2016 MLB Preview: Cleveland Indians

2015 Record: 81-80 | 3rd in AL Central

2015 Recap:  The 2015 Cleveland Indians were a huge disappointment thanks in large part to an offense that scored 3 or fewer runs in 71 games, winning only 19 of those.  But there were plenty of bright spots too.  Long-awaited rookie sensation Francisco Lindor exceeded all expectations when he was called up in June, earning him 2nd place in AL ROY voting.  Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley turned in equally strong offensive and defensive production.  The starting pitching was dominating and proved its depth by effectively battling through minor slumps and injuries.  Finally, third baseman turned right fielder Lonnie Chisenahll provided some dazzlingly defense.  The 81-80 record is not necessarily indicative of the team’s overall performance.

2016 Outlook: The Indians not only have one of the top starting rotations in baseball, they’re also perhaps the deepest.  Tyler Naquin dazzled in spring training (.411/.459/.786 with 10 extra base hits) earning an opening day roster spot.   Rajai Davis should provide more offense than the departed Michael Bourn and Juan Uribe should add both offense and experience at 3B.  Carlos Santana moves to DH (which will hopefully improve his offense), making room for defensive specialist Mike Napoli at 1B.    The big pending questions for the Indians:  Will the additions of veterans Napoli, Davis, and Uribe add the necessary 6 to 10 games to the win column to earn a playoff spot?  How much time will Michael Brantley miss?

Key Additions: Mike Napoli, 1B; Rajai Davis, CF; Juan Uribe, 3B

Key Losses: Mike Aviles, UTL; Ryan Rayburn, OF

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  2. Francisco Lindor, 2B
  3. Michael Brantley, LF
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Carlos Santana, DH
  6. Yan Gomes, C
  7. Juan Uribe, 3B
  8. Tyler Naquin, CF
  9. Lonnie Chisenhall, RF

Projected Pitching Rotation:

  1. Corey Kluber
  2. Carlos Carrasco
  3. Danny Salazar
  4. Josh Tomlin
  5. Cody Anderson

Closer: Cody Allen

Projection: 85-77, 2nd AL Central

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