Chicago White Sox
Coming back from 93-69 that brought home the division pennant after 13 years, the White Sox restart in favor of the Central forecasters, but for extreme glory there are in our opinion at least six teams of superior caliber and mentality. The range is 88/90 W, enough to keep going, while the ambition is to win a playoff series after the 2005 WS.
The very recent trades that have annexed Reese McGuire as the new backup catcher for Zack Collins and especially AJ Pollock on the outside for Craig Kimbrell, have concluded an eventful offseason right between relievers, with the former Red Sox being fired. less and less clutch. and the -alleged- rise to title of Michael Kopech, the acclaimed prodigy of the house expected in the escape but not always continuous and with the TJS in the curriculum.
Hendricks is the undisputed closer of a bullpen therefore in the valuable role, which joins the reliable Bummer and Burr Reynaldo López, José Ruiz, Vince Velasquaz and above all Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman, signed at 17 M for two years on first and 24 for 3 the ruthless former Astros from the last faceoff to the OPs.
Added to this, Josh Harrison was identified as the wild card in the defense of the diamond, although for a single season (5.5 million), he was a second baseman capable of emigrating in multiple roles: the objective is to continue the growth of the forwards. Jiménez, Robert and Vaughn, who are joined by another veteran in addition to the superstars and certainties Abreu, Anderson, Moncada and Grandal, members of an unbeatable lineup. On the other hand, the 6 million club option declined, César Hernández married in Washington.
The rotation, among the best of the regular season but with shortcomings in the OPs and this year the orphan of Carlos Rodón, who emigrated to the Giants, will have to raise the bar. Giolito, who is expected to be confirmed as a strikeout intimidator, remains second to Lynn and ahead of Cease, but the 34-year-old former Cardinals will keep him for a month with a right knee problem and his spot will be gone. old Johnny Cueto (minor league deal), while left-hander Keuchel and Kopech close out the department, hoping the former Houston’s dramatic 2021 campaign will remain an isolated case.
Apart from the departure of the symbol of the Indians for the Guardians – which we prefer to postpone – there are very few evolutions in Cleveland, which basically continues with the calculated rebuilding and transition of the 76/83 wins, trying to continue pouring out talent. fine air.
Indeed, having lost Mejía, Parker, Roberto Pérez and Harold Ramírez, he kept a low profile, attacking free agency only for the booking of catcher Austin Hedges, or rather Luke Maile at $900,000 a year, pledging exclusively to extend what He made 5 years the straight top of the formidable Class closer (20M) and for a year almost all the dying troops eluding arbitration.
Especially the ace Bieber (6M) and the second in the rotation Cal Quantrill (2.51), a sector completed by the other right-handers Plesac, Civale and McKenzie and battered by injuries, so Francona keeps Eli Morgan warm and the left Hentges and Logan Allen from the excellent bullpen (3rd in ERA), where notes of merit must also be expressed for Gose, Sandlin and Shaw. Thus, a payroll close to 50 million is the third lowest in the MLB today.
At the plate and in extended defense at 124M José Ramírez maintains the superstar’s MVP halo, despite rumors of his sacrifice being on the agenda, to further amplify a futuristic core, perhaps gaining top prospects for those like was mentioned, is out of competition. today. To that end, rookie Oregon St Steven Kwan, a small contact hitter allergic to strikeouts, will have room outside; Along with him confirmed Myles Straw and Josh Naylor, out most of 2021 due to injuries, and the smasher Franmil Reyes, DH who repeated the 30 home runs.
The rebuilding after the golden days seems to have finally come to an end for the new and young Tigers, therefore ready to have their say in a still low-regime division and today a White Sox feud, after the erosion of Cleveland. and the recent epic. failure of the Twins.
After the periods of the luxury tax, the salary space has been inflated enough to attack the market and score elite hits. We start from the certainty of AJ Hinch, of Miggy Cabrera still not satisfied despite the 502 h and almost 3,000 valid and a hopeful although substantially mediocre championship, almost never above 50% and with numerous problems in the mountains.
Detroit, however, taking advantage of a schedule in favor of two halves of the season, has learned to win, thanks to two out clutch hitters among the best in the league, responsible for the 69/66 record. To get into winning mode now, Niko Goodrum lost, so the arrival of Meadows from Tampa becomes effective, at the price of a second round and a third baseman from Isaac Paredes; the various Candelario (3B), Harold Castro (UT) and Reyes (OF) were later reconfirmed for one year and will reinforce the defense of the diamond along with Baddoo (LF), Grossman (RF) and Schoop (1B), all supporters of the improvements just described.
