Thanks to injuries to starting pitchers Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians ran out of gas against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.
Bauer who infamously cut himself fixing a drone, Carrasco who suffered a fractured bone in his throwing hand and Salazar who suffered an arm injury, were all unavailable to Cleveland during what was a instant seven-game classic this past October.
Now fully healthy and ready to help the Indians get back to the World Series and claim their first pennant since 1948—and their third overall—can a fully-healthy and loaded pitching rotation finally close the deal for Cleveland?
Below is my projected starting rotation for the Cleveland Indians
RHP Corey Kluber: One of the game’s best—and most efficient—pitchers in the game today, the former 2015 AL Cy Young winner leads a quality rotation, as he is Cleveland’s undisputed ace. The 6’4 right-hander, nicknamed “Klubout” went 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 227 strikeouts. Likely to start Opening Day. Per Tom Withers of the Associated Press, the Indians are reportedly taking a slow approach in getting Kluber up to speed.
RHP Carlos Carrasco: Before suffering a fractured bone in his throwing hand, the 6’3 right-handed Carls Carrasco had a 11-8 record with a 3.32 ERA and 150 strikeouts. Currently signed thru 2018 to a four-year $22 million deal with a team option for 2019-20, how he shows that he has recovered will be key, as he is one of the two pitchers behind Kluber.
RHP Danny Salazar: The Indians other quality arm behind Kluber, the 27-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is a vital cog in the Indians pitching machine. Before suffering an arm injury, Salazar posted a mark of 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts. Depending on how he pitches following injury will also be key for Cleveland.
RHP Trevor Bauer: Forever known for his ill-advised decision to repair a drone during the Indians post-season run, also known as “Dronegate” the eclectic right-handed Bauer is Cleveland’s quirky wildcard, as you never know what you’re going to get with him. 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA and 168 strikeouts, Bauer, and his array of pitches makes him a off-center choice to be the Indians fourth starter in their rotation.
RHP Josh Tomlin: Known as the Little Cowboy, the 6’1 native of Whitehouse, Texas provides a quality arm both in the starting rotation and occasionally in the bullpen as well. With the forementioned Bauer, Kluber and Carrasco out during the post-season, Tomlin stepped up in delivering quality starts in the ALCS and World Series. Most likely to be the Indians fifth starter in 2017, look for Tomlin to come up big once more when needed.