Advertisement

Pitching should keep the Indians atop weak AL Central

Pitching should keep the Indians atop weak AL Central
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber delivers during an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds on March 11. (Ross D. Franklin / AP)

A look at every team in the American League Central and their 2019 predicted order of finish.

1 | CLEVELAND INDIANS

Advertisement

2018 | 91-71, 1st in Central

Last year in playoffs | 2018

What is arguably baseball’s best rotation, a group headed by two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, will keep the Indians in the hunt for their fourth straight division title, and a bullpen anchored by Brad Hand looks stout despite the loss of closer Cody Allen and versatile left-hander Andrew Miller. A top-heavy lineup featuring leadoff man Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, who combined for 163 extra-base hits and 197 RBIs last season, should benefit from the return of Bradley Zimmer from shoulder surgery in July.

2019 Cleveland Indians

Projected batting order

Player Position
Player1. Francisco Lindor PositionShortstop
Player2. Jason Kipnis PositionSecond base
Player3. Jose Ramirez PositionThird base
Player4. Carlos Santana PositionFirst base
Player5. Hanley Ramirez PositionDesignated hitter
Player6. Jake Bauers PositionLeft field
Player7. Tyler Naquin PositionRight field
Player8. Roberto Perez PositionCatcher
Player9. Leonys Martin PositionCenter field

Pitching

Pitching rotation Throws
Pitching rotationAlex Cobb ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationDylan Bundy ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationAndrew Cashner ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationDavid Hess ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationYefry Ramirez ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationCloser Throws
Pitching rotationMychal Givens ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationSetup Throws
Pitching rotationRichard Bleier ThrowsLeft-handed

2 | MINNESOTA TWINS

2018 |78-84, 2nd in Central

Last year in playoffs | 2017

New manager Rocco Baldelli has an improved roster. The addition of right-handed sluggers Nelson Cruz, who has averaged 40 homers and 104 RBIs over the past five seasons, and C.J. Cron, who had 30 homers and 74 RBIs in 140 game for Tampa Bay in 2018, helps balance a lineup that includes the left-handed-hitting Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jason Castro and switch-hitters Jorge Polanco and Marwin Gonzalez, who will play third base until Miguel Sano returns from leg surgery in May. The rotation may lack an ace but is solid.

2019 Minnesota Twins

Projected batting order

Player Position
Player1. Jorge Polanco PositionShortstop
Player2. Max Kepler PositionRight field
Player3. Nelson Cruz PositionDesignated hitter
Player4. Eddie Rosario PositionLeft field
Player5. C.J. Cron PositionFirst base
Player6. Marwin Gonzalez PositionThird base
Player7. Jonathan Schoop PositionSecond base
Player8. Jason Castro PositionCatcher
Player9. Byron Buxton PositionCenter field

Pitching

Pitching rotation Throws
Pitching rotationJose Berrios ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationKyle Gibson ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationMichael Pineda ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationJake Odorizzi ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationMartin Perez ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationCloser Throws
Pitching rotationTrevor May ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationSetup Throws
Pitching rotationTaylor Rogers ThrowsLeft-handed

3 | CHICAGO WHITE SOX

2018 | 62-100, 4th in Central

Last year in playoffs | 2008

The White Sox have been stockpiling prospects during a lengthy rebuilding process in which they’ve averaged 69 wins over the past six years. One of those players—outfielder Eloy Jimenez—should boost the lineup immediately after signing a 6-year, $43 million contract March 20. The rotation should benefit from a full season from ace Carlos Rodon, who was limited by shoulder surgery to 20 starts in 2018.

2019 Chicago White Sox

Projected batting order

Player Position
Player1. John Jay PositionRight field
Player2. Yoan Moncada PositionThird base
Player3. Jose Abreu PositionFirst base
Player4. Yonder Alonso PositionDesignated hitter
Player5. Welington Castillo PositionCatcher
Player6. Daniel Palka PositionLeft field
Player7. Tim Anderson PositionShortstop
Player8. Yolmer Sanchez PositionSecond base
Player9. Adam Engel PositionCenter field

Pitching

Pitching rotation Throws
Pitching rotationCarlos Rodon ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationReynaldo Lopez ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationIvan Nova ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationLucas Giolito ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationDylan Covey ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationCloser Throws
Pitching rotationAlex Colome ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationSetup Throws
Pitching rotationNate Jones ThrowsRight-handed

4 | DETROIT TIGERS

2018 | 64-98, 3rd in Central

Last year in playoffs | 2014

Two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera appears sound after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured left biceps tendon last June. The Tigers will need significant production from the 35-year-old slugger, who has five years and $162 million left on his contract, to be competitive. Ace Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL rookie of the year, will open the season on the injured list after undergoing off-season right-knee surgery. Youngsters Christin Stewart and Jeimer Candelario show promise, but the Tigers appear years away from contending.

2019 Detroit Tigers

Projected batting order

Player Position
Player1. Josh Harrison PositionSecond base
Player2. Nick Castellanos PositionRight field
Player3. Miguel Cabrera PositionDesignated hitter
Player4. Niko Goodrum PositionFirst base
Player5. Christin Stewart PositionLeft field
Player6. Jeimer Candelario PositionThird base
Player7. Jordy Mercer PositionShortstop
Player8. Grayson Greiner PositionCatcher
Player9. JaCoby Jones PositionCenter field

Pitching

Pitching rotation Throws
Pitching rotationJordan Zimmermann ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationMatthew Boyd ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationMatt Moore ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationTyson Ross ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationDaniel Norris ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationCloser Throws
Pitching rotationShane Greene ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationSetup Throws
Pitching rotationJoe Jimenez ThrowsRight-handed

5 | KANSAS CITY ROYALS

2018 | 58-104, 5th in Central

Last year in playoffs | 2015

Three years after winning the World Series, the Royals had the second-worst record in baseball in 2018, and they remain in a rebuilding phase. Kansas City did well to sign veteran catcher Martin Maldonado, a capable defensive replacement for Salvador Perez, who underwent season-ending elbow surgery in early March. But Maldonado is not a productive hitter and won’t match Perez’s 25-homer, 80-RBI power. The return of cleanup batter Jorge Soler, who missed the last three months of the 2018 season because of a foot injury, should bolster the lineup.

2019 Kansas City Royals

Projected batting order

Player Position
Player1. Whit Merrifield PositionSecond base
Player2. Adalberto Mondesi PositionShortstop
Player3. Alex Gordon PositionLeft field
Player4. Jorge Soler PositionDesignated hitter
Player5. Ryan O’Hearn PositionFirst base
Player6. Hunter Dozier PositionThird base
Player7. Brian Goodwin PositionRight field
Player8. Martin Maldonado PositionCatcher
Player9. Billy Hamilton PositionCenter field

Pitching

Pitching rotation Throws
Pitching rotationDanny Duffy ThrowsLeft-handed
Pitching rotationBrad Keller ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationJakob Junis ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationIan Kennedy ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationJorge Lopez ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationCloser Throws
Pitching rotationBrad Boxberger ThrowsRight-handed
Pitching rotationSetup Throws
Pitching rotationWily Peralta ThrowsRight-handed
Advertisement
Advertisement