The Cleveland Indians are still sore about losing the World Series in an unforgettable Game 7 last fall. However, with the new season upon them, the Tribe are heavy favorites to return the Fall Classic this October.
According to Cheat Sheet, there are multiple reasons why the Cleveland Indians and their fans will likely make it back to the World Series in 2017. The Tribe has some major talent on their roster. As many fans will remember, the Indians lost two of their best starting pitchers before the postseason last year and put the brunt of the work on their ace, Cory Kluber. The 2017 season, however, the Tribe will have Kluber, joined by Carlos Carrasco and a healthy Danny Salazar, in the rotation along with Trevor Bauer, who injured his hand during the playoffs last season and was forced to cut his rotation short as a result. Bullpen heroes Andrew Miller and Cody Allen will also return.
The Cleveland Indians were also forced to go without one of their best hitters, Michael Brantley, for the entire 2016 season. After playing in just 11 games, Brantley was sidelined with injuries in early May. Adding the left-handed hitter back to the roster can only help the Indians offensively and defensively.
Fox Sports also adds that the signing of slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal was huge for the ballclub, as the man with the big bat hit 42 homer runs and hit in 127 runs during his 2016 season with Toronto.
Of course, Cleveland’s most exciting player is Francisco Lindor. The young baller has become one of the best in the league, earning a 0.301 regular season batting average and 0.310 postseason average, making the All-Star team, and winning a Gold Glove in his first full season in the major league. Fans are excited about “Frankie” as his future is very bright and, hopefully, continues to prosper in an Indians uniform.
However, the Tribe isn’t starting the 2017 season without peril. Fan-favorite second basemen Jason Kipnis is sidelined with a shoulder injury, which could lead the team’s manager, Terry Francona, to make a big move: switching third basemen Jose Ramirez to second base and possibly putting rookie Yandy Diaz at third. Diaz, 25, hit 0.325 at Triple-A Columbus last season, and although it’s said that his defense needs some tweaking, the team is reportedly confident in his skills. Rookie outfielder Bradley Simmer is expected to make an impact this year as well, as the tall athlete may be seen scoring some runs for the Tribe in 2017.
Of course, the Cleveland Indians will have a lot of competition to get through if they want to get back to the dance in 2017. Plenty of teams will be setting their sights on making it to the World Series this fall, and the team’s old nemesis, the Chicago Cubs, are one of them. The Cubs, who beat the Indians in last year’s series, are hoping to repeat their glory by winning not one, but two titles for their fans after the heartbreaking 108-year drought the team faced with no championships to show.
Whether the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, are one of the many other teams in the MLB head to the 2017 World Series, this season could shape up to be one of the best.
As opening day has fans of every major league team excited, Cleveland Indians fans feel a special sense of excitement knowing that their team came so close last year, and are ready to return to the World Series again this year. Hot off the heels of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship, Cleveland is a city with high expectations once again.
Which team are you rooting for? Do you think the Cleveland Indians will return to the World Series this year?
[Featured Image by Rob Tringali/Getty Images]