The Cleveland Indians had one of the biggest postseason let downs in major league history in 2017. They finished the year with a 102-62 record, at one point in the season rode a 22 game winning streak that seemed like it would never end at points, and were a lock to come out of the American League at the end of September. Then all the star power that the Indians had just failed to shine during October. They couldn’t hit, couldn’t really pitch up to standards and had found themselves knocked out of the playoffs in the ALDS by the New York Yankees. How do the Indians respond to such a disappointing end to such a promising season? How do they not just fall apart and have an awful 2018 season? Well for starters they are way too talented of a ball club to do so. This team is going to be in a position to win in October and the key factor is going to be execution in October.
This team is loaded coming into the 2018 season and a key part of their success is going to come from their pitching. The Indians have one of the best bullpen’s in baseball and with the arms like Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Tyler Olsen coming out of the pen, you are bound to have a good year. The Indians also have a multi talented starting rotation that is led by reigning AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. Kluber is one of the most dominating pitchers in all of baseball and the numbers show for it. He had a massive 2017 season and finished the year with a 18-4 record, a 2.25 ERA, and struck out 265 batters in the process. Kluber than had a disappointing postseason and finished the year on bad terms. I think he will clean that asset of his game up and like Kluber to have another Cy Young caliber season. Kluber is then complimented by one of the better two’s in all of baseball, Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco had a huge 2017 season and finished the year with a 18-6 record to go along with a 3.29 ERA. This righty from Venezuela is looking to have another big year and help his team clinch another division title. If the Indians starting rotation isn’t dangerous enough, the 1-2-3 punch is capped off by one of my favorite pitchers in all of baseball Trevor Bauer. Bauer is absolutely fearless on the mound and as a hitter if you show the slightest sign of fear, Bauer is going to eat you alive. This 1-2-3 combo for the Indians is deadly and I expect them to have one of the more successful starting rotations in all of baseball during this upcoming season.
The Indians bats are as good if not better than the Indians pitching. This fire powered offense is led by super star SS Fransisco Lindor. Frankie Lindor is one of the purest talents we have and is looking to feed off of a huge 2017 campaign. Lindor finished the year with a .273 BA, drove in 89 runs and hit 33 homers. Lindor is also one of the best fielding SS in the game and I think he will come home with the 2018 Gold Glove Award at the SS position. If you go to Lindor’s right, you have Jose Ramirez manning the hot corner who had a career year in 2017 and is now considered as one of the elite hitters at the third base position in all of baseball. Ramirez’s 2017 campaign was huge. He finished the year with a .318 BA, drove in 83 runs, stole 17 bases, collected 186 hits, scored 107 runs and hit 29 homers on the year. He then disappeared in the playoffs and led critics to believe how elite Ramirez actually is. I think him and Lindor are a dangerous left side of the infield and are going to be a hassle to deal with all summer long. The Indians also have one of the more powerful DHs in all of baseball in Edwin Encarnación who will provide you with 30 homers and 100 runs batted in, an extremely athletic 2B in Jason Kipnis who if can remain healthy, can have a huge year and an OF that would win the Gold medal for the relay. This offense is deep, powerful and dangerous and I like them to rake on opposing pitching staffs all season long.
Overall, I really like this Cleveland Indians team a lot. They have a great balance of pitching, fielding and batting and it will result in a 100 win season. I have this ball club finishing with an 100-62 record and have them being taken out in the ALCS by the Houston Astros. I think the Astros rotation is a tad deeper than the Indians and I think that will be the deciding factor in the championship series. There is no question on how talented this team is going to be in 2018, the question is “Can they win in October” and that is a question that can only be answered with time.