Indians projected to win AL Central, despite offseason full of questions

Will the Indians win the American League Central this season?

James Rapien
February 12, 2019 - 12:37 pm
Jun 13, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (77) smiles before MLB game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona today as the Indians prepare for the 2019 season. The offseason was an eventful one. The Indians traded familiar faces like Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yandy Diaz. They also kept Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, despite rumors swirling about both pitchers. 

Michael Brantley signed with Houston, Andrew Miller is in St. Louis and Josh Donaldson went to Atlanta. Combine that with Francisco Lindor's calf strain and fans are left wondering if this team has enough talent to make the playoffs?

Most projections have the Indians winning the American League Central Division for a fourth-straight season. Baseball Prospectus released its' PECOTA rankings, which originally had the tribe winning 96 games. If you check their site again, you'll see their projection is bumped up to 97 wins. It's hard to envision a team that lost power in the lineup, has a clear weakness in the outfield and an inexperienced bullpen put together another 90+ win campaign, and yet Baseball Prospectus isn't the only one who likes the Indians. 

FanGraphs.com projects the tribe to win 93 games and bring home another division championship. Maybe the Indians are in a better spot than we think? They are relying on young players like Jake Bauers to step up and make an impact. Can Carlos Santana help replace Encarnacion's bat in the lineup? Davenport projections also have the Indians winning the American League Central, finishing with a 90-72 record. 

The organization accomplished their goal to shed salary in hopes of getting younger. They also wanted to remain competitive during this process. Three websites have the tribe winning the central division for a fourth-straight year. In an offseason full of doubt, these projections offer hope that the Indians will continue to win in 2019.