Less than 2 weeks from now, the Indians will finally hit the field, for what will be considered the strangest season in recent memory. It will be a season where they’ll only face the AL and NL central in a abbreviated 60 game season, the shortest season since 1878. So, let’s focus on the Tribe’s division and take a deep dive as we look forward to the season.
We all got a rude awakening to it last season, and the “Bomba Squad” aren’t going away anytime soon. The Twins mashed their way to 101 wins and an MLB record 307 home runs last year, and I doubt that’ll change this year. With the likes of Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, and the newly signed Josh Donaldson, they will be the Indians’ hardest lineup they’ll face all year. Anchored by Jose Berrios, and the offseason signings of Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, and a trade for Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers, they gave themselves solid pitching depth. The bullpen has pretty much been kept intact, with Taylor Rodgers, Sergio Romo, and Trevor May being the faces of the bullpen carousel, while stealing Tyler Clippard away from the Indians during the winter. There is no doubt the Twins will be the favorites for the division and from what happened last year, it seems more than likely they win back-to back.
Chicago White Sox
This is the most intriguing team in the division, and in a short season like this, the Sox could be dangerous. Chicago has a lot of young and upcoming talent, like Tim Anderson who was last year’s AL batting champion, Eloy Jimenez who had a solid rookie season, Yoan Moncada who took a huge jump in 2019, and Lucas Giolito who became the ace for the White Sox after having a terrible first full year in the big leagues in 2018. Chicago has bolstered the roster adding our old friend Edwin Encarnacion to pair with Jose Abreu in the middle of the batting order, former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel to add much needed rotational depth, and signing Yasmani Grandal to solidify catcher. They have done a beautiful job at rebuilding this roster over the years and adding talent around it this past off-season. This team is a sleeper in the division, that at worse, could play spoiler to a close division title race.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are a mixture of former championship glory and hope; with Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Danny Duffy, and manager Ned Yost the last remaining relics of the 2015 champion Royals. Along with old guys, the roster is bolstered by the new standouts of Whit Merrifield and Jorge Solar, who can guide them through their rebuild. They are in that weird space of teams that have won it all and have fallen straight into the gutter. Kansas City is now trying to climb out the well they’ve dug and hopefully reach respectability. They are the island of misfit toys with prospects scattered around the diamond, making the Royals pretty much forgettable in the terms of the division. They might have a decent stretch that could thwart the plans of Indians, White Sox, or Twins, but nothing that should scare you heading into 2020.
The Tigers are a mess, and that won’t change in 2020 and beyond. They are still stuck paying Miguel Cabrera gobs of money till 2024; the roster is littered with old-nobodies like Cameron Maybin, the rejects of the Twins like CJ Cron and Jonathan Scoop who will be the most notable names in the lineup. The rotation is pretty much stuck with Jordan Zimmerman because of his awful contract, Daniel Norris who was terrible, Ivan Nova, and a Matthew Boyd who was mediocre at best. The bullpen is a collection of guys you and I don’t know. Unless you’re an avid Mudhens fan, I doubt you could name anyone who will go up on the bump. Let’s be blunt, the Tigers have a long and agonizing rebuild and I pray for all those who are Tigers fans, it’s going to be a long road for you guys. At least you guys drafted Spencer Torkelson though!
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