2024 AL Central Division Preview

Preview of the AL Central Division for 2024.

The American League Central Division was the weakest in MLB last year. The Minnesota Twins required just 87 wins to take the division, with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Guardians, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals all finishing below .500. While most might think that Minnesota can casually take the division again in 2024, there may be a sneaky team that added some pitching depth to their already-talented young lineup.

Let’s dive into each AL Central team’s offseason moves and their outlook for 2024.

2023 AL Central Standings



There is a lot to like for the Twins in 2024. They have an ace in Pablo López, an elite closer in Jhoan Duran, young and talented hitters in Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien, and proven veterans Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler. They handled the Central quite handily last year, nine games ahead of the second-place Tigers.

The biggest change to the Twins this offseason was losing Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda from their rotation. Gray, now with the St. Louis Cardinals, is coming off one of his better seasons which saw him post a 3.64 xFIP and a 0.38 HR/9 that trailed only Cole Ragans for first in the majors. Maeda signed with the division rival Tigers after posting a 3.99 xFIP and 27% strikeout rate in 2024.

Following their new top four arms of Lopez, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Chris Paddack, the Twins added Anthony DeSclafani to the mix. The 33-year-old DeSclafani had a 4.03 xFIP and 19.4% strikeout rate last year with the Giants, but the Twins tend to turn pitchers from good to great.


2023 Twins’ Rotation xFIP Leaderboard

Minnesota also added a few offensive depth pieces in Manuel Margot and Carlos Santana. Joey Gallo was not signed after his lone year with the squad and is now with the Washington Nationals. This team has a strikeout problem as a whole. They led the league with a 26.6% rate. But Margot’s career K% of 17.8%, and Santana’s of 16.5% should bring that down considerably. The loss of Gallo’s 37.9% won’t hurt either. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team improve upon their AL Central-winning season from one year ago.




If there is any team that is trending in the right direction it’s the Tigers. Last year, Detroit held the farewell tour for 16-year Tiger Miguel Cabrera while at the same time developing several young offensive players, including Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene. The Tigers had the seventh-lowest average player age (27.5) last year, and this year they will be without Cabrera, who was 40 years old most of his final season. This is a young and hungry offense who also made some key additions to their starting rotation this offseason.

The Tigers’ offense wasn’t exactly what carried them to second place in the division last year. They finished 27th in wRC+ (89), 28th in team wOBA (.300), and 27th in team ISO (.146). The player who stood out the most was Torkelson, who, in his second season, led the team with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. We should expect to see steady growth for the 24-year-old former No. 1 overall pick. Greene is the other player to mention here. He was the fifth-overall pick in 2019 and his numbers increased across the board in his sophomore season.

People who don’t follow baseball too closely might not know how good Tarik Skubal is. Using the 50 innings filter on FanGraphs, Skubal ranked just behind Spencer Strider and Tyler Glasnow in K% (32.9%), while placing first overall in xFIP (2.56). He also coupled this with a highly impressive 4.5% walk rate. I’m still waiting for him to invent his own pitch and call it the “Skuball.”


2023 Leaders in xFIP (Minimum 50 Innings Pitched)

With Skubal leading the way, Detroit boosted its starting rotation this offseason with the additions of Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty to go alongside young starters in Casey Mize, Reese Olson, and Matt Manning. With rising, young offensive talent, a true ace, an upgraded starting rotation, and a wide-open division, don’t be surprised to see the Tigers claim the AL Central crown this year.




Cleveland’s offense seemed to be using a unique philosophy at the plate last year. The team finished dead last in ISO (.131) and K% (18.7%), but finished fifth in steals (151) and 13th in batting average (.250). José Ramírez displayed his power-speed combo with 24 homers and 28 steals, while the Naylor brothers rounded out the top three in ISO for this weak-hitting Cleveland squad.


2023 Guardians Leaders in ISO

The biggest offseason move for the Guardians was the addition of Stephen Vogt as their manager following Terry Francona’s retirement after 11 years of being Cleveland’s skipper. This will be Vogt’s first gig as a manger after playing for 10 seasons in the majors and retiring in 2022.

Cleveland’s starting rotation is also underwhelming and no changes were made to its core of Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, and Gavin Williams. The bright spot for Guardians’ pitching lies with closer Emmanuel Clase, who has led the league in saves in the last two seasons with 41 and 44, respectively. This isn’t a team that we should be too high on for 2024.


White Sox


For a team with several notable power bats on offense in Luis Robert Jr., Eloy Jiménez, and Jake Burger, alongside respectable starter Dylan Cease, I’m surprised to see just how bad the White Sox were in 2023. Chicago’s record of 61-101 was only ahead of the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, and division rival Royals.

We should expect this starting rotation to be a punching bag this season. Outside of the aforementioned Cease, who had a respectable 27.3% K rate last year, this rotation is chock full of guys that are prone to getting blown up on any given start. Their second starter will be Michael Kopech, who had some big outings last year, but when he wasn’t on top of his stuff, he was leaving games early. He had a 1.99 HR/9 last year, alongside the fifth-worst xFIP (5.70) among starters who threw at least 50 innings.

After trading away Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito at the trade deadline last year, the White Sox rounded out their starting rotation with Erick Fedde, Chris Flexen, and Michael Soroka. Chicago does have rookie Prelander Berroa as their sixth man, whom Nick Pollack talked about with me on the Sideline Talk podcast as his No. 6 pitching prospect for 2024. He is another volatile arm but could prove to have some upside should he get a call-up this season.


2023 Bottom Five Teams in wOBA

The White Sox had a rough time on offense in 2023, finishing dead last in wOBA (.292), 29th in wRC+ (83), and 25th in ISO (.146). Newly acquired Andrew Benintendi hit for almost no power (.094 ISO) and the second half of the lineup fell off a cliff. This offseason, they did replace those who fell off said cliff with Dominic Fletcher, Paul DeJong, Nicky Lopez, and Martín Maldonado. Perhaps the White Sox can generate more runs in 2024, but this is still a team to bet against.




The Royals finished 56-106 in 2023, which was ahead of just the Rockies and Athletics. Despite being one of the worst teams last year, Kansas City is projected to do better this year, and the Royals sport two pieces that should be on everyone’s radar, Bobby Witt Jr. and Cole Ragans. The Royals inked Witt to a $288.7 million contract extension this offseason that ties the shortstop to the club for the next 11 years. Witt demonstrated his power-speed combo last year by just narrowly missing the 30-50 club (He went 30-49).

Ragans was lights-out when he transitioned from the Kansas City bullpen to the starting rotation toward the end of last season. He finished the season with a 31.1% K-rate, 3.28 xFIP, and 0.38 HR/9. Ragans’ profile on Pitcher List shows how highly he ranked in many of the major pitching metrics last season.



Kansas City’s notable roster moves this offseason include the addition of veteran outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who will be playing for his seventh team over the last five years, and starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. This was a bottom-five rotation last season and we shouldn’t expect much from the unit as a whole outside of Ragans.

Hunter Langille

A lifelong Red Sox fan, I was born and raised in Massachusetts but now reside in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have a background in daily fantasy baseball and I also create content for the Sorare fantasy baseball game on my Substack and YouTube channel!

One response to “2024 AL Central Division Preview”

  1. Jim wyllie says:

    A couple things that no o e seems to talk about is despite Detroits additions they lost Eduardo Rodriguez to free agency and both maeda and skubel threw under a hundred innings last year meaning they likely be limited innings wise.

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