Every season Major League Baseball has new players that emerge as x-factors for their teams. This article will examine the potential x-factors for the AL Central.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX X-FACTOR: LUIS ROBERT JR
Luis Robert Jr of the Chicago White Sox should be among the elite MLB outfielders. However, Robert’s inability to remain on the field has hindered the White Sox’s progression. For the White Sox to reach the postseason, Luis has to be a key component. Chicago enters 2023 in a position where they must prove that they are a true contender and not simply a pretender. And for Chicago to achieve that, their x-factor Luis Robert Jr must remain healthy for the whole season.
CLEVELAND GUARDIANS X-FACTOR: JOSH BELL
The Cleveland Guardians put the baseball world on notice in 2022 when many pundits were overlooking them. As the 2022 season unfolded, the Guardians were among the best teams in a great many categories. However, power was not one of those categories. And for that reason, Josh Bell (and Mike Zunino) is the x-factor. Bell was brought in to help add more in the power department for Cleveland. For the Guardians adding power can be the difference maker for their World Series aspirations. And Bell and Zunino will help with that attribute.
DETROIT TIGERS X-FACTOR: RILEY GREENE
The Detroit Tigers were a fascinating team in the offseason before the 2022 season. Detroit would sign Eduardo Rodriguez and Javy Baez and even offered a massive contract to Carlos Correa. However, the moves didn’t seem to pan out. Also, the young players that Detroit was expecting improvement from all regressed. For the 2023 season, Detroit will need a big season out of their young center fielder, Riley Greene. Greene projects to be an impact player for many years. For the Tigers to find success in 2023, Riley Greene must be that x-factor.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS X-FACTOR: BOBBY WITT JR
The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a rebuild. For Kansas City, the 2023 season will be a fact-finding mission. One such search will be for the development of their former top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. The Royals have done a disservice to Witt as they continue switching him between shortstop and third base. Should the Royals leave Witt Jr in one position and allow him to further develop his skills, he will easily be the team’s x-factor.
MINNESOTA TWINS X-FACTOR: BYRON BUXTON
Byron Buxton has the ability to be arguably the most dynamic player in MLB. However, Buxton’s inability to remain on the field has hindered the Minnesota Twins. Buxton’s skill set combination of power and speed, added to his otherworldly defense in the demanding center field position, makes him an x-factor. For the Twins to reach the postseason in 2023, Byron Buxton must stay healthy. And if he can remain on the field, his name will be in the AL MVP conversation.