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Scouting the Enemy: 2019 AL Central Preview

The Royals will play 76 of their 162 games against AL Central opponents.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this off-season, I wrote this article detailing that the AL Central is going to be especially vulnerable in 2019. In the article I broke down a pretty thorough list of how the Royals stack up to the Cleveland Indians and how the gap between the two teams isn’t as big as some may think.

Last year around this time, I wrote this same article previewing the AL Central for you guys for 2018. Let’s go through each team really quickly and see how I did pegging the 2018 AL Central:

Detroit Tigers

  • Projected Record: 60-102
  • Actual Record: 64-98
  • Projected Finish: 5th
  • Actual Finish: 3rd

Chicago White Sox

  • Projected Record: 69-93
  • Actual Record: 62-100
  • Projected Finish: 4th
  • Actual Finish
  • 4th

Minnesota Twins

  • Projected Record: 79-83
  • Actual Record: 78-84
  • Projected Finish: 3rd
  • Actual Finish: 2nd

Cleveland Indians

  • Projected Record: 97-65
  • Actual Record: 91-71
  • Projected Finish: 1st
  • Actual Finish: 1st


  • So I missed with the Royals a bit...
  • Predicted the order of the other four teams correctly
  • Missed the four teams’ records by a combined 17 games, an average of 4.25 wins/team

So I was way off in regard to how good the Royals would be in 2018. My bad. I think I did a pretty dang good job with everyone else though, so I’m gonna go ahead and give this thing a whirl again for 2019. Let’s take a look at the projected record, finish, lineup, rotation, and MVP for the Royals AL Central opponents in 2019.

2019 Detroit Tigers Preview

Projected Rotation:

  1. Michael Fulmer
  2. Matt Boyd
  3. Jordan Zimmerman
  4. Tyson Ross
  5. Matt Moore

Projected Lineup:

  • LF: Christin Stewart/Mikie Mahtook
  • CF: JaCoby Jones
  • RF: Nicholas Castellanos
  • 3B: Jeimer Candelario
  • SS: Jordy Mercer
  • 2B: Josh Harrison
  • 1B: Miguel Cabrera
  • C: Grayson Greiner
  • DH: John Hicks/Niko Goodrum

Man. I don’t know how this Detroit team improves much from their poor 2018 effort. I love the Josh Harrison signing for them, but Jordy Mercer doesn’t offer much of an improvement at SS and they lost their starting backstop in James McCann. McCann didn’t hit well at all last year, but he was one of the better defensive catchers in the AL and Grayson Greiner, well, wasn’t.

The rotation didn't get much better. I love Matt Moore. I’ve been waiting for him to breakout for years. He just has not been the same since having Tommy John surgery in 2014. He’s an exciting wildcard for Detroit, but after Michael Fulmer took a step backwards in 2018, that rotation could be brutal. They say every team wins and loses 60 games, but I’m not sure Detroit gets there in 2018.

  • Projected Record for 2019: 58-104
  • Projected Finish in the AL Central: 5th
  • Team MVP: Nicholas Castellanos

2019 Chicago White Sox Preview

Projected Rotation:

  1. Carlos Rodon
  2. Reynaldo Lopez
  3. Ivan Nova
  4. Lucas Giolito
  5. Dylan Covey

Projected Lineup:

  • LF: Daniel Palka/Nicky Delmonico
  • CF: Adam Engel
  • RF: Jon Jay/Leury Garcia
  • 3B: Yoan Moncada
  • SS: Tim Anderson
  • 2B: Yolmer Sanchez
  • 1B: Jose Abreu
  • C: Welington Castillo
  • DH: Yonder Alonso

The Chicago White Sox are in something of a weird place. The team could legitimately sell pieces at the trade deadline in 2019 and actually be a better team afterwards. One of baseball’s top prospects, Eloy Jimenez, lurks in AAA. The kid can absolutely rake and when ever he gets his shot in the big leagues, the team will instantly become much better. Yoan Moncada, baseball’s former top prospect, struggled a bit in his sophomore season, but he figures to make some improvements. Yonder Alonso and Welington Castillo figure to be big adds to the team.

