The defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers are the prohibitive favorites to repeat as AL Central champions, as well. With an explosive lineup featuring MVP and Triple-Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and home run hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, the Tigers can hang a lot of runs on any given day. If that wasn’t enough, their starting rotation features previous Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and plenty of other strikeout artists who can freeze the opposition on any given day. As dominant as Detroit can be, they were challenged for the division title deep into 2012 by the Chicago White Sox. While their roster didn’t earn the kind of hardware the Tigers have recently, pitchers Jake Peavy and Chris Sale lead a White Sox club with the right mix of fresh talent and veteran leadership to contend again if they get a few breaks.
Two clubs that haven’t contended in a while retooled their rosters significantly in hopes of challenging for the 2013 American League Central title. The Kansas City Royals – that’s right, don’t adjust your screen – feature a lineup with potential breakout seasons all around the diamond and could surprise some people this year. Add in newly acquired ace James Shield (who cost the Royals their number one prospect, Wil Myers, now in Tampa Bay), and there is now a chance the pitching and hitting for this squad to both cash in on enormous potential. The Cleveland Indians will feature a totally new outfield, including free agent signings Nick Swisher and Michael Bourne. Their pitching isn’t quite as promising, though, so the Indians‘ upside is a bit more limited. Finally, the one-time division-dominating Minnesota Twins are early in a complete rebuild. While Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham will bring some pop to the Minnesota lineup, don’t expect too many wins to hit Target Field this year.