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Cleveland Indians: Five expectations for the 2019 season

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: A view of Progressive Field prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: A view of Progressive Field prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Rotation finishes top five in the majors

I cannot stress enough that the Indians have one of the best rotations in the major leagues. This goes a long way in making a team a contender and it plays huge in the postseason.

We saw in 2016 what excellent pitching can do in the run to the world series. We also saw what a lack of depth can do after injuries finally caught up to them in game seven.

The Indians reached a huge milestone in 2018 having four members of the same staff reach 200-plus strikeouts in the same season. They could absolutely break that and have all five hit 200-plus as Bieber finished 2018 with 118 in just 19 starts.

They finished in the top 10 in wins, strikeouts, WHIP, runs allowed, walks allowed and average against. They were without Shane Bieber as a mainstay fifth starter until the middle of June which is what leads me to believe a full season of these five will bring a top-five finish among the entire major leagues in 2019.

Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez finish with 30/30 seasons

The 30/30 (30 homers and 30 stolen bases) season is uncommon and has not happened a lot in history. In 2018, there were only two players to accomplish the feat: Boston’s Mookie Betts and our very own Jose Ramirez.

This expectation is not far-fetched despite it not occurring often. In fact, the 2018 pair were the first players to achieve a 30/30 season since the 2012 season.

I say this is not far-fetched because Jose accomplished it in 2018 and Francisco Lindor came close to achieving it himself with 38 home runs and 25 stolen bases of his own. Ramirez actually finished with 39 homers and 34 stolen bases.

Ramirez could finish with a 40/40 season if he builds on his 2018. Lindor is only going to continue improving as well and I see both finishing with 30-plus home runs. If the Indians continue to be aggressive on the base path as they have been the last few seasons, the pair could become just the third set of teammates to finish with 30/30 seasons in MLB history.

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