Cubs: Predicting the MLB standings heading into the regular season

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

MLB standings: The AL Central belongs to the Chicago White Sox

First Place: Chicago White Sox (88-93)

While the Sox just lost a huge bat in Eloy Jimenez for, at a minimum, most of the regular season, this team should still be a favorite in the American League. The lineup includes reigning MVP Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal and young phenom Luis Robert. Their rotation is topped off with All-Star Lucas Giolito, former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and newcomer Lance Lynn. The bullpen is going to be deadly with Liam Hendriks at closer and 2020 11th overall pick Garrett Crochet throwing triple-digits. This team is insanely talented and as long as they do not have any more hiccups, can be one of the dominant forces in baseball.

Second Place: Minnesota Twins: (85-90)

This team still has a potent lineup. They brought back slugger Nelson Cruz to hit alongside Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler. Notable additions to the roster include Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons and former White Sox closer Alex Colome. The Twinkies will score runs and be in the mix, but their biggest questions lie in their pitching depth. Kenta Maeda is a decent number one and Jose Berrios is solid too, but can they rely on Michael Pineda and 38-year old J.A. Happ? They probably should have added another starter.

Third Place: Cleveland Indians (80-85)

Trading away star shortstop Francisco Lindor has got to be a tough pill for Cleveland fans to swallow. Outside Jose Ramirez and former Twin Eddie Rosario, the lineup does not have a whole lot of thump. However, Franmil Reyes and Cesar Hernandez can produce decently. The biggest asset the Indians have is their pitching. Shane Bieber is a stud and Zach Pleasac has looked great in his young career. This team might not be good enough to go on a long postseason run, but they can be in the mix if their pitching continues to look good and their top hitters can produce just enough.

Fourth Place: Kansas City Royals (72-76)

If there is a perfect “pesky” team in MLB, it is the Royals. This team might not be a contender but they have enough talent to give other teams fits. Newcomers include former Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi and former Indians slugger Carlos Santana. Put them in a lineup with Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler. The pitching staff does not strike fear into opponents but the lineup can slug a bit which can at least help win them around mid-70s games.

Fifth Place: Detroit Tigers (71-74) 

The Tigers rebuild is taking shape and the future is bright in Motortown. They landed former Astros manager A.J. Hinch this offseason and will have an experienced skipper to help right the ship. While most of the projected starting lineup Opening Day will not be a part of the future, the farm system is one of the top-ranked in baseball. It will give number one prospect Spencer Torkelson a year to develop in the minors, while the likes of Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Isaac Paredes can get MLB time. It’s also worth noting Miguel Cabrera is 13 home runs away from 500.