How real are good starts from Guardians, Brewers, Cubs?

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Last week, we focused on the early-season disappointments in Real or Not. This week, we turn our attention to the surprises -- such as the new, improved and much more exciting American League Central.

Not including the shortened 2020 season, the AL Central hasn't had more than one playoff team since 2017. It's had just one season with two winning teams since then, in 2019. It hasn't seen three teams with a winning record since 2014. Last season, the division was a collective 89 games under .500 in non-division games.

The early returns in 2024, however, are setting up a different storyline. The Cleveland Guardians continue to roll with clutch hitting and a great bullpen, the Kansas City Royals are playing well, the Minnesota Twins recovered from a slow start to reel off a 12-game winning streak and the Detroit Tigers are hanging around .500. Even with the woeful Chicago White Sox, the AL Central is over .500 in interdivision action.

Including the Guardians and Royals, there are five clubs that went from having playoff odds under 50% on Opening Day to over 50% now. Let's break down those teams to see if they really are potential postseason contenders in the long run.