KC Royals: Power ranking AL Central teams ahead of spring training

The AL Central remains the weakest division in baseball. After a massive offseason from the Royals, can they enter the division crown race? Let's look at the power rankings.

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1. Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins have had an extremely quiet offseason ahead of spring training. Only two additions have been made to the 40-man roster this offseason. Hard-throwing reliever Josh Staumont was signed while he recovers from thoracic outlet surgery, and Ryan Jensen was claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins. But, the limited additions and notable losses may not make Minnesota vulnerable.

Superstar Carlos Correa remains among the best shortstops in baseball and leads the Twins by example. He should have another effective year at the plate, but he is not alone. Twins fans are very excited for a full season of third baseman Royce Lewis, the top overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. He amassed 2.4 fWAR in only 58 games last season and further established himself with a great postseason performance.

Edouard Julien, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler all figure to be key parts of the lineup. The contributions from Byron Buxton though may be the biggest wildcard. He had limited effectiveness in 85 games last season, struggling with injuries. If he can recapture his 2021 and 2022 forms, the Twins lineup could be among the AL's best. If not, Minnesota will have to plan around the remainder of his seven-year, $100 million contract.

The starting lineup notably lost Sonny Gray and Maeda to free agency this offseason. Gray was an elite pitcher, but the rotation remains strong. Pablo López and Joe Ryan lead the rotation while Bailey Ober continues to go underrated around MLB. Minnesota needs to find quality options as their fourth and fifth starter in the rotation, but that will be sorted out in spring training.

The Twins reached finally ended their postseason losing streak last season and remain the favorite to win the AL Central. There are conceivable ways they will struggle in 2024, but they have less to prove than their AL Central counterparts.

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