Cleveland Indians MLB Futures 2018 Opening Lines
Best AL Record In 2017
The Cleveland Indians had a great 2017. In fact, their record of 102-60 was the best in the American League, and easily won them the AL Central.
The Twins came in second at a stunning 17 games back. Their 100+ wins was even better than their 2016 record, which was just 94-67. Despite that, it's clear that their campaign this year was a letdown compared to their World Series appearance a season prior.
Contributing to their record was a 22-game win streak, which was achieved on September 14. It was the second longest streak in MLB history behind the 1916 New York Giants, who stacked 26 in a row. They lost the next day in a tight game with division rivals the Royals.
The team amassed the most strikeouts in the league with 1614 and had the lowest team ERA with 3.30. Ace Corey Kluber ended the regular season with 18 wins and a stunning 2.25 ERA with 265 K's. The 31-year-old was awarded the AL Cy Young Award for his great season.
A Life Without Carlos Santana
As of now, the 2018 Indians will look quite similar to the 2017 edition. They do have to face the concept of Carlos Santana not being there next season due to free agency.
The same goes for Jay Bruce and Austin Jackson. Edwin Encarnacion was a great addition in 2017, but if they lose Santana, they'll need another consistent player, capable of hitting 20+ homers. Encarnacion could go back to playing 1B though if Santana doesn't stay with the team. Michael Brantley is also an option for that position if he can stay uninjured.
In terms of starting rotation, Kluber could be in for a rough season. Well, according to stats that is. Back in 2014, Kluber won the same award, but his 2015 was a significant letdown, losing 16 games, worst in the AL. He's projected to only win 13 games next season and end the season with a 3.10 ERA.
The last AL Cy Young winner had the same difficulties the season after his win. Rick Porcello of the Red Sox was the reigning award holder this season, but followed up his 22 win season with a 17 loss season, leading the league in hits and homers.
Will They Win Their Division
Even though the Indians totally dominated the American League Central Division in 2017, there's a lot more uncertainty for 2018. The Twins are on track to becoming contenders, as evidenced by their great year, and with the Indians' all but certain regression, they aren't a lock to take the division by any means. And believe it or not, the White Sox are only going to get better. Granted a year isn't enough time to rebuild, but in a few season they'll be knocking on the Indians' doorstep.
Odds to Win the MLB World Series
The Indians opened at +750 to win the World Series and third favored, behind the Astros and Dodgers, the winners and runners-up. Interestingly enough, they're favored above the Yankees, who beat them in the ALDS, and gave the Astros a run for their money.
At this price, there's no reason to take the Indians here. They did get upset by the Yankees, but the Bronx Bombers showed their worth by fighting Houston tooth and nail. It merits the Indians at around +1100 or higher, not +750.
Add that to the fact that if trends continue, Kluber will have a giant downswing of a season, and the rest of the Indians' starting rotation isn't enough to take this team deep into the playoffs.
Especially with Danny Salazar potentially getting placed in the bullpen to replace unheld free agents. Not to mention the free agents who are position players. They had their chance in 2016, they won't be showing up for the Big Show again in 2018.
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