Cleveland Indians: The Youth Will Only Improve in 2017

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Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Many Cleveland Indians fans are relying on Michael Brantley’s return in 2017, but the team can still be successful without him thanks to the young talent.

It wouldn’t be a Cleveland Indians offseason if there weren’t panicky hot takes about the upcoming season.

The latest string of takes, made by Facebook commenters on our page whose identities will be spared, deal with how the Indians will do if Michael Brantley is unable to return in 2017. He is still not back to full baseball activities, causing some to worry, even though it is only January and there is no need for him to be pushing himself if there is any semblance of an injury in his body.

Alas, certain individuals see Brantley as the key to a World Series title in 2017, with his absence dooming the team’s chances. Takes like these cause one to wonder if these individuals know the story of the 2016 Cleveland Indians.

Not only is the pitching staff one of the best in baseball, but the roster is already stacked with talent. The team just signed one of the top hitters in the game, and there are several players on the team now whose MLB careers are just getting started.

Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Tyler Naquin all had great 2016 seasons, and will only get better in 2017.

Lindor is already becoming the face of the franchise after appearing in the All-Star Game and winning a Gold Glove in his first full season with the Indians.

Ramirez led the team with a .312 batting average and cemented himself as the starting third baseman of the future, while also being on of the team’s most consistent hitters in the postseason in what was his first full year with the club.

Naquin, while struggling in the postseason, had a great enough regular season that saw him finish third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. His walk-off inside-the-park home run in August was one of the most memorable moments in team history, which will hopefully be the first of many memories made by the young outfielder.

Next: The Alternatives to Michael Brantley

So while some may cling to hopes of Brantley not only returning, but returning to his old self, there is comfort in knowing that the current active roster is more than capable of getting the team back to the World Series. From the pitching staff, to Encarnacion, to the young players and the rest of the talented roster, one man’s presence or absence will not make or break the season.

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