2015 MLB Team Previews – Indians
It’s been hard to not hear about the Indians this off season. The media has given them massive recognition and some have even deemed them as a potential World Series contender.
MLB Lines & Matchup Insight
Cleveland offers a solid mixture of veteran leadership along with a young core that continues to develop. Health will play a big role as they hope to get Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis, and even Nick Swisher back to form.
2015 MLB Team Previews – Colorado Rockies
AL Central: +240
American League: +900
World Series: +2000
Key Additions: Brandon Moss
Cleveland’s win total opened at 81 when they were released to the public.
Everybody has pounded them with the Over and now their total has sky rocketed to 85 wins. Will Cleveland live up to the expectations given to them?
Projected Starting Line Up:
1. Michael Bourn CF
2. Jose Ramirez SS
3. Michael Brantley LF
4. Carlos Santana 1B
5. Brandon Moss DH
6. Yan Gomes C
7. Jason Kipnis 2B
8. David Murphy RF
9. Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
The Indians have been a high strike out volume team in the past seasons, but they have also shown the ability to put up runs at a high rate. Cleveland will hope that Michael Bourn can return back to the form he played with in Atlanta and hope Jason Kipnis can have a bounce back season.
Both Bourn and Kipnis battled their way through multiple injury periods in 2014. The two showed signs of life with some good stretches, but then suffered setbacks with their respective injuries. Michael Bourn has been tearing the cover off the ball this spring and worked with a track coach in the off season to improve his base stealing ability. Bourn has elected not to attempt any steals this spring and says he is “saving them for the season.”
The Indians found somebody to give Carlos Santana some support in the lineup. With Brandon Moss hitting in the 5th spot, he’ll give Santana the opportunity to see more strikes. Moss struggled in the 2nd half of the season following his hip injury, but hit 20+ home runs in the first half of the season. He’s at 100% now, and is having himself a solid spring.
SS Jose Ramirez solidified his spot on the roster when he was called up in 2014 and performed very well. Ramirez hit .262 and 17 runs batted in for Cleveland in the 68 games he appeared in. Cleveland can expect Francisco Lindor to be called up at some point this season.
Projected Starting Rotation:
1. Corey Kluber
2. Carlos Carrasco
3. Trevor Bauer
4. Zach Mcallister
5. T.J. House
In the off season, Cleveland gave Gavin Floyd a 1 year deal, with a guarantee of him being in the starting rotation. Floyd suffered a major setback with his elbow that has been injured for years and more than likely won’t see any game action this season. That’s just fine for Cleveland though, as they have some solid depth with pitching.
Defending Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber will lead the way for the rotation. Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA. He struck out a ridiculous 269 batters in 2014.
Carrasco, Bauer, and House all showed great signs of things to come with their 2nd half performances. All three found consistency and kept Cleveland in the playoff race last season.
Zach Mcallister was guaranteed a spot on the roster prior to spring training. The question was whether or not he would be in the bullpen or as a starter. His solid spring, combined with the Floyd injury opened the door for him and earned himself a spot in the rotation.
Cody Allen RP
Bryan Shaw RP
Scott Atchison RP
Mark Rzepczynski LP
Kyle Crockett LP
Cleveland found themselves a solid closer in Cody Allen. In 2014, Allen had 24 saves with a 2.07 ERA. Him and Bryan Shaw anchored the 8th and 9th innings and had much success for Cleveland in their roles.
One thing about Terry Francona is that he is not afraid to make a pitching change.
Francona loves matching up regardless of the inning and he proved that last season. While sometimes you would see the likes of Kyle Crockett or Scott Atchison come in for a full inning of work in the 7th, they had just a good of chance of facing one batter in the 5th or 6th inning and being done for the day.
Francona had a lot of success in his method and will start with an 8 man bullpen in 2015.
2015 Cleveland Indians Prediction
Cleveland is going to be good this year. All around this team has the makings of a championship contender. With Francona at the helm, they have the ability to make a deep run in October.
Obviously health is a major factor, but with Moss, Bourn, and Kipnis looking healthy, all signs look good. Nick Swisher will be a wild card depending if he can recover from his knee surgeries.
That being said, the team chemistry is so good in Cleveland and this team will be making a post season appearance. A division title or Wild Card lies in their future.
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