Cleveland Indians: The Other Competition in the Title Chase

The Cleveland Indians are the 2017 World Series favorites. But don’t think they are the only team after a World Series title.

To clear the air, the Cleveland Indians are right up there with the Chicago Cubs as 2017 World Series favorites. They signed the right people—Edwin Encarnacion and Boone Logan—and kept their best players on the roster. The Indians carry an impeccable bullpen, with Corey Kluber leading the way.

They have 8-1 odds of winning the WS, according to Bleacher Report, although most would agree the odds to be better than 8-1. All this hype surrounds the increased chances of the Indians taking the Commissioner’s Trophy.

What stands in the Indians’ path to a 68-year-ending World Series drought?

A few things, actually—other teams upgraded their rosters to become World Series bound. Some of those teams stand a chance to knock the Indians off their winning path.

On both sides, these are just projections. But they are enough to set the hope/fear within. Here’s something to chew on:

The Chicago Cubs may get a second piece of the World Series this year. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and other “core” members of the World Series winning team have contracts until the 20’s. That could be a problem for the Indians if this year becomes an instant repeat of 2016.

Another obstacle to worry about: playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs project the Dodgers to collect the most wins in all of MLB by the end of the regular season. Their pitching is similar to the Indians’—talented but delicate. Clayton Kershaw, along with Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, and others, supply one of the best bullpens in baseball. They still have Corey Seager, and added Howie Kendrick, and Darin Ruf, to name a few that make up a solid batting lineup.

Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs both predict that the Indians would only rank second in the AL for wins. It would likely be the Boston Red Sox or Houston Astros that would face them in the ALCS—meaning the Indians would have another tough road to the World Series.

To wrap up, the Indians stand strong as World Series contenders, and furthermore, winners. But do not forget about the other teams shooting for a World Series win as well.

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