A Healthy Rotation (…and Outfield…and Catcher)
With a depleted three-man rotation and 13 different outfielders throughout the season, the Cleveland Indians were able to make it to the 10th inning of Game Seven of the World Series. A healthy Carlos Carrasco pitching Game 2 probably pans out much better than Trevor Bauer’s sad showing. Even a fully healthy Danny Salazar makes Game 5 or 6 a lot different.
Going into the 2017 season, the Indians again have one of the best rotations in all of baseball with Corey Kluber, Carrasco, and Salazar near the top. Mix in Bauer, Josh Tomlin, Cody Anderson, Ryan Merritt, and Mike Clevinger and the depth is clear. With a full year from Clevinger along with Anderson expected to be back to full strength by the start of the year, the rotation could be lethal.
To go along with a full pitching staff, outfielder Michael Brantley is finally slated to return from his injury. If he is ready for Opening Day (or even ready by June) and can play left field regularly, a lot of questions will subside about the Indians’ outfield. With Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte in center field and Brandon Guyer and Lonnie Chisenhall in right field, Brantley is the key to making everything fit together.
Catcher Yan Gomes has been forgotten by most of the Cleveland fan base. He has a Silver Slugger Award, but his last few seasons have been abysmal. Injuries and slumps have kept him off the field and off the base paths. With him back on the field at the end of the season, Gomes will have this entire offseason to get completely healthy for Opening Day.
If either Gomes or Roberto Perez is able to hit even .250, it will greatly bolster the bottom of the lineup while continuing their great defense behind the plate.
Without Gomes, Brantley, Carrasco, and Salazar, the Indians blew through the American League. With them, they are going to be very difficult to stop.