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2023 AL Central Division Thread


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5 hours ago, flavum said:

Twins down big early. Looking like 40-41 for a first half record. I still think they get to at least 82-80. Only question is if the Guardians get hot at some point. 

CLE only 1/2 game back. 

Would be shocked if the Guardians don't win it again. 

Edited by caulfield12
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4. The best pitching staff in baseball belongs to … the Twins?
The first-place Twins -- who, to be fair, are only at .500 -- have had all sorts of lineup disappointments, not least of which is Carlos Correa, who has had a season not nearly commensurate with how much we were talking about him all winter.

But the Twins have more than hung in thanks to their pitching staff, which leads the Majors in FanGraphs WAR. Pablo López has been all Minnesota had wanted after acquiring him for Luis Arraez (more on him below), and Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray have been outstanding, too. A fantastic pitching staff making up for an underwhelming lineup en route to an AL Central lead? We thought that was Cleveland’s thing.




Looks like the Guardians are going to pass the Twins for first as early as today despite being perhaps the most overlooked competitive team. 

If not them, it's defibitely Miami or AZ. 

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Twins and White Sox with dueling versions of accountability/responsibility...


"I take full responsibility for the way things are going offensively in the first half," shortstop Carlos Correa said before Wednesday's 3-0 loss in Atlanta. "I'll keep putting in the work every day and when it clicks, it's going to be better not just for me but for the entire team."

Before Wednesday's loss, manager Rocco Baldelli didn't want to delve into details about the offense's issues. He didn't mince words after they were shut out for the sixth time this year.

"The first half is by us," said Baldelli, who closed the clubhouse to reporters, making players unavailable to comment. "We played middling type of baseball through the first half. I'm not saying we don't care. They work their butts every day. The vast majority of our guys come in, they're focused and they are true professionals at what they do. But we're not playing together as a team right now. I take that on too."

The Twins hit .232 with a .710 OPS in the first half of the season, ranking in the bottom third of the league in both categories. They averaged 4.23 runs per game, but they had 30 games when they scored two or fewer runs. They led the majors with 824 strikeouts and remain on pace to shatter the all-time record for team strikeouts.



Edited by caulfield12
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July 4: Will Bieber be dealt before Deadline?

Rival clubs are showing continued interest in some of Cleveland’s starting pitchers, but it’s still uncertain if the club will move any of them before the Trade Deadline, reports MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi.

Although the Guardians are two games under .500, they’ve played better lately, going 9-5 over their past 14 games, and sit only one game out of first place in the AL Central.

That said, a trade can’t be completely ruled out, even if the team continues to win. Cleveland has shown a willingness in the past to deal controllable starting pitchers while still remaining in the playoff hunt -- the club did it with Trevor Bauer in 2019 and Mike Clevinger in 2020.

Shane Bieber, who has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before free agency, is the most likely Guardians starter to be dealt. The 2020 AL Cy Young winner has recorded a 3.48 ERA with an 85-to-28 K/BB ratio over 106 innings in 2023.

With Aaron Civale, Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie all spending time on the IL this season and Zach Plesac struggling over five starts before being sent to the Minors, the Guardians have had to dip into their rotation depth more than expected, and they’ve gotten solid production from rookies Tanner Bibee (3.46 ERA, 9.3 K/9), Logan Allen (3.47 ERA, 9.1 K/9) and Gavin Williams (3.79 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).

The early success of Bibee, Allen and Williams, who were all ranked among MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects entering this season, could embolden the Guardians to deal the 28-year-old Bieber this summer instead of waiting until the offseason or next year’s Deadline, when he’ll have less trade value.

History says the Guardians are unlikely to re-sign Bieber if he reaches free agency. Chuck Finley's $27 million contract covering the 2000-02 seasons is still the largest free-agent deal they've reached with a pitcher in franchise history.


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On 6/12/2023 at 5:35 PM, flavum said:

Going to go on record here. Ready for ridicule if wrong:

All Star Break-

Min 47-44 -, Cle 44-46 2.5 gb, Sox 41-51 6.5 gb

end of July-

Min 57-50 -, Cle 53-53 3.5 gb, Sox 47-60 10 gb

I will bump at the break no matter what.

It’ll be close on Min/Cle. Sox will be worse. 
Bottom line, Sox were never catching them. Trade away.

Edited by flavum
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2 hours ago, Timmy U said:

Cleveland smoking the Pirates. That's a team that has fallen off a cliff. Seems like the Sox caught a lot of teams during their hottest stretch of the year.  Even Tampa has come back to Earth in the last few weeks.

They desperately need the energy of O'Neil Cruz injected...but at least another month likely before he returns from the broken ankle.

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