MLB 2014 Predictions: AL Central – Who Can Catch The Detroit Tigers

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Cleveland Indians designated hitter

Carlos Santana

– Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports


The Indians have a strong team with no obvious stars – just a long list of solid performers. They have a good hitting line up, a rotation that should be at least average at worst, and an evolving bullpen.

HITTING: Maybe the one thing that stands out about the Indians offensively is their flexibility. Carlos Santana is going to start at third this season, but will also see time at catcher, first, and DH. Nick Swisher will play first, right, and DH. David Murphy can play all outfield positions.

In fact, outside of Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop, and Jason Kipnis at second, you may need see a variety of players at different positions. The question, how good will they be on defense. Outside of the the middle infielders, left fielder Michael Brantley, and Michael Bourn in center, how strong is Cleveland with the glove around the horn? If Swisher is in right, and Murphy in center or left, the Indians may not very good on those days.

Bourn will most likely start the season on the DL, and Nyjer Morgan will take his place, another solid piece.

This offense has some real talent, and if they get several players hot at the same time, watch out. They will be able to score some runs.

PITCHING: Much like the hitters, the rotation is filled with talented arms, none of which are going to be household names. Justin Masterson will serve as the staff ace, and he has shown flashes that he is capable of such trust. In a perfect world, he would be a terrific number two. He will be followed by the surprising Corey Kluber, and the steady Zach McAllister.

At the end, two youngsters try to make their mark. Danny Salazar will try to live up to expectations, and Carlos Carrasco will try to keep his temper under control in the 5th spot.

The bullpen has a huge question mark at the back, with John Axford as closer, but he will be surrounded by some very fine arms. Cody Allen, Vinnie Pestano, and Marc Rzepczynski could all step in if Axford falters.

Just like last season, the Indians have the talent to make a hard run at a wild card spot. A lot depends on if Salazar and Carrasco can improve, and Axford can be successful again a closer. The Indians may have to score a lot of runs to make up for a suspect defense.