A Dozen Reasons To Make The Cleveland Indians Your 2015 Valentine

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Sep 21, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) catches the ball at first for the out against the Minnesota Twins shortstop Danny Santana (39) at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

8. Cherry cordial: Under-appreciated Carlos Santana

We all know batting average is overrated. So people like to point at Santana’s .231 line (or his worse average of .207 in the first half). His 27 home runs led the Indians, despite missing time with another concussion and the failed third base experiment. The cherry uncovered in 2014? The hard work he put in to try to make third base work seemed to translate to his defense at first, with a .995 fielding percentage in 911 chances.

2015 rose-colored glass: His days at catcher are done, so this should bring down his days on the disabled list due to wear and tear.

Sep 12, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) makes a throw to first after he is struck by the ball hit by Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (L) in the fourth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

9. Mystery piece: Carlos Carrasco‘s turnaround
At first bite, his 6.46 ERA in April in six starts was downright hard and bitter. You put it down for a few minutes and he puts up a 2.30 ERA as a reliever. Then you take another bite and realize he was 5-3 with an ERA under 2.00 in the seasons final two months after starting again. Then you realized it was always good, he was just an acquired taste.

2015 rose-colored glass: A phenomenal 13 percent swinging strike percentage shows how nasty that split-change hybrid can be.

10. Peanut-butter filled: Danny Salazar‘s inconsistency
Everybody loves Buckeyes. For some at first, it’s a little rich to handle. Salazar’s first half 5.53 ERA and eight home runs in 40.2 innings made you run for a glass of milk. He cut his walks in half in the second half and struck out 73 in 69.1 innings in the second half. He was much easier to handle the second time around.

2015 rose-colored glass: His second half showed the Indians still can take a longer look at him as a starter.

11. Too much chocolate: Terry Francona sets record for using a bullpen
Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, Marc Rzpeczynski, and Scott Atchison all set career-highs in appearances. They combined for 299 outings. Heck, Kyle Crockett came in 43 times despite not coming up till May and staying up full-time by July. The bullpen was great and the Indians needed it to be. Too much of one thing can be bad though. Hopefully there’s no carryover.

Sep 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) take the ball to relieve relief pitcher Bryan Shaw (27) in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

2015 rose-colored glass: They always seem to add some kind of depth. They have enough options in the minors to take a spot or enough non-roster invitees who might step up if someone falters. Something ALWAYS goes wrong in bullpens.

12. Buy one box, get one half off: Cost of the Indians rotation
By now, we all know the Indians rotation was the best in the second half. Of the seven pitchers not named Justin Masterson who started a game in the second half, the Indians paid out a total of approximately $5.14 million. Trevor Bauer‘s $1.83 million was the highest individual salary.

2015 rose-colored glass: Even with Carrasco’s raise and barring a potential extension for Kluber, and the addition of Gavin Floyd‘s $4 million (with escalators potentially bumping the deal up to $10 million), the rotation is still cheap and has an average age of 26.625 (including all  rotation candidates like Zach McAllister, Josh Tomlin and T.J. House).

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