The Cleveland Indians, barring a miracle, will miss the post-season this time around. But after making it to the wild card play-in game last year, and at least fashioning another decent campaign in 2014, this team looks to be in great shape for 2015.
One of the things I key on in assessing potential baseball futures, particularly for Over/Under Wins props, is how set the rotation will be. In the case of the Indians, they’re going to head into next season with what could be a spectacular, and at the very least rock solid grouping.
Corey Kluber has emerged as a legit ace. Danny Salazar is still figuring things out, but he’s a potential 1A. Carlos Carrasco always had the big arm, and is now putting all the pieces together. Trevor Bauer might never live up to the pre-draft hype, but if he’s slotted as a fourth starter, things could be a lot worse. Lefty TJ House doesn’t have great stuff, but he’s already starting to earn that crafty southpaw tag.
Carrasco really fascinates me. He is definitely turning the corner, and it’s really appearing as though the temp move to the bullpen was what turned the trick. Carrasco went from being a pitcher more concerned with finding a way to get through six innings instead of relying on his best stuff and just getting guys out. Now he’s really going after hitters, and with his array, Carrasco has a real chance to be right there as an elite power pitcher.
The bullpen has an anchor in Cody Allen, who might be ready to step forward as an elite closer, and he’s got some decent arms to set up in the late innings. There’s probably a need for a second southpaw, but Nick Hagadone is another guy who has gone from flop to success and he’ll likely be a solid contributor again next season.
As far as the position players are concerned, there’s a lot to like. Michael Brantley is now a star. Carlos Santana might never be a huge BA guy, but he’s a BB machine with loads of power. Jason Kipnis should be more productive next season with better health, and the fact he gutted it out for the entire season is impressive. Lonnie Chisenhall is yet another dude who has shed the bust label and his best offensive days are still to come. Yan Gomes is now one of the best young catchers in the game.
The big addition to the everyday lineup figures to be Francisco Lindor. I’m not sure about Lindor offensively just yet, but this kid has a great glove and will be a huge plus for what was a poor defensive infield this season. The Indians need to forget any thoughts about service time, get Lindor into the lineup on opening day, and just let him figure it out with the stick. His defense makes him an immediate asset.
The AL Central will be there for the taking next season. The Tigers are going to have rotation questions with Max Scherzer likely gone. The Royals are heading to the post season thanks to their phenomenal bullpen, but they’re probably going to lose James Shields and that lack of power is still going to be an issue. The Twins have some electrifying prospects, and the White Sox are starting to rebuild, but those two will remain long shots for at least another season.
The 2014 season isn’t done yet, but it’s never too early to look ahead to 2015. Based on what I’m seeing now, I’ll be expecting an O/U in the 85 neighborhood for Cleveland. I think they’re a team that will have an excellent chance to crack 90, and I’ll be waiting to fire on the Over once those numbers get posted next March. As for division, league and World Series wagers, I’ll wait to see what the oddsmakers offer, but there’s definitely a possibility I’ll be taking some chances with the Tribe.
Monday night was not good for me, as I went down with the Jets. The officiating certainly contributed to the Green Slime’s demise, but they had their chances to win this football game and let it get away. The stat profile from the game indicates the Jets should have won, but the bottom line is all that counts.
Nothing played yet in college, but that will change on Tuesday, as I’m likely going to fire early on four or five games. Those will be sent out to my subscribers right away, as I don’t wait till game day to get these plays out. The idea is to obtain the best value, and playing early has alway been the way to go for me. Sign up for my six-week special, which works out to just $100 per week, using the “buy now” feature on this page. For info on what I feel is the best net winners program in the industry, email me at email@example.com.
The brutal Braves got zeroed again last night, so the free play on the Pirates was a winner. I’ll go against another team just playing out the string tonight.
09/23 04:10 PM MLB (923) TAMPA BAY RAYS at (924) BOSTON RED SOX
Take: (923) TAMPA BAY RAYS -120
This season pretty much ended early for the both the Rays and Red Sox. Tampa Bay dug itself a massive hole with a terrible start to the campaign, and while they did have a nice mid-season surge, they were never really contenders. As for Boston, they had a 2013 where almost everything went right. Solid, low investment players enjoyed big years and that particular edition of the Red Sox had some of the best team chemistry I’ve ever seen in any sport. I don’t think there’s any question the Boston Marathon tragedy brought the entire region together and that extended to the baseball team.
Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation (and yes, I’m a born and bred New Englander and a die hard Sox fan), the team had a huge World Series hangover and really never got anything going. From a future perspective, I really like what Ben Cherington the front office has done this summer, and with some excellent young talent making its way through the system, the future is bright for the Red Sox, perhaps as soon as next season.
But for the present, including this final week, the Red Sox are not a team I want to back. Tonight’s pitching matchup clearly favors the Rays. Alex Cobb was a little off last start, but that was off the near no-hit bid. He should rebound with his normal performance tonight, and that ought to be enough to contain a pretty soft Boston lineup. Clay Buchholz throws for the Red Sox, and while there’s been the intermittent good outing, Buchholz has mostly been serving up really hittable stuff.
The game means nothing in the standings, but the Rays always seem to come to play. That’s especially true when they face the Red Sox. There’s no love lost between these teams, and Tampa Bay always plays this opponent with a major chip on its shoulder. I see that being the case again tonight, and with the better pitcher on the mound in Cobb, laying 6/5 with the Rays seems perfectly reasonable to me.