MLB News

Twins or Guardians? Can the White Sox rebound? What’s in store for Tigers, Royals?

Twins or Guardians? Can the White Sox rebound? What’s in store for Tigers, Royals?

Baseball season is right around the corner, which means it’s time for divisional previews! Between now and MLB Opening Day on March 30, Yahoo Sports will be rolling out our thoughts on each division, including a quick recap of the offseason and best- and worst-case scenarios for each team.

We began last week with the AL East and NL East. Next, we look at the American League Central.

Projected record (per PECOTA, as of March 14): 88-74

Offseason headlines:

Best-case scenario: In some ways, 2023 has already proven to be a best-case scenario for the Twins, who got their guy — and at a discount — when Correa’s tumultuous offseason landed him back on the team that fell in love with him last year. We can’t prove it was a savvy coup by a team trusting its own experience with a player over external medical analysis, but a mostly healthy season for Correa is key to the Twins’ success.

Of course, all teams need their best players on the field for things to break right, but the Twins treat “injured list” like a curse word after last year and would send Byron Buxton out ensconced in bubble wrap if they thought it would help. Even in an ideal world, Buxton’s playing time is limited, but let’s say he starts at least 100 games, Taylor proves plenty capable as an insurance policy, and whatever it was the Twins saw that made them jump at Gallo works to turn him back into his pre-2022 self.

[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men’s | Women’s]

The rotation — a weakness in 2022, as the Twins started anyone in the stadium healthy enough to throw the ball 60 feet, 6 inches — suddenly seems to runneth over with not-quite-aces but plenty of upper/mid-rotation types. Stockpiling competent options — along with López: Sonny Gray, a healthy Kenta Maeda, a healthy Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan wielding a couple of new weapons, and organizational success stories such as Bailey Ober, Josh Winder and Louie Varland — turns out to be an effective strategy, especially with Minnesota’s league-leading defense.

The team not only makes it back to the postseason, but also, for the first time in 19 years, they win a game once they get there.

Worst-case scenario: Two words: Ankle termites.

Regardless of record, what would success look like in 2023? A full, healthy season from Correa would constitute an important moral victory, but that won’t be enough to justify the whole contract. In an era of teams being all too willing to count themselves out…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at MLB Baseball News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games…