Coming in at #12 our first projected playoff team the Cleveland Indians.
Projected Record: 87-75 2nd in the AL Central 2nd AL Wild Card Spot.
Potential Lineup: LF Davis #20, SS Lindor #12, 2B Kipnis #22, DH Santana #41, 1B Napoli #26, C Gomes #10, RF Chisenhall #8, 3B Urshela #39,CF Almonte #35
Potential Rotation: 1.Kluber #28, 2.Carrasco #59, 3.Salazar #31, 4.Bauer #47, 5.Tomlin #43
Potential Bullpen: CL Allen #37, 8th Shaw #27, 7th Mcalister #34 Mid Relief: Armstrong #51, Thatcher #TBD, Otero #61, Manship #53
Potential Bench: C Perez #55, OF Butler #24, OF Cowgill #4, IF Ramirez #11
Injuries: OF Brantley #23
Sports illustrated projected the Cleveland Indians to win it all in 2015. Well that didn’t exactly happen as the Tribe won only 81 games missing out on October for the second straight season. Turning the page to 2016 the Indians who play in arguably the MLB’s toughest division look to have a roster capable of reaching October. The Indians offense had their struggles in 2015 yet saw some bright young new faces come up and really contribute and saw some of their veteran players have bounce back seasons. The star of the club was rookie of the year runner up Francisco Lindor. Lindor batted .313, with 12 homers, and 51 RBI’s in his very impressive rookie season. Veterans Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana put together solid seasons for the Tribe Kipnis batted .303 with 52 RBI’s, while Santana knocked in 85 runs. 2014 AL MVP finalist Michael Brantley batted .310 with 84 RBIS putting together yet another great season. However he is likely to miss the first chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury. The Indians signed veterans Rajai Davis, and Mike Napoli in order to fill the gap left by Brantley and add depth to the club once Brantley returns. The Indians also saw great defensive strides from youngsters Jose Ramirez and Giovanna Uresha and hope they both will bring their bats to the ballpark in 2016 as in 2015 it seemed at times only their gloves were working. The Indians offense has a lot of potential and in order to be successful in 2016 need both the veterans and youngsters to have good seasons. As for the starting pitching staff, the Indians are loaded with talent. The Indians finished 10th in starters ERA in 2015- but those numbers are bound to improve with a top trio of 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar, along with a back-end of Trevor Bauer, who has the potential to be sensational, and a very solid pitcher in Mike Tomlin. The Tribe’s rotation has the potential to be filthy in 2016. As for the bullpen, the Indians were also incredible finishing 4th in bullpen ERA. The late inning guys, Zach Mcallister, Brian Shaw, and Cody Allen (who stuck out 99 batters), were all sensational and shortened games for the Indians. With the trio still intact and looking ahead to 2016, the Indians bullpen should be excellent yet again. If the Tribe can get enough out of their offense to give their pitching enough run support, look to see playoff baseball for the Indians in 2016.