Fri 13/03/2015 - 16:38 EDT

Cleveland Indians 2015 Season Preview

Cleveland Indians 2015 Season Preview
After a quiet offseason, the Cleveland Indians enter the season with essentially the same group that brought them close to a Wild Card appearance in 2014, but without any new additions the Indians are not likely to take a step forward in 2015.

Futures

Odds To Win Division: +240

Odds To Win AL Pennant: 9/1

Odds To Win World Series: 20/1

Regular Season Win Total: 83.5

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Biggest Additions

Brandon Moss, 1B/RF

Gavin Floyd, SP

Scott Downs, RP

Biggest Losses

Jason Giambi, DH

They’ll Be Successful If…

The pitching staff for the Indians, especially the bullpen will be key for the Indians success in 2015. If Lonnie Chisenhall can rebound from an abysmal post All-Star performance and Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana can produce similar numbers to 2014, the Indians lineup should take a positive step forward in 2015. The Indian’s pitching staff features the reigning American League CY Young winner, Corey Kluber. Kluber led the AL in strikeouts with 269, and only allowed 0.5 homeruns per 9 innings pitched. He is entering his fifth big league season and has improved every year since entering the Majors in 2011. Even though improving on his 2014 numbers are unlikely, a similar campaign would etch his name amongst the league’s elite. With the help of Kluber’s monstrous season, the Cleveland Indians led the Majors in team strikeouts. With the bullpen stocked with six relievers (five 28 years old or younger) who posted sub a 2.75 ERA in 2014, the Indians should improve in 2015 and be considered one of the game’s best groups. Entering the All-Star break batting .332, Chisenahll collapsed in the second half of the season, with an embarrassing .218 post All-Star average. If he can return to his earlier form, or at least hit around .290, the team’s lineup will fare much better. Gomes provides the Indians with one of the better hitting catchers in the AL, Brantley batted over .300 and had 200 hits in 2014, and Carlos Santana led the AL in walks with 114. If they all can be productive hitters, the Indian’s can improve on their very average offense and press for a wild card spot.    

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

Unlike their contemporaries in the AL Central, the Indians had a very quiet off-season. Even if the Indian’s best hitters product similarly to their 2014 seasons, their lineup is average at best and could be severely depleted by any sort of injury. With only two notable offseason transactions, the Indians may suffer from being too thrifty. Gavin Floyd and Brandon Moss are quality starters, but lack the sex appeal and eye-popping numbers of a big name signing. With the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers busy improving their already strong squads, the Indians downfall could be simply lack of offseason activity. The Indians ranked right around league average for most of the major hitting categories in 2014. The team can ill-afford an injury, especially to Brantley or Santana. As the team’s success at-the-plate is too dependent on a few players , the Indians will need full and productive season’s from a few star players, which is a pitfall most teams contending for the playoffs try to avoid.       

Fantasy Bargain: Cody Allen, RP

Playing on team with an average offense, Cody Allen should get plenty of save opportunities in 2015. Allen is coming off two successful seasons and is now the full time closer for the Indians. He posted 11.26 strikeouts per 9 innings in 2013, and 11.76 in 2014. His WHIP and ERA have improved every season since entering the Majors in 2012, and should continue to improve in 2015. A predicted stat line of 40 saves, a sub 2.00 ERA and about 12 strikeouts.    

Outlook

With a strong bullpen and a true ace in Kluber, the Indians will be aiming for about 81 wins in 2015. If the lineup can produce efficiently and provide some clutch runs, the Indians could be headed for the post-season in 2015.

Prediction: 3rd In AL Central  

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Tag : baseball , Cleveland Indians 2015 Season Preview , Indians , mlb , Season Preview

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