Here are five bold predictions for the Cleveland Indians as they make their way down the home stretch of the 2021 season.
The Cleveland Indians might not make the playoffs in 2021, but there are plenty of intriguing storylines to keep you watching. Will the team actually stay in the wild-card hunt? How will the infield shake out? Is Cal Quantrill finally living up to the expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick?
With so much to consider, here are five predictions for the rest of the season (and one bonus prediction!):
Cleveland Indians prediction #1: Cal Quantrill wins AL Pitcher of the Month for August
We’re all aboard the Cal Quantrill hype train over here, and the former first-round pick has started August on fire, as he’s yet to give up an earned run in 13 innings. In his last start against Detroit on August 6, Quantrill went seven innings, striking out 10 in a 6-1 win. Quantrill’s emergence has been a glorious byproduct of the rotation’s decimated state this season, and he should find himself right back in the same spot next year.
Cleveland Indians prediction #2: Cleveland stays in the wild-card race until the end
The youth movement is on to some extent, but this is still a good team. With Quantrill, Zach Plesac, and an improving Triston McKenzie in the rotation – and the possibility of getting back Aaron Civale and maybe Shane Bieber – to go along with a solid bullpen and decent, healthy lineup, the Indians should remain in the wild-card hunt. They might even make it a little interesting by early September.
Cleveland Indians prediction #3: First base becomes as much of a question as ever
When Bobby Bradley was called up earlier this season, he provided an instant offensive boost, hitting eight home runs with a .254/.321/.634 line in June. But he’s hit .177 since, striking out a ton and displaying some of the bad habits that continue to keep first base open for competition. Bradley does have a 115 wRC+ this season, but Cleveland has already been giving Owen Miller some time at first, and there’s the question of where Josh Naylor ends up when he eventually returns from injury. Jhonkensy Noel is years away – the 20-year-old is currently mashing at Low-A Lynchburg – but he’s quickly developing into the first baseman of the future for the soon-to-be Guardians.
Cleveland Indians prediction #4: Jose Ramirez gets to 40 home runs
It has been an interesting year for Cleveland’s third baseman. The 28-year-old Ramirez is hitting .254/.341/.525 with 24 home runs, 65 RBIs, a 129 wRC+, and his usual elite eye at the plate. These are solid numbers, if not a bit off his usual pace that makes him a perennial AL MVP candidate. Ramirez hasn’t had as much help in the lineup this season, and he’s been hampered by some nagging injuries. However, the three-time All-Star is fully capable of going on a tear at any given time, and is a career .302 hitter in the months of September/October. He closes out seasons strong, giving him a great shot at 40 homers to end the year, which would be a career-best mark.
Cleveland Indians prediction #5: Nolan Jones won’t be called up to the Majors
Jones is one of Cleveland’s top prospects, so there is naturally a growing call for him to be sent up to the Majors. But the 23-year-old is hitting just .227 in his first year at Triple-A Columbus, though he does have a .345 OBP and 10 home runs. Still, the Indians still have plenty of decisions to make in the outfield and Jones wouldn’t see any time at third base either for obvious reasons. There just isn’t any true urgency to bring him up in 2021, and it would seem very likely that he starts 2022 in Columbus as well.
Bonus prediction: The Guardians of Traffic statues come alive and demolish Progressive Field
These are supposed to be bold predictions, right? What if by renaming the team the Guardians, it awakened some sort of ancient curse within the Guardians of Traffic (or Guardians of Transportation, depending on who you ask) statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge, and they come alive, knowing only how to destroy? With Progressive Field no doubt in their path, these four 43-foot-tall statues would absolutely annihilate the stadium. With no Godzilla-like savior to put an end to the mayhem, it’s possible the statues could even make their way to the lakefront, demolishing FirstEnergy Stadium before the Browns season begins, which would probably be enough to get people motivated to stop them.