The Cleveland Indians didn’t make too many splashes this offseason, with the exception of trading 2B Joe Wendle for 1B/OF Brandon Moss. Cleveland also acquired RHP Gavin Floyd through free agency. The Indians expectations are high, winning 85 of their games last year and 92 games in 2013. With a lot of key players in their prime the Indians are a live dog to come out on top of this tough division.
RHP Corey Kluber is the star of the show. He came out guns blazing last year and never slowed down. His amazing overall performance earned him the AL Cy Young award, which was well deserved. This rotation rounds out with a lot of talent withRHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Danny Salazar, RHP Trevor Bauer, LHP and T.J. House all quality starters. Gavin Floyd will provide depth and the rest of the bullpen should be above average.
The success of the offense relies on some familiar faces. Jason Kipnis needs to find his All Star 2013 form when he drove in 101 runs. In 2014 Kipnis only recorded 55 runs. Michael Brantly had a breakout year last season, hitting .317/.385/.506 and although those numbers are lofty expectations to meet, it’s not too much to expect Brantly to be close to that form this season. Yan Gomes, Michael Bourn and Ryan Rayburn are all quality at bats and with the addition of Brandon Moss, this lineup is solid from top to bottom
- Odds to win AL Pennant: 14/1
- Odds to win World Series: 33/1
Nikko’s Prediction: 1st in AL Central
My major question mark for the Indians is their overall defense. The infield should be better than last year, with Jose Ramirez or rookie Francisco Lindor taking over duties at SS. The outfield should see improvement with Brandon Moss playing RF. If the Indians can split or match last years divisional record of 39-37, this ball club can win 90+ games and earn a postseason berth. I like the odds on both the AL pennant and the World Series, and will happily lay those numbers listed above.
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