AL Central Standings - April

Have we won the division yet? - Ed Zurga

A quick look at where each team in the AL Central stands after the first month of the season.

The first month of the season is over, and the Kansas City Royals haven't played themselves out of the division race yet. In fact, the team is 14-10, and sits a 1/2 game behind the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central lead.

Of course, no one is interested in what the standings look like at the end of April, especially since April standings have little correlation with the standings at the end of September. Still, it's nice too look at the standings and see the Royals name near the top instead of the bottom.

Below is a table which presents the AL Central standings, along with runs scored, runs allowed, and playoff odds from ESPN and Baseball Prospectus:

CENTRAL W L PCT GB RS RA POFF - ESPN POFF - BP
Detroit 15 10 0.6 - 125 98 59.8 89.7
Kansas City 14 10 0.583 0.5 104 90 41.6 23
Minnesota 11 12 0.478 3 92 99 12.2 0.9
Cleveland 11 13 0.458 3.5 120 109 30.6 22.9
Chicago Sox 10 15 0.4 5 89 106 13 6.4

A few thoughts:

  • None of the team's are really out of the race yet. The Chicago White Sox are only five games back even though they are in last place. Chicago really needs to start receiving some production out of their offense, as they are currently hitting 33 percent below league-average as a team. They will fall out of the race quickly if their bats remain anemic.
  • The Twins have managed to hang around after the first month, which is nice for them. I don't see them staying in the race for much longer, as their team still looks pretty bad.
  • Cleveland has experienced some poor luck, as they are two games below five hundred despite outscoring their opponents by eleven runs. They should be expected to hang compete with the Tigers and the Royals as the weather starts to warm.
  • It's nice to see that the Royals have outscored their opponents by 14 runs. They have allowed the least amount of runs in the divison, and have the second highest difference in runs scored and runs allowed.
  • The Tigers, unsurprisingly, appear to be much better than everyone else. They have outscored their opponents by 27 runs, easily the best in the division. We should expect Detroit to start pulling away from everyone else if they continue this pace.
  • ESPN currently has the Royals playoff odds at 41.6%, which is exciting. In contrast, Baseball Prospecutus only has the team's playoff odds at 23%. I imagine BP uses PECOTA to help forecast the playoff odds while ESPN mostly uses April statistics. Unfortunately, that means I would place more stock in the BP projections than the ESPN ones.
So what do the AL Central standings after April tell us? Practically nothing, but you probably knew that was going to be the conclusion anyways. 25 games is not nearly enough time for teams to separate themselves.

Still, Kansas City appears to be better than Minnesota and Chicago, and is currently on par with Cleveland. Hopefully the Royals can stay close to Detroit in the standings during May while putting some distance between themselves and the bottom of the division.
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