Cleveland Indians 2019 Season Preview: Fantasy Analysis

2018 Record: 91 – 71

Projected 2019 Record: 92 – 70

2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook

The Indians turned in another solid season in 2018, finishing atop the AL Central and winning over 90 games. And while their hopes were high entering the postseason, their title dreams were soon crushed when they lost to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series.

The 2018 team was led by players such as Cy Young award finalist Corey Kluber, slugger Jose Ramirez, and of course their shining shortstop Francisco Lindor. In fact, their offense was cruising the entire season.

As a team, their offense batted .259, second to only the Boston Red Sox in the AL. While Ramirez and Lindor were certainly big offensive factors, another nice addition was the midseason pick up of Josh Donaldson. Edwin Encarnacion also returned to his slugger form, mashing 32 home runs and knocking in 107 RBI’s.

All in all, Indian’s fans have little reason to be let down in 2019. Expect another strong season and another AL Central title for the Tribe.

2019 Indians Storylines

Several pressing questions surround the Indians entering the 2019 season. And one of these questions is left over from the 2018 season, is the bullpen strong enough to hold down the late innings? Obviously, the Indians bullpen has some depth, but a struggling Andrew Miller and Cody Allen in 2018 certainly arise doubts. Speaking of which, the Indians no longer have Andrew Miller or Cody Allen.

Another interesting area of the 2019 Indians surrounds some of their risky trade moves. Notably, the Indians gave up all-star catcher Yan Gomes in exchange for a Daniel Johnson and Jefry Rodriguez. This trade is certainly going to hurt the tribe.

It will also be interesting to see how Carlos Santana fairs for the Tribe after replacing Encarnacion, who the tribe traded to Seattle. Will Santana be able to fill the offensive void left by Encarnacion?

Indians Starting Pitchers

Corey Kluber– Kluber is without a doubt the Tribe’s ace. He turned in a stellar 2018 season, going 20 – 8 with an ERA of 2.89. He also finished 3rdoverall in AL Cy Young voting. Kluber is expected to be even better in 2019. To any team that has to face this guy, prepare to be baffled.

Carlos Carrasco– Carrasco is excited to once again be a core part of the Cleveland Indians rotation. This will be Carrasco’s 10thMLB season and 10thseason with Cleveland. He turned in a solid overall performance in 2018, going 17 – 10 with an ERA of 3.38. His recent contract extension shows that the Indians pitching staff think he is an integral part of their rotation. Let’s hope he continues to prove them right.

Trevor Bauer– Bauer comes into the 2019 season 3rdin Cleveland’s rotation. While his career as a whole hasn’t been incredibly impressive, he did turn in a solid 2018. He went 12 – 6 with a 2.21 ERA in 27 starts

Mike Clevinger– This will be Clevinger’s fourth MLB season and his fourth in a Cleveland uniform. The young righty is showing promising signs and has potential to be a dominant pitcher in this rotation. He finished his 2018 season at a 13 – 8 mark with a 3.02 ERA. Fantastic numbers for someone in their third MLB season.

Shane Bieber– Bieber will be playing in his second MLB season in 2019. Last year, the rookie went 11 – 5 with a 4.55 ERA, decent numbers for someone playing in their first season. He hopes to improve upon last year and solidify his role in this rotation.

Indians Relievers

Cleveland’s bullpen doesn’t seem to be at its best entering the 2019 season. After losing Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, the Tribe will turn to Brad Hand for the closing job. They will also be putting a lot of faith into Jon Edwards and Adam Cimber for the late inning/setup roles. Let’s see if the Indians’ relief can shatter the doubts that the MLB community has surrounding their effectiveness.

Indians Hitters

The Indians’ offense exploded in 2018. Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, and Francisco Lindor all turned in solid performances as guided the team to another division title

Despite the loss of Encarnacion, expect their lineup to be just as good in 2019. Ramirez, who finished second in AL MVP voting, is expected to turn in another strong season. He mashed 39 homeruns and knocked in 105 RBIs in 2018. Lindor turned in similar numbers, knocking out 38 homers and batting in 92 RBIs.

And we cannot forget to talk about the team’s newest offensive addition, Carlos Santana. Well, Santana isn’t exactly a new addition. He spent his first 8 MLB season in Cleveland before a going to Philly for a brief 1-year stint in 2018. Over the past five or six MLB seasons, Santana has consistently hit over 20 home runs and knocked in over 80 RBIs. He will certainly return to play a big role in this lineup.

The Indians will look to another one of their new players, Jake Bauers, for some additional offensive strength. While many fans certainly have not heard of Bauers before this season. He entered last season as one of the top young stars/prospects in the MLB and hopes he can gain some footing with the Tribe in 2019.

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Francisco Lindor
  2. Jason Kipnis
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Carlos Santana
  5. Jake Bauers
  6. Greg Allen
  7. Tyler Naquin
  8. Leonys Martin
  9. Roberto Perez

Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers

Trevor BauerTrevor Bauer – We all know Corey Kluber is the ace of the staff in Cleveland, but those days are numbered. Trevor Bauer took a major step forward this past season. He was bound for Cy Young potential, until his injury occurred, and then things looked a little rocky. Bauer should be fine, and his above average strikeout stuff is looking like a very solid investment.

 

Carlos CarrascoCarlos Carrasco – Carlos Carrasco continues to be one of the more underrated strikeout arms in baseball. He also continues to rack up wins, and provide strong innings. He has had 200+ strikeouts in the last two seasons, and is projected to hit that mark yet again. Love Carrasco for a team looking to use him as the ace and stack bats or, just nag a strong arm with consistent upside.

Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters

Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor – Well, the Cleveland lineup isn’t as strong as years past, but we still have two top fantasy bats here. Francisco Lindor is coming off some offseason injury fixing, but has been durable otherwise. He brings 20 SB upside and his power has really gone up in the last two seasons. He is another top ten potential pick in fantasy this season, projecting close to 40-50 HR+SB.

 

Jose RamirezJose Ramirez – Jose Ramirez has established himself as a top five pick with Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, and Mike Trout. He had 39 HR last season and 34 SB. I won’t be expecting 30+ SB, but he should easily hit the 30-20 mark again. Love his upside, and the BABIP should bounce back to make him closer to a .280-290 hitter.

  
Noah Wadhwani lives in Sacramento, California but grew up in Boston as a die-hard New England sports fan. He is currently a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley and is intending to major in applied mathematics or economics. Aside from sports, Noah’s other main passion is travel and has spent time living abroad in Denmark and Argentina.

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