If the Reds’ new catcher Barnhart, traded with Nick Quintana, fulfills his performances against right-handers and matches those of Haase’s backup with left-handers, the great splash of Javier Báez (140 M for 6 years) is intriguing, who fills the shortstop hole identified in the preseason as a primary operation, although the reluctant Correa would have satisfied more, given the recent poor averages of “il mago” in strikeouts and in the O-Swing%!
On the other hand, it hurts the fans to give up Matthew Boyd, who stayed to go to the Giants and is often (still) beaten by injuries. Last (?) chance for Fulmer, signed for a scant $5 million to avoid arbitration but never recovered by Tommy John and now exclusively setup and closer.
The rotation will focus on young talents Mize, Skubal and Manning, the first two undisputed futuristic gems returning from an encouraging franchise record of 119 ERA+ and K rookie, and the third impressive straightaway. Among the starters, the annual fishing of Pineda, the only one in history with a peak in Minnesota, and among the relays, the Chafin biennial, in the department together with the closers Soto, Funkhouser, Cisnero and Lange.
On the other hand, like Báez, the graft of the other shot sensation Eduardo Rodríguez, a long contract (5 years for 77 M) also for him, number 1 on the mountain as well as chicken for the young teammates, is doubtful.
Kansas City Royals
Another season full of talent and curiosity but probably still below 50% for the Royals and Mike Matheny, far from this goal since winning the 2015 WS and entangled by problems on the mountain, with starters and ERA spikes; room improvements are planned in the future, with the prospect of Asa Lacy and the recovery of Tommy John from Jonathan Bowlan.
In the present, the rotation sees the return to the fold for $13 million a year of Zack Greinke, multiple Gold Glove winner needless to mention but light years from past glories, while Singer and Keller retain second and third place. . Instead, it is to the talents of Bubic and Carlos Hernandez that they want to hand over the modern, futuristic keys to the mound, the same can be said for Staumont, Brentz and closer Scott Barlow polls, renewed at 2.4/M per year. . Exchanged for Mike Minor, the fiery Amir Garrett arrives from the Reds, who returns from an insufficient year, completing the sector with Tapia and Payamps confirmed.
Also at the plate are young offshoots ready to blossom behind Dozier, Carlos Santana and O’Hearn: We’re talking first baseman Nick Pratto, 14th overall in the 2017 draft, fated SS/3B Bobby Witt Jr and catcher MJ Melandez. Here, however, there is no rush, given that if Mondesí and the Pérez icon are physically in order, they can still make a difference.
In addition to the reliable Benintendi (LF) and the 2021 revelation Nicky López (2B/SS) the certainties Michael A Taylor and Whit Merrifield round out a qualitative lineup, the winger confirmed at 9 million biennials and second only to Correa for most defensive runs saved. , and the right fielder and utility player among the most underrated in the league, capable of performing in the .291 box in 6 Major League years.
And here is the team that has moved the most waters in AL Central, maintaining a payroll below the average of 134 million. The objective is to compete for the division title, although in our opinion the debacles on the mound will continue to be the sword of Damocles that will not keep Minny from a record that hovers around 50%, despite the trade for Emilio Pagan and the waning Chris. Paddck with Taylor, Rodgers and winger Rooker.
Carlos Correa, object of the Mayor’s desires, gets married in Minnesota, preferring a three-year contract -although 105.3M- to the almost 300 years of ten proposed by the Tigers. The objective is to take advantage of a balanced group to play for the extra place in the playoffs and, if not, return to a 30-year-old contender elsewhere by signing the contract of life. Discounting the extension to Byron Buxton, in case of integrating unattainable defensive CF, which will close the Twins’ career.
On the mountain then, the annual bets take the form of Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray (from the Reds in exchange for Chase Petty) and Chris Archer, a group that despite an arsenal of several lengths has made discontinuity a constant; plus Maeda and Dobnak are on the disabled list, so young Ryan and Ober will have opportunities in the rotation. The bullpen, 20th last year in ERA (4.39), plus rookie Durán and the Mariners’ excellent Joe Smith, once again offers Alcalá, Duffey and Thielbar.
Rocco Baldelli’s lineup remains spatial, with the power of Sano (1B) and Kepler (RF) and the freshness of prodigies Arraez (3B) and Kirilloff (LF) combined with the two-way dangerousness of Polanco, Buxton and the new Correa. , fearsome batsman but also extraordinary defenders. In addition, Kiner-Falefa, bought by the Rangers for Garver, later emigrated to the Bronx along with Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvert for Urshela and Sánchez, in a trade that adds additional skills in both phases to those already mentioned so far.