AL Central Division Winner Odds and Best Bet

Twins player walking off the field

A power surge in 2019 carried the Twins to the AL Central title. Can they repeat in 2020? Photo by Andy Witchger (Wikimedia Commons).
  • The high-powered Twins are favored to repeat as AL Central champions
  • Both the Indians and White Sox are close behind in the latest division-title odds
  • See the best bet to win the 2020 AL Central crown

The Minnesota Twins slugged their way to an AL Central title in 2019, setting a new single-season mark for home runs with 307.

While a 60-game season means they won’t get to match that, their lineup remains scary. But the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians should provide some stiff competition in the AL Central.

2020 AL Central Odds

Team 2019 Record Odds at Caesars
Minnesota Twins 101-61 -120
Cleveland Indians 93-69 +250
Chicago White Sox 72-89 +275
Kansas City Royals 59-103 +4000
Detroit Tigers 47-114 +6000

Odds as of July 16th.

The 2020 MLB divisional odds haven’t been especially tight when it comes to the AL Central.

The Twins have held steady around -150 all winter long, only suffering a slight correction as of late due to the increased variability of a 60-game season. Both the Indians and White Sox improved slightly, but not enough to force anyone to take notice.

Power Hitting, Power Pitching Won Twins AL Central

Offensively, the Twins were unstoppable in 2019. They hit 307 home runs, scored 939 runs, and carried a team slugging percentage of .494.

If you can believe it, they added to their power surplus in the form of 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson.

Josh Donaldson and the Twins Power Bats in 2019

Player Home Runs RBI SLG% OPS
Nelson Cruz 41 108 .639 1.031
Josh Donaldson 37 94 .521 .900
Max Kepler 36 90 .519 .855
Miguel Sano 34 79 .576 .923
Eddie Rosario 32 109 .500 .800

Signing Donaldson is an upgrade on CJ Cron. The former MVP shifts Miguel Sano to first base because of his defense. Both Donaldson and Sano easily surpassed Cron’s 25 homers last year.

FanGraphs has all five topping 10 homers this year, but that’s a best-case scenario. Sano’s asymptomatic COVID-19 quarantine could lead to a slow start, while Nelson Cruz just turned 40, and Donaldson is 34.

There is some slight uncertainty there.

When it comes to pitching, the bullpen looks solid. If anything falters, it’ll likely be the starters.

Jose Berrios is locked in, but it’s tough to rely on Rich Hill’s health and Homer Bailey has struggled since 2015. Jake Odorizzi bounced back from two down years last season, but he’ll need to repeat that.

2020 World Series Odds Tracker

Low-Budget Indians Could Surprise

Despite a quiet off-season where the team shed payroll again, the Indians have a group that could challenge for the AL Central. It starts with their All-Stars.

Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez Projections

.289 Average .278
13 Home Runs 11
24 RBI 38
.354 On-Base Percentage .362
.532 Slugging Percentage .524
2.2 WAR 1.9

FanGraphs expects the Tribe to have their fair share of power, as Franmil Reyes and Carlos Santana are both threats for double-digit homers alongside MVP contender Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

Like the Twins, the Indians could have issues with depth in their rotation. Unlike the Twins, the top of their rotation is one of the best in baseball. Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and the returning Carlos Carrasco are all expected to dominate.

After that, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, and Adam Plutko will compete to round out the rotation. Civale impressed last season, with a soft-contact rate better than both Bieber and Carrasco. His opposing batting average was just one point higher than Clevinger’s.

White Sox Hope to Challenge in AL Central

Chicago has already been dealt a hit as flamethrower Michael Kopech opted out of the 2020 season. That hurts a rotation that projections aren’t kind to.

According to FanGraphs, five of six White Sox’ starters will finish with an ERA over 4.40. Lucas Giolito turns in a 4.24 mark, meshing with his on-again, off-again career.

That won’t help them against the NL Central, whom they will face in interleague play. Even with a lineup that’s power-packed and an AL Rookie of the Year candidate in Luis Robert.

So with the White Sox out of the picture, it’s the Indians or Twins. And the pick here is Cleveland.

The NL crossover could be trouble for the back end of Minny’s rotation, especially if Hill gets hurt. Meanwhile, the Indians have the defense, the starters, and enough offense to get by.

The Pick: Cleveland Indians (+250)

2020 MLB divisional odds coverage:

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