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Cleveland Indians Season Predictions | 2014 Season Betting Preview

2014 Indians MLB Team Previews

The Cleveland Indians somehow won 92 games last season and snuck into the playoffs. In fact, they even pushed Detroit for the division title but there is no way they don’t take a step back this year.

They just didn’t make any significant offseason acquisitions, they lost their best pitcher in the second half – Ubaldo Jimenez – and don’t have any significant prospects knocking on the door.

I can not find a single preview mag, article or blog that thinks Cleveland can repeat last year’s performance and I am not going to go out on a limb either. This looks very much like a .500 team at best, continuing their yo-yo pattern of wins from year to year over the last 5 seasons.

Sportsbook’s Odds to Win

  • AL Central: +700
  • American League: +2200
  • World Series: +4000

Key Additions:

The Indians were not very active in the offseason. Their “key” additions were OF David Murphy and closer John Axford. Murphy, who comes from the Texas Rangers, is looking to prove that he is not just a platoon player.

He is not coming off a strong season in Texas but was attractive to the Indians because he has always raked at Progressive Field. He still may be a platoon guy though.

Axford is hoping to prove once again that he can be a major league closer. Last year he got off to a disastrous start in Milwaukee but once removed from the role he was very effective, including a stint with St. Louis.

This was a smart pickup for Cleveland with high upside potential.

Probable lineup

CF Michael Bourn
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
RF David Murphy
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
LF Michael Brantley
C Yan Gomes
3B Lonnie Chisenhall

This is a pretty good but not great lineup. The key to improving will fall to two players in my estimation. The first will be speedster Michael Bourn at the top. If he can be more of a threat on the basepaths it will open things up more for the middle of the order.

Bovada

Swisher is patient in the two hole and should give him a lot of opportunities to turn singles into doubles even if he takes a walk afterwards.

The other key is Cabrera. He needs to bounce back and lengthen the lineup. He is not the player who nearly knocked in 100 runs a couple of seasons back but he is not a .240 hitter either. If they can get more out of him than the Indians should be alright in terms of scoring enough runs to win consistently.

Probable rotation

RH Justin Masterson
RH Danny Salazar
RH Corey Kluber
RH Zach McAllister
RH Josh Tomlin

This rotation has promise but a few too many question marks. The first is whether Danny Salazar can live up to the hype. There is no doubt he has great stuff but he is also only 50 innings into his MLB career.

The same for for Kluber to a lesser degree, a little more experienced and a little less potential but can he break through and be counted on for a full season. Maybe most important of all is what can they reasonably expect from Josh Tomlin. He missed virtually all of last season and before that was hardly a dominating force.

If he is not reliable and they have to dig deeper into their system there are not a lot of great options.

Closer

John Axford

Axford has shown he can do the job but he has also shown he can be a disaster too. Obviously the Indians are hoping for the former but with Chris Perez gone they do not have a lot in reserve just in case. Setup man Vinnie Pestano was thought to the the heir apparent to close but never really grabbed the job and now the opportunity has pretty much passed him by.

If Axford is not the guy Cleveland will be scrambling.

2014 Cleveland Indians Prediction:

There is no way the Indians win 92 games like they did last season. I think their ceiling is probably a .500 record and that likely means a third place finish in the AL Central behind Detroit and K.C..

This is probably a fade team in the early going as many who benefitted from last season’s surprise success could inflate the value playing off last year’s second place finish in units earned. I would also look to the overs on a lot of Tribe games this year. I think their offense can grow and their starting pitching is questionable.

Last year they were an under team but this year it flips.

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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.


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