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Chicago White Sox: AL Central did them some favors in 2021

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago White Sox had to fight hard to make the playoffs in 2020. They were looking good for most of that season but the depth in the AL Central had three teams make it. Of the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox, the Sox came in third out of the three. As a result, there were mixed expectations going into 2021.

Those expectations were quickly a unanimous belief that the White Sox were the best team in the division. They ended up winning it with a 93-69 record before being eliminated from postseason contention by the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series. It was the first time in franchise history that the Sox made the playoffs in consecutive years.

The White Sox dealt with so many consequential injuries during the 2021 season. We all know the impact that guys like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Yasmani Grandal have on a Major League lineup.

Making the playoffs missing multiple months from each player showed their resiliency. However, they were helped out by their division this year. The weakness of the division certainly isn’t the only reason the White Sox made the playoffs but it helped them coast in the second half of the season.

The Chicago White Sox didn’t really allow anyone to come close to them in the division.

The Cleveland Indians kept themselves in it for a while but they faded away before the All-Star break. They were sellers at the trade deadline which showed that they knew they didn’t really have a chance to catch the White Sox in the standings. The head-to-head matchups were certainly intense but they were never going to be a playoff group. It also didn’t help that Shane Bieber barely played in 2021.

The Minnesota Twins were one of the three biggest disappointments in Major League Baseball this season. They were supposed to be the team that competed with the White Sox for the top spot in the division this year. Instead, they came in last place. There isn’t much to say about them other than 2021 was a colossal disaster.

The Kansas City Royals are early in a rebuild. They didn’t come in last place because they were streaky at times but it is going to be a while before they are an American League power again. Going into 2022, the White Sox should be confident against them.

The most interesting team in the division besides the White Sox is by far the Detroit Tigers. They had an awful start in 2021 but were one of the better teams in the second half. There are so many great young players in the organization at the MLB and MiLB level which should allow them to take a big step soon. If they didn’t go 3-7 in their last ten games of the season, they probably would have caught the Indians for second place.

Outside of the White Sox, 2022 might not be the best year for the division either. Cleveland and Minnesota are question marks. However, the Tigers are going to take a big step forward. They are the team that the White Sox need to watch out for going forward. It was nice for the White Sox in 2021 and hopefully, they can keep that going.

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