player projections into every aspect of sports Handicapping. He then made the full time move to Las Vegas to become a professional sports handicapper, utilizing his knowledge of all sports including NFL, NCAA, NBA, UFC, and MLB. He's currently the resident #DFS expert on The Sports Gambling Podcast as well as managing editor.

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