Last year, the Cleveland Indians missed the postseason for the first time since 2015. After three years of dominating the AL Central, they were supplanted by the Minnesota Twins. This season will feature a major push to retake their division crown.
With a shortened 60-game season, the Indians will get their chance to make a run in 2020. Here are three reasons why the Indians will make the playoffs this year.
1. Elite Starting Pitching
The great strength of Cleveland's roster is its starting rotation. Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, and Carlos Carrasco may be the best front end of a rotation in baseball. Clevinger and Bieber are legitimate Cy Young candidates, and with a 60-game season, the Indians will be able to maximize their starts from their top starters. Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac are also well above average for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the rotation, and the added depth is just icing on the cake. The pitching staff alone is enough to make them a contender.
2. Stars on the Infield
Cleveland has been blessed with young, homegrown talent in its infield for the last five years. Francisco Lindor may not be in Cleveland much longer, but while they have him, he's still going to be one of the best shortstops in the American League. Jose Ramirez was finally started looking like his MVP-caliber self during the latter half of the 2019 season. First baseman Carlos Santana is also coming off the best season of his career at the plate. Additionally, the Indians finally have a playable second baseman in César Hernandez, which makes their infield one of the best in the American League.
3. Strength in Depth
Unlike some teams, the Indians will be well-positioned to go with a 45-man "taxi squad" due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to a long history of being extremely frugal, the Indians have put significant effort into building a very deep, inexpensive roster. The pitching staff is stocked with young arms like James Karinchak, who had a 22.0 K/9 over 30 innings in the minors last year, and familiar names like Oliver Perez and Nick Wittgren. The Indians' player pool is filled with the fringe players that have been around the roster for years like Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer. The Indians may not have the best quality, but the volume is certainly there.
Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $500!
Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.