Cleveland Indians Top 25 in 2016: No. 7, Carlos Carrasco

Our look at the Top 25 Cleveland Indians in 2016 continues with a look back at a pitcher who had a great season cut short due to an unfortunate injury.

The Cleveland Indians were dealt a tough blow when Danny Salazar exited his September 9 start, only to be declared out for the rest of the regular season. But the staff was still strong enough to form a fearsome playoff rotation. Then the next injury struck.

Carlos Carrasco threw two pitches on September 19 before a line drive struck him in the hand, ending his season on the spot. It was an injury that seemed to doom the Indians’ World Series chances, and one that caused one local writer to infamously say the team’s chances of playoff success were finished.

This proved not to be true, but one can wonder if anything would have been different if Carrasco had indeed been healthy.

He had a great regular season for the Indians, finishing with an ERA of 3.32 and a WHIP of 1.148. He was arguably the team’s second-best starter, behind Corey Kluber, at the time of his injury in what was his seventh year in Cleveland.

Carrasco is one of the core players who is signed for several more years, with the Indians holding team options in both 2019 and 2020. Like many on the team, he began his MLB career in Cleveland, and will hopefully be around to help lead the team to a World Series title.

He has continually improved each year on the mound, and 2017 will be his third consecutive season as a starter after primarily appearing out of the bullpen in 2013 and 2014. And it appears he will be just fine after his injury, which was a freak accident at best.

A healthy Carrasco helps the Indians’ starting rotation maintain consistency, which should only help the group improve after a successful 2016. And while Kluber usually is considered the ace, Carrasco will assert himself as a worthy contender for the title in 2017.

And based on what the Indians did in the playoffs without Carrasco, one can only hope time speeds up just a bit and we can get to next October, when opponents will be terrified to take on the Indians. Consider yourself warned, all of Major League Baseball.

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