By: Chris Larson
Time for Part II of our "2019 MLB Projected Standings" series - a series that strives to predict where each team will fall in the standings, within their respective division, this coming season. As is always the case, this is simply a fun prediction and not an exact science in any measure because a multitude of things can happen to the fortune of any team that might not be evident on paper.
For the first part of this report, let's focus on the American League Central. The AL Central is a division that could be in a time of transition in regard to who holds the top seat and ultimately holds out for the division crown. At the moment, the Cleveland Indians look like the favorite to win the division to many people, but do not discount the Minnesota Twins especially after they made several quality, under-the-radar moves this offseason. In fact, if they were to capitalize on all of those moves and add one of Dalla Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel, they would certainly be favored to win the division by more parties. After the Indians and Twins, you start to re-enter the portion of the division that is in "rebuild mode" which consists of the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals. Since there are so many rebuilding teams in this division, many expect it to once again be the weakest division in all of baseball.
With that being said, here is how we expect the American League Central to look when all is said and done.
1. Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champions)
2. Cleveland Indians (AL Wild Card II)
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals
Alright, now that the American League Central is taken care of, let's switch over to the other division that covers the central portion of the country - the National League Central. Outside of the National League East, one could make the argument that the National League Central happens to be the best division in all of baseball because there are five teams that are legitimately fielding a competitive team out there everyday. At the top, you have the Chicago Cubs who can never be counted out followed by the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that is coming into this year hungry for another division championship, then the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the improved Cincinnati Reds. The Milwaukee Brewers were the division champions last year, but some wonder if they will have enough pitching to replicate what they did last season. Furthermore, don't count out the Pittsburgh Pirates, who will have a full year of Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon at the top of their starting rotation, or the Cincinnati Reds who have improved both their starting rotation and offense this offseason.
With that being said, here is how we expect the National League Central to look when all is said and done.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central Champions)
2. Chicago Cubs (NL Wild Card II)
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Pittsburgh Pirates