What are the biggest strengths for each AL Central Team in 2023?
Only five days remain in the 2023 MLB offseason. With each of these days, we’ll be breaking down each MLB team’s biggest strength heading into the new year, and today we have the AL Central.
I wrote an in-depth analysis and gave my predictions for this division earlier this month. I have two playoff teams in this division, and if that happens, it’ll be the first time the AL Central has had two playoff teams since 2020.
What is the biggest strength of every AL Central team? Let’s find out.
Detroit Tigers: Javier Báez had a good WBC
Yes, my biggest strength for the Detroit Tigers is that Javier Báez played well during the World Baseball Classic. How is that a strength? Well, it isn’t really, but it could be a sign that Baez is trending in the right direction after a horrific 2022 season.
The Tigers don’t want Baez to play better in 2023, they need him to. I searched for other strengths, I really did. Up and down this roster is screaming 65 wins. There’s nothing to be confident about.
For Detroit’s sake, hopefully, Baez’s WBC will translate into MLB success. Baez seemed like he didn’t care about playing for the Tigers last season. It seemed like he was counting the days until that opt-out after this year.
Detroit was tail-spinning last year. Maybe with Baez’s help, they can right the ship.
Kansas City Royals: Young top-end talent
The Kansas City Royals don’t have any depth to speak of, but their top-end guys in their lineup, rotation and bullpen are solid. Not to mention that they’re all young too.
Bobby Witt is the leader of his team. The 22-year-old has shown flashes of greatness in his time in MLB. Vinnie Pasquantino was crushing every baseball he saw down the stretch of last season and he’s still only 25. What about M.J. Melendez? He’ll get his second full season of MLB action this season.
Brady Singer highlights the rotation this strength in the rotation — he’s also only 26-years-old. Dylan Coleman is a solid young arm coming out of the bullpen as well.
The Royals have a lot to be excited about in the future. Say what you want about their roster and their depth, but the young stars will certainly make this team watchable in 2023.
Chicago White Sox: A fresh start, and depth
With the Tony La Russa era officially over, the 2023 Chicago White Sox will be all about having a fresh start under new manager Pedro Grifol.
I don’t think that the front office did enough to really move the needle this season, but the players that are on this roster are certainly capable. Maybe Grifol will actually be able to get the most of out his players this season.
The White Sox certainly has depth around the diamond. Tim Anderson remains one of the best contact hitters in the league. I think that new signee Andrew Benintendi will have a strong season in the black and white. Will Luis Robert stay on the field enough to reach his ceiling?
The rotation and bullpen also have depth. If Lucas Giolito can bounce back, play as well as he can and be your No. 3 starter, your rotation is in good shape. Even without Liam Hendriks, the bullpen is also not to be messed with.
I don’t hate the White Sox as much as most people do. I think they could actually be decent if everyone stays healthy. Emphasis on “if”.
Minnesota Twins: Correa and Buxton
The two headline players of the 2023 Minnesota Twins are likely their biggest strengths. The ceiling for Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton is through the roof. The rest of the lineup might be a bit concerning, but the strengths are clear.
If Correa and Buxton can play a full 162-game season, they have the ability to carry this squad on their backs. With that being said, if Correa’s ankle is truly as bad as it seems and if Buxton can’t stay on the field, the Twins could be in deep trouble. Buxton hasn’t hit the 100 games played mark since 2017.
These two players are genuinely some of the best all-around players in the sport. But the best ability is availability.
The Twins might be really good in 2023. They need all the pieces to mesh together, and it starts with Correa and Buxton.
Cleveland Guardians: Superstars in all three phases
It might be crazy to say this, but the Cleveland Guardians have superstars everywhere.
Let’s start with the lineup. No one is arguing the stardom of José Ramírez. Over these last couple of seasons, Ramírez might be the most consistent star in the entire American League. Andrés Giménez broke into stardom in 2022 with his magical defense and ability to hit for a surprising amount of power. The two Josh’s — Naylor and Bell — have cemented themselves as mashers of the baseball.
What about the pitching? Triston McKenzie has officially vaulted himself into superstar level, and Shane Bieber has been there for years. There was no better reliever in the American League last season than Emmanuel Clase.
Cleveland has stars all around the diamond. They’re the most intriguing team in this division by a landslide.
The 2023 AL Central is really anyone’s division, but I really like Cleveland’s chances. Their strengths are probably the most prevalent of any of their division foes.
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