After years of dominating the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians were finally toppled by the Minnesota Twins in 2019. However, the Indians still have the components to come back and win the AL pennant like they did in 2016.
Indians Odds to Win AL 2020
The oddsmakers at FanDuel Sportsbook don't appear to be huge fans of the Indians' chances in 2020, giving Cleveland just +1400 odds to win the AL, well behind the New York Yankees at +165 and Houston Astros at +370. Trading away Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer didn't help their odds, but a closer look at the Indians' roster shows this team is closer to the pennant than the odds may suggest.
The Indians are anchored by their pitching staff, which has a claim to being the best in baseball. Shane Bieber was fantastic last year, making his first All-Star team. Mike Clevinger has had injury issues, but when he's healthy, he's one of the best young starters in baseball. He had a 2.71 ERA and 2.49 FIP in 126 innings pitched last year.
Carlos Carrasco's recovery from leukemia to pitch last season was a remarkable achievement, and hopefully he can be back to his usual ace-like self after the health scare. Cleveland will be trusting two more young starters in Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac, who both showed substantial promise last year. Civale was dominant in his 57 2/3 major league innings and Plesac ended the year with a 3.81 ERA.
The rotation is supplemented an excellent bullpen featuring Brad Hand, Nick Wittgren, and Adam Cimber. Cleveland also has two elite relief prospects in James Karinchak, who had a 22.00 K/9 between three teams in the minors last year (no, that's not a typo) and Emmanuel Clase, who can throw a 100 MPH cutter. Thanks to the delayed start to the season, Clase and Clevinger should be available for the bulk of the year after suffering preseason injuries.
The offense is shakier, but Cleveland still has two MVP candidates in Francisco Lindor and a resurgent José Ramirez. Outfielder Oscar Mercado broke out in 2019 and is a potential All-Star, and Franmil Reyes should provide some power in the middle of the lineup in his first full year with the Indians. Veterans like Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez, and Domingo Santana are not flashy names, but they can get the job done.
The Indians will need to stay healthy in order to win the American League, but with Lindor, Ramirez, and this pitching staff, if they make the playoffs, the Indians could win the American League in 2020 in a similar fashion to the Washington Nationals' World Series run last year.
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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.