AL Central (4/30/00)
The AL Central has been the playground for the Cleveland Indians since 1995. Every year, they go into the season knowing that they'll clinch the division crown by mid August and be able to prepare for the playoffs for the last month and a half of the season. Unfortunately, all they have to show for it is a string of division crowns and a couple of AL pennants - no World Championships. And this arrangement won't last much longer as several teams in the division have committed to the Indians "build from within" strategy and will be nipping on their heels in the near future.
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Even though the Royals and the ChiSox have made great strides with their young players, they are not fully developed teams as the Indians are. Given a year or two of development, they will seriously threaten the Tribe's stranglehold on the division crown. But not this year. The Tribe's addition of Finley to their already good starting staff should keep them ahead of the pack and make them a little more formidable come playoff time. Minnesota is probably a year away from looking like Kansas City and Chicago do now, but they have the advantage of having a manager who knows how to win. Detroit, a team with lots of good pieces but very little cohesiveness or purpose, seems destined to languish in the cellar for a few more years.
4) Kansas City