MLB Season Preview: AL Central X-Factors

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 29: Garrett Crochet #45 of the Chicago White Sox looks on against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 29: Garrett Crochet #45 of the Chicago White Sox looks on against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Kansas City Royals: Starting Pitcher Jackson Kowar

Kowar is by far the most unproven player on the X-Factors lists. The Royals have a very interesting core of young pitchers developing with Kowar, Kris Bubic, and Brady Singer.

He has seen little to no success in his two stints at the big league level, but every indication seems to point that it’s nothing more than transition pains into the majors. In just over 30 innings pitched, Kowar has an ERA over 11 and WHIP over 2, unsightly for sure but as cliche, as it may sound, big-league nerves are a real thing.

I remember as an Angels fan watching his debut against the halos, his stuff was good. Really good. He was so nervous (as Angels’ color commentator Mark Gubicza astutely pointed out) that he was chewing the crap out of his gum to try and relieve his nervous energy. Having said all of that, at some point he needs to prove that he can sustain prolonged periods in the majors like Bubic and Singer already have.

Next. AL East X-factors. dark

Minnesota Twins: Outfielder Trevor Larnach

Larnach can be one of the premier sluggers in the league, he showed that ability at Oregon State, and at some point that will translate.

In 79 games Larnach only hit seven home runs, I wouldn’t be surprised that he at least gets 25 if he gets the chance to play a full season. It’s easy to forget that just one year ago, the Twins were tabbed by many to be the clear favorites in this division.

Yes, Jose Berrios is gone but I don’t think I’m the only one afraid to count out the Twins entirely. Buxton and an improved Larnach does not sound bad at all in the outfield.