I like what the White Sox did this off-season. Their farm system is absolutely loaded and their future is very bright. I just have way too many questions about their pitching staff heading into 2019. Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning, both top 60 prospects in baseball, aren’t far from the big leagues, but neither have appeared in AAA yet. Their bullpen actually figures to be pretty good, but the overall depth of the staff is concerning. Nonetheless, I expect the Chi-Sox to surprise some people in 2019.

  • Projected Record for 2019: 74-88
  • Projected Finish in the AL Central: 3rd
  • Team MVP: Yoan Moncada

2019 Minnesota Twins Preview

Projected Rotation:

  1. Jose Berrios
  2. Kyle Gibson
  3. Michael Pineda
  4. Jake Odorizzi
  5. Adalberto Mejia

Projected Lineup:

  • LF: Eddie Rosario
  • CF: Byron Buxton
  • RF: Max Kepler
  • 3B: Miguel Sano
  • SS: Jorge Polanco
  • 2B: Jonathan Schoop
  • 1B: CJ Cron
  • C: Jason Castro/Mitch Garver/Willians Astudillo
  • DH: Nelson Cruz

The Twins just can’t do anything to impress me, apparently. Last year while everyone was hyping them up as a potential candidate to compete for the division, yours truly brought you back to earth and told almost exactly how many games they’d win. The Twinkies need to do something big. Go get Craig Kimbrel. Go get Dallas Keuchel. Do something cool. Add some star power to that roster. Jose Berrios is awesome. Eddie Rosario is very good. Byron Buxton and Max Kepler round out an elite defensive outfield.

But how is this team going to compete in the AL? There is a 0% chance this team makes the playoffs. Go ahead and @ Freezing Cold Takes if you want. I’m pretty confident in this one. Nelson Cruz was a cool signing, but he’s a DH. Jonathan Schoop is coming off the worst season of his big league career. CJ Cron? Really? I’m supposed to put my faith in the Twins postseason efforts in him? This team will be better than they were in 2018, and they have some STUDS on the farm, but they’ll be disappointing again in 2019.

  • Projected Record for 2019: 84-78
  • Projected Finish in the AL Central: 2nd
  • Team MVP: Byron Buxton

2018 Cleveland Indians Preview

Projected Rotation:

  1. Corey Kluber
  2. Carlos Carrasco
  3. Trevor Bauer
  4. Mike Clevinger
  5. Shane Bieber

Projected Lineup:

  • LF: Jeff Luplow
  • CF: Leonys Martin
  • RF: Tyler Naquin
  • 3B: Jose Ramirez
  • SS: Francisco Lindor
  • 2B: Jason Kipnis
  • 1B: Carlos Santana
  • C: Roberto Perez
  • DH: Jake Bauers

The Cleveland Indians infuriate me. In a year that the AL Central is going to be handed to them, they were rumored to be considering TRADING either Kluber or Bauer this off-season. The Indians are GUARANTEED a playoff spot in 2019 and they were going to SELL. This is everything that’s wrong with baseball. Instead of making improvements to their less-than-stellar looking outfield, they were going to sell off a starter. Sheesh.

Lindor is a little banged up but that shouldn’t stop Cleveland from rolling in the division. What Cleveland does in the playoffs figures to be determined by moves they make at the deadline. Their farm system isn’t great, but they’ve got some really good pieces that should have an impact in the big leagues fairly soon. Their lucky the rest of the AL Central is going to be bad in 2019, because this front office didn’t appear to want to win.

  • Projected Record for 2019: 92-70
  • Projected Finish in the AL Central: 1st
  • Team MVP: Francisco Lindor


As of right now, where do you think the Royals finish in the AL Central? Vegas has the Royals pegged for 69 wins. PECOTA predicts they’ll win 71.

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    (30 votes)
  • 15%
    (57 votes)
  • 41%
    (158 votes)
  • 29%
    (110 votes)
  • 6%
    (23 votes)
378 votes total Vote Now