It’s time to play ball as the 2023 Major League Baseball season returns. Last season was wild, and the Houston Astros can finally raise a World Series trophy that won’t be tarnished by allegations of cheating. The 2023 campaign should bring a faster, more exciting game as changes and new rules are being implemented that all fans, and teams, will have to get used to. There were massive deals and huge roster moves so let’s break it all down and get you caught up. Here is a preview of the AL Central.
What Happened in 2022:
The Chicago White Sox were supposed to be the next great team and they absolutely fell flat on their faces. After winning just 81 games in the most subpar season we could have imagined, it is clear that the Cleveland Guardians still have the best franchise in the division and Terry Francona is still running a pretty tight ship. The Minnesota Twins had promising stretches last season but finished just 78-84. One of the bigger disappointments of the season was the Detroit Tigers who brought in big names in free agency, brought in a former World Series winning manager but still managed to win just 66 games. No better than them were the Kansas City Royals who won 65 games and still look lost since that World Series run in the mid-2010s.
Best Players to Watch:
White Sox – SS Tim Anderson – He’s become a major star and he does things that are fun for the game. But he was able to play just 79 games this year, so the World Baseball Classic has been a nice reminder of how great he is.
Twins – SS Carlos Correa – So, he’s back? He tried to leave, like really hard. But everyone who wanted (and tried to sign him) declared his health as a major issue. When healthy, the former AL Rookie of the Year is a force to be reckoned with.
Guardians – P Triston McKenzie – The Guardians keep getting these aces every few years that become Cy Young candidates and typically win. McKenzie is next up after pitching to the tune of a 2.96 ERA and .95 WHIP last year.
Royals – 1B Vinnie Pasquantino – The Royals are hoping the entertaining Italian will be a force this season after batting .295 with 10 home runs last season in only 72 games last season. He also walked 35 times while striking out only 34 times in nearly 300 plate appearances.
Tigers – 1B Spencer Torkelson – The former first overall pick had a total dud in his rookie year, hitting .203 with just eight home runs. Hopefully he can soak up as much “Miggy” hitting knowledge as possible in Miguel Cabrera’s final season.
Biggest Additions and Subtractions:
The biggest story in free agency was the debacle that was Correa’s injury. First, he signed with the San Francisco Giants. But then he failed a physical. Next, he signed with the NY Mets. They decided the same injury was a problem. So, he somehow found his way back to Minnesota. They also traded rising star INF Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for P Pablo Lopez. The White Sox brought in OF Andrew Benintendi who has been great since leaving the Boston Red Sox, but they also lost longtime star 1B Jose Abreu to the Houston Astros.
Until another team proves that they can take down the Guardians, I am rolling with Cleveland. They almost knocked out the Yankees last year in what would have been an incredible upset. Cleveland Guardians 95-67