The AL Central provided one of the biggest surprises and best storylines of the 2017 season. The Minnesota Twins became the first team in MLB history to go from losing 100 games to making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, earning Paul Molitor AL Manager of the Year honors. Nevertheless, the Indians are still the favorite in the Central division; however, after entering the postseason as World Series favorites last year, Cleveland fans aren’t going to want to see their team collapse in the playoffs for a third straight season.
Cleveland Indians (-550)
Once again, the Indians enter the 2018 season as one of the favorites to win the World Series, but after back-to-back playoff collapses, the optimism is wearing thin in Cleveland. Nevertheless, the team still possesses one of the strongest lineups in baseball, highlighted by Francisco Lindor and Jose Martinez. On top of that, they have last year’s AL Cy Young winner Cory Kluber and an elite bullpen that features Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Expectations are high for the Tribe, making 2018 a make-or-break season for veteran manager Terry Francona.
Minnesota Twins (+325)
As mentioned above, the Twins were the Cinderella of the 2017 season. This year, they took a similar approach by not signing any big name free agents. Molitor and Minnesota’s front office are all-in on the youth movement. It will tough to keep up with the fire power of the Indians, and the wild card race will certainly not be easy with the AL East guaranteeing at least one of those slots. Ok, nothing is guaranteed, but the Red Sox and Yankees look like playoff locks.
Chicago White Sox (+3300)
Having missed the playoffs in ten straight seasons, the White Sox are desperate for some success, especially with the Northsiders running the NL Central. Truth is, the Southside still doesn’t have much going for it. They lost Chris Sale, traded Todd Frazier, and now, Jose Abreu looks to be the next high-profile player to hit the trade market for a franchise that is in rebuilding mode.
Kansas City Royals (+5000)
After winning the World Series a few years ago, the Royals were forced to blow up their roster, as all the big name players were due for pay days beyond Kansas City’s capabilities. Now, they’re back at the bottom of the Central division, waiting for some more young talent to emerge from the minors and resurrect the franchise.
Detroit Tigers (+5000)
Justin Verlander. Justin Upton. The Tigers are also in rebuilding mode and have accepted it by trading away some of their best players last season. Of course, the aging Miguel Cabrera remains on the roster with a no-trade clause, but even another triple crown year wouldn’t be enough to pull Detroit from the gutter. It looks to be another long season for the Motor City.
*Odds from Bovada as of 3/27/18