CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

 

Who has been the Twins’ best pitcher through the first half of the 2016 season? Despite his 3-7 record, it was easily Ervin Santana, according to baseball-reference.com’s calculation of wins above replacement (WAR). The rest of the AL Central? You may be surprised by the answer:

 

Indians: All five starters have ERAs below 4.00, and Corey Kluber has a Cy Young Award. But Danny Salazar has separated himself with his consistent excellence; in 12 of his 17 starts, he gave up two runs or fewer, and only once did he give up more than four runs.

 

Royals: Lefthander Danny Duffy spent six weeks in the bullpen until injuries forced him into the rotation. He has quickly become a stabilizer, posting a 3.11 ERA, holding hitters to a .228 average, and only once in 11 starts giving up more than three runs.

 

Tigers: Rookie Michael Fulmer made his MLB debut with five strong innings at Target Field in May, and he didn’t take long to live up to his status as a former first-round pick. He pushed his ERA down to 2.11 and didn’t give up more than one earned run in any start since May 21.

 

White Sox: Chris Sale has 14 wins and the All-Star start, but it’s not clear he will finish with the best season of any Chicago starter. While Sale was winning his first nine starts, Jose Quintana was quietly outpitching him for six weeks, with a 1.38 ERA to prove it. But Quintana seems to be tiring; his ERA in June soared to 5.58.