2022 American League Central Preview

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

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OddsJam StaffApril 7, 2022, 07:35 PM

After a roller coaster lockout in the off-season filled with glimmers of hope and absolute despair, we made it. Baseball is happening on April 7! In preparation for opening day, we’re going to take you through a preview of every division in the MLB, who the manager is, pitching rotations, notable acquisitions, etc. So without further ado let’s take a look at the American League Central!

American League Central Division

The Chicago White Sox won the AL Central division, quite handily, to the surprise of no one. Every other team in the division finished below .500. Will it be any better this season? Let’s dig in and find out.

Cleveland Guardians

American League Central Preview
AP Photos

Last Year’s Results

  • 80-82

2022 Payroll

  • $40,410,000 (27th in the league)

2022 Manager

  • Terry Francona

2022 Projected Lineup

  1. Myles Straw
  2. Amed Rosario
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Franmil Reyes
  5. Bobby Bradley
  6. Andres Gimenez
  7. Yu-Cheng Chang
  8. Bradley Zimmer
  9. Austin Hedges

2022 Projected Rotation

  1. Shane Bieber
  2. Zach Plesac
  3. Cal Quantril
  4. Aaron Civale 
  5. Triston McKenzie

The Guardians were one extra win away from joining the White Sox in the .500 club of the American League Central. Will they join the club this season? The Guardians lost Blake Parker, Roberto Perez, Harold Ramirez, and Wilson Ramos. They added Luke Mailey and Bryan Shaw.

The Guardian’s batting lineup is very… lackluster. They have a couple of strong bats accompanied by young unproven bats. As far as the rotation it continues to be solid headlined by 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. If Bieber can stay healthy and everyone else can pitch as they have in years past, this will be a tough rotation to go against. 

Caesars has the Guardians at +1200 to win the AL Central. With some injury luck and a bit more money spent on the batting lineup, it’s not out of the question.

Kansas City Royals

American League Central Preview
AP Photos

Last Year’s Results

  • 74-88

2022 Payroll

  • $68,810,000 (26th in the league)

2022 Manager

  • Mike Matheny

2022 Projected Lineup

  1. Whit Merrifield
  2. Bobby Witt Jr.
  3. Salvador Perez
  4. Andrew Benintendi
  5. Carlos Santana
  6. Hunter Dozier
  7. Adalberto Mondesi
  8. Michael Taylor
  9. Nicky Lopez

2022 Projected Rotation

  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Brad Keller
  3. Kris Bubic
  4. Carlos Hernandez
  5. Brady Singer
  6. Daniel Lynch

The royals lost Wade Davis, Jesse Hahn, Greg Holland, Jakob Junis, Mike Minor, and Ervin Santana. They added Taylor Clarke, Amir Garrett, and Zack Greinke.

The batting lineup isn’t necessarily the issue. Salvador Perez, Andrew Benintendi, and Carlos Santana make for a solid heart of the lineup with a great mix of talent surrounding them.

The problem is the pitching rotation. The staff ace is a past his prime Zack Grienke, and it honestly only gets worse from there. 

Caesars has the Royals at +1500 to win the AL Central. No arguments from here. 

Detroit Tigers

American League Central Preview
AP Photos

Last Year’s Results

  • 77-85 (.475)

2022 Payroll

  • $116,040,000 (18th in the league)

2022 Manager

  • A.J. Hinch

2022 Projected Lineup

  1. Akil Baddoo
  2. Robbie Grossman
  3. Javier Baez
  4. Austin Meadows
  5. Miguel Cabrera
  6. Jeimer Candelario
  7. Jonathon Schoop
  8. Spencer Torkelson
  9. Tucker Barnhart

2022 Projected Rotation

  1. Eduardo Rodriguez
  2. Casey Mize
  3. Tarik Skubal
  4. Matt Manning
  5. Tyler Alexander

Last season’s 77 win campaign was one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Tigers Lost Matthew Boyd, Niko Goodrum, Derek Holland, Nomar Mazara, Julio Teheran, and Jose Urena. They added Javier Baez, Tucker Barnhart, Andrew Chafin, Austin Meadows, Michael Pineda, and Eduardo Rodriguez. 

Detroit made some great moves to bolster their hitting with Javier Baez and former No. 1 pick Torkelson. This lineup has a good mix of youth and veteran presence.

On the pitching side, every pitcher is under the age of 30. Rodriguez has shown plenty of poise before and is looking to recapture that this year. Mize, Skubal, and Manning hope to improve with age. All in all, this may not be a scary team this year, but it’s coming. 

Caesars has the Tigers at +750 to win the AL Central. That would be a tall order this year, but don’t be surprised when they are the favorites to win the division in a couple of years. 

Minnesota Twins

American League Central Preview
AP Photos

Last Year’s Results

  • 73-89 (.451)

2022 Payroll

  • $113,609,524 (20th in the league)

2022 Manager

  • Rocco Baldelli

2022 Projected Lineup

  1. Byron Buxton
  2. Jorge Polanco
  3. Carlos Correa
  4. Luis Arraez
  5. Miguel Sano
  6. Max Kepler
  7. Gary Sanchez
  8. Alex Kirilloff
  9. Giovanny Urshela

2022 Projected Rotation

  1. Joe Ryan
  2. Sonny Gray
  3. Bailey Ober
  4. Dylan Bundy
  5. Chris Archer
  6. Lewis Thorpe

Last season, the Twins were a below .500 team. This year, they have managed to put together one intriguing team. The Twins lost Alex Colome, Josh Donaldson, Mitch Garver, Michael Pineda, Matt Shoemaker, and Andrelton Simmons. They gained Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Carlos Correa, Jharel Cotton, Sonny Gray, Gary Sanchez, Joe Smith, and Gio Urshela. 

A leadoff of Buxton, followed by Polanco, leading into the heart of Correa, Sano, and Kepler is downright terrifying.

The pitching rotation is the make-or-break sticking point for this club. Additions of Sonny Gray and Chris Archer were made to help improve. Both of those pitchers have had great success and miserable failure at the big league level. What success they have this season will directly translate to the success the Twins have.

Caesars has the Twins at +525 to win the American League Central. That is a fantastic bet that could pay off HUGE!

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Chicago White Sox

American League Central Preview
AP Photos

Last Year’s Results

  • 93-69 (.574)

2022 Payroll

  • $181,660,734 (7th in the league)

2022 Manager

  • Tony La Russa

2022 Projected Lineup

  1. Tim Anderson
  2. Luis Robert
  3. Jose Abreu
  4. Yoan Moncada
  5. Eloy Jimenez
  6. Yasmani Grandal
  7. A.J. Pollock
  8. Gavin Sheets
  9. Josh Harrison

2022 Projected Rotation

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Dylan Cease
  3. Michael Kopech
  4. Dallas Keuchel
  5. Vincent Velasquez

The reigning AL Central champions look to repeat their success this season. They lost Zack Collins, Brian Goodwin, and Cesar Hernandez. They made additions in the form of Johnny Cueto, Kendall Graveman, Josh Harrison, Joe Kelly, Reese McGuire, AJ Pollock, and Vince Velasquez.

This batting lineup is one of the most ridiculous lineups in the league. There is no envy for any pitcher that has to face this team from me. Speaking of pitchers, theirs are also ridiculous. It doesn’t really matter who you face in that rotation, you’re gonna have a bad time. 

Caesars has the White Sox as the prohibitive favorites at -210. That seems about right.

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