Cleveland Indians: Five Players That Could Play a Key Part in 2016

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Josh Tomlin – SP

Having two possible No. 5’s on this list as key players doesn’t work out mathematically, but there’s a chance they could simply for the depth they can provide. After returning from shoulder surgery, Tomlin has been impressive in his five starts. He’s 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA and has been a shot in the arm for a staff that is hurting down the stretch. Corey Kluber is out for a short time, and Carlos Carrasco just returned with not stellar results.

While Tomlin has never posted great overall numbers, he slots in as a solid back-end rotation guy. Following the surgery, we’re likely to see Tomlin’s numbers regress to the mean–and also see stamina play a part in that as well. It’s possible that the timing of his return and the amount of games left could help prevent that.

The key for Tomlin is he doesn’t walk many hitters. As the Indians solidify the defense with guys like Lindor and even Chisenhall–a plus defense would suit a pitcher like Tomlin well. But he’s essentially in a tryout as well for the Indians like Almonte.

Next: Plenty of things could change