Cleveland Indians: Best team in baseball and title favorites

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians are in the driver’s seat to make it to and win the 2017 World Series. Do you believe yet? If not, it’s time to start.

I was young during the Cleveland Indians heyday. The mid-90s saw lineups of Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez (among others) mash their way into the record books.

But, they never won a ring. After our good friend Jose Mesa blew that save in 1997, there was an eerie feeling that Cleveland might never be back. Even though I’d rather blame Tony Fernandez for ’97 (I don’t know why more people don’t), it’s time to put the past in the past and look at the present and future.

The Cleveland Indians, if healthy, are constructed to win the 2017 World Series.

Data doesn’t lie

The numbers tell the story. I’ll rapid fire a few at you. The Cleveland Indians have:

  • the longest win streak in the MLB
  • best team ERA since All-Star break
  • highest fielding percentage in AL
  • highest run differential in AL
  • best road record in MLB

I could go into more advanced statistics, but this is illustrative. The Indians are hot, they have the best pitching and fielding, and they win on the road. Does that not sound like a team that is built to win the World Series?

Oh, and they have been doing all of this without their starting left fielder, right fielder, second baseman and Andrew Miller. Convinced yet?

It’s hard to lose two World Series in a row

Here’s a fun fact. Of teams that went to the World Series in consecutive years (since 1970), the overall record is 17-13, so the Indians have more than a 50 percent chance of winning the series should they make it a second consecutive year.

Only the Texas Rangers have made it to the World Series two years in a row without winning at least one in recent memory. And they were just a few outs away.

Do you believe?

All the negative Nancy’s might say “Oh the Dodgers this” or “The Astros that.” I say that the Cleveland Indians, riding hot pitching, great fielding and an amazing road record are in the driver’s seat.

Next: Evaluating Kipnis' future in Cleveland

Once they are fully healthy, it will be a tough team to beat. Who’s going to beat Kluber, Carrasco, and Bauer with Andrew Miller and company on the backend? How do you pitch around red-hot Jose Ramirez when Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion are equally hot?