These three members of the Cleveland Indians are likely to play well in June
As May comes to a close, the Cleveland Indians sit just a half game out of first place in the American League Central, and FanGraphs gives them a 72.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Certainly, this is optimistic of the Tribe’s future, but it also reflects the big month of May that the team had. After posting a middling 10-12 record in March and April, the team surged to win 16 games against just ten losses in May.
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Much of this success can be chalked up to some incredible starting pitching. Danny Salazar continued his breakout season by striking out 46 batters in just 37 innings. Not only did he strike out more batters than the amount who reached base against him, but the right-hander also allowed a 2.41 earned run average and a 2.55 fielding independent pitching (FIP, an ERA estimator).
In fact, pretty much the entire starting rotation stepped up in May. Corey Kluber, who scuffled to start the season, pitched three quality starts and looked a little more like himself. Trevor Bauer returned to the starting rotation and prevented runs, although advanced metrics rated his work quite unfavorably. Similarly, Josh Tomlin posted great numbers on the surface, but the underlying statistics suggest that he benefited from some good luck.
Another reason for the big month of May was that the offense came alive to score some runs. The Indians had five starting players create runs at rates better than the average player, and the team slugged their way to the fifth-best weight on-base average in the American League. Slashing .304/.417/.468, Jose Ramirez played a big part in accomplishing this feat.
Now that the Cleveland Indians have put themselves in this great position, they need to keep up the pace to have another big month of June. On the following slides are three players who look ready to continue the playoff push. First on our countdown is a player who has been a big part of the Tribe for five years.
Next: The first player on our countdown is...