American League Central Futures MLB Picks & Preview

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:13 PM GMT

We’ll be examining the MLB futures odds on the AL Central. Who’s the best value in what may turn out to be the most competitive division in the upcoming 2015 season? 

Royals getting No Respect
I’m still a bit miffed by the lack of respect that the major sportsbooks have shown in their future odds postings regarding the Kansas City Royals. This is certainly the case pertaining to MLB betting odds on who will win the American League Central. The defending American League champions currently find themselves as the fourth best favorite to win a division that includes five teams. Granted, this is shaping up to be the most competitive division in all of baseball, with four of the five clubs having a realistic chance of capturing the crown. The only team excluded from the conversation is the Minnesota Twins (+1800) and rightfully so. I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever if we see two or possibly even three teams from the AL Central qualify for the 2015 Major League Baseball Playoffs.

 

Little Change in Kansas City
I really had to do some soul searching when evaluating the AL Central teams for this article. My main obstacles came when assessing the chances of the Kansas City Royals. Was I letting the entertainment value of their magical run to the World Series a season ago cloud my thinking? Could they possibly have been a fluke and revert back to their old ways this season? I came to the conclusion that just wasn’t the case on either accords, and trusted my professional intuitions. The Royals 2015 roster remains virtually intact to the one that came one run away from winning the 2014 World Series. They did lose both starting pitcher James Shields and power hitting Billy Butler to free agency during the offseason. However, they did acquire a power pitching starter in Edinson Volquez who comes over from the Reds organization. I also like the addition of power hitting Juan Rios who was with the Texas Rangers in 2014, and you certainly can make a case for him being an upgrade over Billy Butler. I will be using the Kansas City Royals at +450 to win the AL Central as one of my MLB Futures odds wagers.

 

Three other Quality Teams
The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox have been tabbed as co-favorites to win the division at identical MLB odds of +225. The Cleveland Indians are next in line at +240. I can certainly see why the books are inclined to make those teams favorites ahead of the Royals, although I firmly believe each of those clubs have more apparent glaring weaknesses than Kansas City.

 

Detroit Tigers (+225): The top three in their starting pitching rotation of David Price, Justin Verlander, and Annibal Sanchez are a formidable trio. Although Verlander is coming off a terrible season, and one has to wonder if it’s the beginning of the end for the veteran power pitcher. The bottom half of the rotation with Alfredo Simon and Shane Green will be a liability in my professional opinion. Simon is coming off the best season of his MLB career with the Cincinnati Reds. However, he faded badly in the second half of the season after getting off to a terrific start. Shane Green did show some flashes of brilliance with the Yankees a season ago, but he was much too inconsistent for my liking.

 

Chicago White Sox (+225): I love the addition of Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation. The injury issues of the White Sox ace Chris Sale are a bit concerning to me. He’s yet to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season in his young MLB career. John Danks appears to be on a downward spiral, and the White Sox are going to need more from both Hector Noesi and Jose Quintana if they hope to be a serious playoff contender. How will Melky Cabrera perform this season without performance enhancing drugs? Can they get any offense production from the bottom of the order? Those are valid questions I can’t ignore.

 

Cleveland Indians (+240): I love Corey Kluber at the top of their starting rotation. I truly believe he’ll be a future American League CY Young winner if he can avoid any unforeseen injuries. I’m not as sold on the rest of their starters as many other of the so called experts are, and I’m certainly not impressed by the bullpen staff they have in place. The Indians should have no problems scoring their share of runs this season, but will be enough to overcompensate for a collective suspect pitching staff.

 

Minnesota Twins (+1800): Your money would be better spent playing your state lottery drawing than taking the Twins as MLB pick to win the AL Central. Paul Molitor takes over for long time Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. The last I checked, Molitor doesn’t have a magic wand in his possession. I’m not sure that would even work. Steer clear of the Minnesota Twins.