- The Minnesota Twins are an AL-best 40-18 and leading the AL Central
- They are 11.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox
- Is there any value in the trailing Indians?
Two months in, and the Minnesota Twins are dominating the AL Central.
Actually, they’re not just dominating the Central. They’re in control of the entire American League. This has resulted in an astronomical shift in their odds to take the Central, with the Indians falling way behind.
Is Minnesota as good as gone, or is there value in the trailers to catch-up?
Odds to 2019 Win AL Central
|Team||Games Back||Odds 1||Odds 2||Odds 3|
|Chicago White Sox||11.5||+8000||+5000||+7500|
|Kansas City Royals||21.5||+75000||—||+60000|
*Odds as of 06/03/19.
It’s been a slow, gradual adjustment on the AL Central odds when it comes to the sportsbooks.
The Twins were at +330 on March 13th. After incremental climbs, they shot from -220 on May 22nd and, most recently, to -2500 on June 3rd.
The Indians were favorites across the board when each book opened their 2019 division futures, hovering between -400 and -450. While two books have adjusted their odds proportionate to their lackluster play and 11.5-game deficit, you can still find them at just +200.
Twins Seeking Reinforcements in AL Central Race?
With the MLB Draft starting on Monday, the Twins are rumored to be considering two key free-agent arms who will no longer be tied draft-pick compensation.
The #Twins are interested in BOTH FA SP Dallas Keuchel and RP Craig Kimbrel
— MLB Offseason News (@MLBDeadlineNews) June 2, 2019
Although we could see a decision from Craig Kimbrel sooner than later, Dallas Keuchel stills seems confident to bide his time.
I asked Scott Boras if he expects a quick resolution on Dallas Keuchel.
“The wine has to decant,” Boras told me.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 3, 2019
If they land one, or both, it would add to an already strong area of the Twins’ roster. Their 3.88 team ERA is sixth-best in MLB, and tops in the AL Central. Their 1.24 WHIP slots in at the same spot. Both are just ahead of the Indians.
Pitching Stats: Cleveland Indians vs Minnesota Twins
They’ll have competition for both Kimbrel and Keuchel, but getting one would go a long way to solidifying their long-term odds.
Could Jose Ramirez Bounce Back to Lead Indians to AL Central?
It’s been a strange season for Jose Ramirez.
After consistent, gradual improvement over the past five seasons, Ramirez finished third in 2018 AL MVP voting. He seemed primed for a dominant season, something that was reflected in the early AL MVP odds.
His ugly 2019 has not only hurt his odds to win individual accolades, but the Indians’ odds to make any noise in the playoffs, as well.
The third-baseman is slashing an ugly .206/.308/.313 with just 17 RBIs, mostly batting out of the five-hole these days. The only thing that hasn’t slowed down for Ramirez is his speed. He’s third in steals with 14, despite the second-lowest average among the top ten.
2018 vs 2019: Jose Ramirez’s First 58 Games
The results are damning when put side by side. While Ramirez isn’t the sole reason for Cleveland’s demise, his swoon has contributed to the Indians sitting 28th in batting average, 23rd in OBP, and 29th in slugging.
Despite this, there’s still hope.
Remaining AL Central Schedule
|Team||Games vs Twins||Games vs Indians||Games vs White Sox|
|Chicago White Sox||19||7||N/A|
The Twins have played just three games against White Sox and Indians, combined, this year. That means they still have to face off with their top-two division rivals 35 more times this year.
Who to Take in AL Central Race
While there’s plenty of baseball left to be played, the books are right in having the White Sox out of it.
They’re in the bottom half of some major pitching and hitting stats, so there’s not a lot of staying power. A career year from Lucas Giolito will only carry a pitching staff so far.
But the Indians? If you think that Jose Ramirez is going to bounce back, they’re a good buy. If you’re worried about them slipping further and selling? They’ve got 23 games in the next two months against the Royals and Tigers to fatten up on.
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