Kansas City Royals Still the Class of the AL Central
By David Hill
2. Cleveland Indians
Last season, the Cleveland Indians may have been one of the more disappointing teams in baseball. This year, they may be one of the more intriguing.
Much like the White Sox, the Indians had trouble scoring runs. Despite a .325 on base percentage that ranked third in the American League, Cleveland finished eleventh with 669 runs scored. Yan Gomes had a horrendous year as he battled through injuries, and the Indians had a black hole at third base. With Mike Napoli being their biggest free agent signing, Cleveland needs to hope that Gomes and Carlos Santana can produce once again, and that Michael Brantley will return sooner rather than later.
Where the Indians become intriguing is with their pitching staff. Ace Corey Kluber had what seemed to be a down season, but his 1.054 WHiP and 245 strikeouts were both good enough for third in the American League. Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer all had their moments, and if they can put everything together, the Indians could have quite the formidable rotation. The bullpen needs work, but Cody Allen had a strong performance as the Tribe’s closer last year, and Tommy Hunter should help solidify the relief corps.
Much like the Twins, if everything breaks right for the Indians, they could threaten the Royals this season. With a young pitching staff that appears on the verge of a breakthrough, that could happen this year.
Next: The defending champions