Indians Players Who Have a Make-or-Break Season Ahead in 2020

By michael obermuller
Cleveland Indians players facing a make-or-break 2020 season, including Adam Plutko.
Cleveland Indians players facing a make-or-break 2020 season, including Adam Plutko. / Norm Hall/Getty Images
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The Cleveland Indians may have missed their World Series window, and they have decided to re-tool a bit recently, trading away some big names like Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. Even Francisco Lindor was almost sent packing.

Now the Indians find themselves in an interesting transitional position where they still have plenty of pieces from their championship caliber roster, mixed with some fresh faces coming up through the ranks. Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger are the new aces of the staff, Oscar Mercado and Domingo Santana are among the new bats in the lineup. With the roster changing in 2020 and beyond, these three players must battle to save their spots.

3. Adam Plutko

Adam Plutko's varied success makes his future uncertain.
Adam Plutko's varied success makes his future uncertain. / Norm Hall/Getty Images

Used as a fill-in fifth starter over the last couple seasons, Adam Plutko has had flashes of success that have been overshadowed by his overall ceiling. What's been even more baffling has been his AAA numbers, which have generally been worse than his call-ups. Now out of minor league options, Plutko will have to be more consistent than his respective 4.99 and 5.19 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) marks from the last two seasons if he wants to keep his job in Cleveland.

2. Jake Bauers

Jake Bauers will compete for playing time in 2020.
Jake Bauers will compete for playing time in 2020. / Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Jake Bauers has always shown power with his bat, but he's never really proven he can play a position with regularity. At the same time, he may not be consistent enough to warrant an everyday DH job, especially with players like Franmil Reyes now on the roster. Bauers spent some time in the minors in 2019, due to a contact issue displayed by a middling 31.2 percent hard-hit rate and a worrying 27.2 strikeout rate, which led to a .226 batting average. The RBI production has been there in the young sluggers first two seasons in the big leagues, but he'll need to up the rest of his game if he wants to stick around in Cleveland.

1. Jose Ramirez

If the Indians are going to compete this year, they'll need a bounce back from Jose Ramirez.
If the Indians are going to compete this year, they'll need a bounce back from Jose Ramirez. / Norm Hall/Getty Images

This season Jose Ramirez could face a make-or-break year for his long-term future with the Cleveland Indians, and his performance could also be make-or-break for the Indians' playoff chances. Injury did partially slow down the third baseman in 2019, but even before that his production was waning. Ramirez' batting average and on-base percentage in 2019 were both his worst marks since 2015. The biggest notable changes in his swing statistically were his launch angle and his barrel percentage, which both dropped last season according to StatCast data. If the Indians want any chance of making the playoffs this year, they'll need Ramirez to return to form.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. 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. 

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