2016: 94-67. The Indians lost Games 5, 6 and 7 of the World Series to the Cubs, and have bettered themselves not only with free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion but with starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar who were injured and (mostly) unavailable last fall. This is now a deeper lineup, a deeper rotation and deeper bullpen (Andrew Miller won’t be pitching two or three innings every other game).
2016: 86-75. After finishing just shy of a playoff berth in 2016 with an expensive, veteran-laden team, the Tigers hung on to 1B Miguel Cabrera, P Justin Verlander, 2B Ian Kinsler and RF J.D. Martinez in hopes of making another run. With a lineup that averages 30.2 years of age and a rotation that averages 29.2, the Tigers can’t put off their day of reckoning forever.
Kansas City Royals
2016: 81-81. When P Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic in January, the Royals lost a building block. They will be counting on P Jason Hammel, who pitched well for the Cubs last year but never got a sniff of action in the playoffs. The departures of DH Kendrys Morales and P Wade Davis have left the lineup and bullpen, respectively, diminished.
2016: 59-103. After winning 83 games in 2015, the Twins bottomed out at 59 last season, leading to a makeover in the front office. They kept 2B Brian Dozier (42 home runs) and have a young core built around CF Byron Buxton, 3B Miguel Sano and RF Max Kepler. But pitching is a big question and will make or break this team.
Chicago White Sox
2016: 78-84. The White Sox are in complete rebuild after trading pitcher Chris Sale and CF Adam Eaton. The team got seven prospects, including blue-chip pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech and infielder Yoan Moncada. Back is IF Todd Frazier, who hit 40 home runs last season. The White Sox’s record could get ugly this year.