Last season, The Cleveland Guardians coasted to their fourth divisional American League Central title in seven years. They finished 11 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox, who were the preseason favorites to win the division.
Cleveland will certainly be in the running to repeat as AL Central champions, but they should not be expected to run away with the division crown again. The White Sox and Minnesota Twins were hampered by significant injuries last season, and both teams are very capable of outdistancing the Guardians this time.
The Guardians do look good enough to possibly win the AL Central again, with superstar Jose Ramirez and rising youngsters Andres Gimenez and Steven Kwan being joined by power source Josh Bell in the lineup. Premier ace Shane Bieber and improving No. 2 starter Triston McKenzie anchor the pitching staff.
The Twins are a formidable threat after Carlos Correa landed back with the team through a strange offseason string of dramatic events, and Pablo Lopez was acquired to further bolster a quality pitching staff. If several of Chicago’s key players avoid major injuries this year, though, we could see a big rebound season from a White Sox team that fell way short of high expectations in 2022.
The Royals and Tigers have some young talents to watch this season, such as Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, Riley Greene, and Spencer Torkelson. But a three-team race for the division is anticipated for 2023.
AL Central Betting Odds 2023
To see the most up-to-date AL Central odds from our favorite sportsbooks, adjust the module below and select MLB - American League Central - Winner:
2023 AL West MLB betting odds as of Friday, March 10, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET on DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Cleveland Guardians (+135)
- Minnesota Twins (+225)
- Chicago White Sox (+240)
- Detroit Tigers (+2200)
- Kansas City Royals (+3000)
The top three teams in the AL Central all have good shots of finishing first, so it is best to strongly consider them all.
AL Central Best Bet 2023
Chicago White Sox Win AL West (+240) | DraftKings Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
The White Sox lost Jose Abreu during the offseason, but there is still enough star power here to vault Chicago above the other top contenders. Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez all missed significant time last season, and having those three standouts in the lineup for most of the season will boost the team’s outlook for sure.
Andrew Benintendi was a good off-season pickup to add another solid hitter, and we could still see a breakout campaign from Andrew Vaughn and the re-emergence of Yoan Moncada.
In 2022, Dylan Cease (2.20 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.1 K/9) showed he can be a true Cy Young candidate. Rebound seasons from Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito and more of what we saw from Michael Kopech (3.54 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 119.1 innings pitched) might make the White Sox a hard team to beat in the AL Central.
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AL Central Contenders 2023
Minnesota Twins (+225) | DraftKings Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
The Twins have a solid starting pitching staff from top to bottom, and Byron Buxton and Correa are two of the best players in the division.
Lopez was a prime acquisition who now forms a strong duo at the top of the rotation with Sonny Gray (3.08 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 2022). Tyler Mahle may benefit from leaving Cincinnati ballpark-wise, and the rest of the rotation can flesh out well with Joe Ryan and Kenta Maeda, who is on his way back from Tommy John surgery.
If Buxton can actually stay healthy for a good chunk of the season, Minnesota will have a legitimate chance to outlast Cleveland and Chicago. Jorge Polanco can provide an ample power boost, as he hit 33 HRs in 2021.
Jose Miranda hit 15 homers and had 66 RBI in 444 at-bats last season, and he is now he is entrenched at third base. Jhoan Duran can be a potentially impressive closer, and there is potential for the bullpen to perform more respectably than it did last season.
Cleveland Guardians (+135) | DraftKings Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
The Guardians offer the least attractive payout of the top three closely projected AL Central teams, but they are still very worthy of a confident wager.
Ramirez is a regular source of outstanding offensive production, and he was one of three Guardians players to steal 20 or more bases last year. Cleveland ranked second in the AL with 119 stolen bases in 2022 and will undoubtedly take advantage of the new MLB rules designed to encourage more steals.
Gimenez also stole 20 bases and hit 17 homers, and Bell is still capable of being a feared power hitter. Veteran catcher Mike Zunino was also added for more possible pop.
Steven Kwan’s .373 OBP was tied for 12th-best in MLB. After the first two starters, though, the Guardians’ rotation does not seem to measure up to those of the Twins and White Sox. Cleveland also had the youngest team in MLB last year, so there is possible volatility with some of their key players this season.