The Cleveland Guardians are the current Divisional champions of the American League Central after they won their fourth title in the last seven years with one of the youngest rosters in Major League Baseball.
The big question now is, can Cleveland hold off the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins again to claim back-to-back Divisional championships?
7/5 - to win AL Central
It’s Terry Francona’s 11th season as manager of the Cleveland Guardians and he’s probably more excited about this year's crop of young talent than when his side reached the World Series in 2016.
In their first year as baseball’s youngest team the Guardians surprisingly went and on the Divisional title, winning it by a clear 11 games.
They did it with power at the plate, speed on the bases and timely hits and have added Josh Bell to play first base and catcher Mike Zunino to add a bit of experience to the roster.
With Shane Bieber as your ace pitcher you know you have a chance. He’ll be backed up by Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale in the rotation.
Cleveland have a strong bullpen and that will be key to the side hopefully winning their first World Series title since 1948.
Last season, the Guardians swept the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in the American League Wild Card Series, they then lost to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.
The Chicago White Sox disappointed in 2022 after their Divisional win the previous year, having been expected to go on and dominate the Division for a few seasons.
The White Sox moved Tony La Russa on as manager and placed Pedro Grifol in charge as a first time manager after being a bench coach at the Kansas City Royals.
Chicago had their sights on a playoff push last season, but they finished 81-81. This season they hope that they have better health and a change in managerial leadership will give them the lift that need.
Despite losing Jose Abreu, they have brought in pitcher Mike Clevinger to join an already fearsome pitching staff. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi has also been drafted into the roster.
Chicago’s key to winning is keeping their rotation healthy, including Clevinger, Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech.
They have Tim Anderson leading the powerful line-up with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada. Keeping this side healthy is key, but they should win the Division, but that’s where the Guardians stepped in last season.
There is always the Minnesota Twins. They last won the title in 2020, which followed on from their 2019 triumph and they are a side who could capitalise on the Guardians’ naivety and the White Sox's health issues.
The re-signing of shortstop Carlos Correa was a major coup for the Twins, even though Correa initially opted out of his contract.
The 28-year-old was subject to moves from the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets, but both pulled out of the deals because Correa failed medicals on a damaged left leg.
This is where the Twins stepped in and re-tuned a deal for him, a franchise record, $200million, six-year offer was accepted and Correa passed a Twins medical.
All the hoo-ha off the field may have distracted a little about what the Twins can offer this season.
Last season they finished with a 78-84 record, which was a little underwhelming as they were handily placed towards the back end of the season.
Adding Pablo Lopez from the Miami Marlins in a trade should bolster their rotation.
The Motor City rebuild is on and far from complete and even following on from fourth place in the Division last season, the Detroit Tigers are not expected to be moving up the table anytime soon and will battle for the Kansas City Royals for the bottom spot.
Despite having Javier Baez, Miguel Cabrera, Riley Greene on their roster, they disappointed last season. Even top prospect Spencer Torkelson failed to live up to his billing.
It’s Cabrera’s last season as he hits the age of 40, the fans will turn out to see a legend of the franchise.
The Kansas City Royals finished in last place in the Division last season and they decided to clean house a little.
Matt Quatraro was brought in as team manager as they hope he can guide their young players to a respectable finish.
All eyes will be on shortstop Bobby Witt as the superstar player who they can guide and build their franchise around.