2024 MLB Division Preview: AL Central

Spring Training has officially started, and with that, the 2024 MLB Season is right around the corner. It's time to kick off the 2024 Division Preview Series, starting off with the American League Central.

Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
5 of 5

Minnesota Twins

Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis
2024 Minnesota Twins Spring Training / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Key Additions
- RHP Anthony DeSclafani
- 1B Carlos Santana
- RHP Justin Topa
- OF Manuel Margot

Key Loses
- RHP Sonny Gray
- 2B Jorge Polanco
- OF Michael A. Taylor
- RHP Kenta Maeda
- OF/1B Joey Gallo
- 1B Donovan Solano

I find The Minnesota Twins to be a really interesting team to watch heading into 2024. The reigning AL Central Champs will obviously look to repeat that feat, but will do so without the likes of second ace Sonny Gray and an offensive source of power in Jorge Polanco. With that being said, the Twins still have a competitive roster that can achieve a division crown once again, especially in a division that still lacks any major powerhouses. Two young stars in Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien will look to anchor the top of this offense, with veterans Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Carlos Correa following. Lewis and Julien were both limited in how much action they had last season, but for two different reasons. Lewis was limited as a result of injuries, but still put up an insane 155 wRC+ in 58 games. Julien had his first share of Major League action last season, but showed more than enough to give himself another chance, boasting a 136 wRC+ in his first 109 games. The biggest question for Rocco Baldelli's offense once again will be the health of Byron Buxton, a guy who can be one of the best in the game when healthy but can never find a find a full season of good health.

The Twins pitching staff was the backbone of their success last season, backed by a dual-ace system featuring Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray, who finished the AL Cy Young race 7th and 2nd, respectively. Gray departed in free agency, inking a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, leaving Lopez as the main guy in the Minnesota rotation. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober made strides of improvement last year, but Ryan had a home run problem and Ober still has to show overall consistency. Chris Paddack and Anthony DeSclafani wrap up this Minnesota rotation. I can't talk about Minnesota's pitching staff without mentioning the man who threw the fastest pitch in 2023 - Jhoan Duran. Duran has an absolutely gruesome split-finger, and an entrance that comes close to Edwin Diaz's entrance for best closer entrance in baseball.

Team MVP: Royce Lewis

Team Cy Young: Pablo Lopez

Team X-Factor: Byron Buxton

The Nationals will host the Twins for three games from May 20-22.

The AL Central has the potential to be a really fun division this year. The Royals and Tigers are two squads constantly improving year-after-year that feature some young and fun talent. Only a few years back, the Guardians found themselves in the playoffs consistently, but now are on the outside looking in. The Twins will begin a quest to repeat as division champs, while the White Sox attempt to establish themselves as still relevant. The division will most likely remain top-heavy, but feature a good mixture of players that attract their fair share of attention. With all this being said, I'll wrap this up with my division predictions:

1. Minnesota Twins (85-77)
2. Detroit Tigers (80-82)
3. Cleveland Guardians (78-84)
4. Kansas City Royals (75-87)
5. Chicago White Sox (63-99)