2014 MLB AL Central Odds and Predictions – Vegas Odds to Win the American League Central Division: Of all the divisions in baseball, the American League Central has been the most predictable of late. Through a combination of weak competition and having multiple MVP winners on their roster, the Detroit Tigers have taken the crown in each of the past three seasons. However, the rest of the division closed the gap a bit last season as both Detroit and Cleveland reached the postseason while Kansas City also finished above .500. For a look at how the teams stack up in 2014, here is a preview of the AL Central.
1. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are trying for a four-peat in the division in 2014, and if they stay healthy, it should be easy to accomplish. The offense is led by two-time defending MVP Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler’s versatility should make up for the loss of Prince Fielder’s back. Meanwhile, Detroit’s pitching is exceptional with former Cy Young/MVP winner Justin Verlander, defending Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and defending ERA champ Anibal Sanchez leading the rotation and newly-signed closer Joe Nathan taking care of the ninth inning.
2. Kansas City Royals: A run of bad years has left Kansas City with a nice core of young players. Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer are all solid offensive players, and catcher Salvador Perez is a rising star at the position. If fellow youngsters Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas can take the next step in 2014, the Royals’ offense could be something special. The team’s pitching could be deeper, but with James Shields serving as the ace and a solid bullpen, the Royals could be even better than last year when they won 86 games.
3. Cleveland Indians: Cleveland surprised a lot of people last year by winning 92 games and making the playoffs. However, the success could be tough to duplicate in 2014. Granted, the offense could still be impressive with the likes of Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera leading the way. Pitching could be a different story as Justin Masterson is the surest thing in a rotation filled with young, unproven arms in front of a shaky bullpen.
4. Chicago White Sox: The White Sox fell off the map last year, and a huge power outage at the plate was a big reason why. Signing Cuban slugger Jose Abreu should help the cause, but with boom-or-bust sluggers like Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, the offense is likely to continue to be inconsistent. On the mound, Chris Sale is a Cy Young-caliber ace, but after him, there is nothing but question marks. Another rough year is likely in store for Chicago in 2014.
5. Minnesota Twins: Catcher Joe Mauer might win a batting title this year, but the rest of Minnesota’s roster is a wreck. Josh Willingham qualifies as the team’s second-best offensive weapon, and Ricky Nolasco is the closest thing the Twins have to an ace. Minnesota doesn’t have enough hitting and doesn’t have enough pitching to contend for anything other than the cellar in the AL Central.
Prseason Odds to win the 2014 AL Central Division
Detroit Tigers win AL Central -300
Kansas City Royals win AL Central +475
Cleveland Indians win AL Central +700
Chicago White Sox wins AL Central +900
Minnesota Twins win AL Central +3800
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