Eleven bold predictions for the Cleveland Indians as the second half of the MLB season kicks off Friday.
With 52 wins and a 6.5 game lead in the AL Central, the Indians are sitting atop not just the division, but perhaps all of the American League. The team boast a legitimate MVP and Cy Young candidate, a potential Rookie of the Year, and thus far the likely Manager of the Year. The Indians are poised to continue Cleveland’s title run. What does the second half have in store? We have a few guesses.
1. Both Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana will hill hit 32+ home runs. Santana already has 20 and Napoli 18. It can happen, folks, and it would be a first for this team since the 90’s where there were multiple true power hitters.
2. Danny Salazar ends the year leading the AL in ERA, WAR, BAA, and wins the Cy Young. The first half was not a fluke. He’s put together all of the pieces that made his potential so tantalizing and would only be held back by an innings limit.
3. Francisco Lindor does NOT win the MVP, but a Gold Glove instead. He might get some MVP votes as the best position player on the AL Central title team, but his glove is the best at the position.
4. As stated above, the Tribe wins the Central. I predicted they would get a Wild Card spot, making me very happy to be wrong.
5. Josh Tomlin gets hurt, again. Something just feels like it’s a matter of time until his elbow and shoulder give him issues. I certainly hope not, but the spike in his already high home run rates might be a sign of trouble.
6. The Indians make a trade and fans are disappointed. Part of that is because few fans will think the move will be enough, be it a stop gap catcher or an above average reliever. Since it isn’t a major bat, people will be screaming.
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7. Yandy Diaz is the first major call up after the break to take over for Juan Uribe. We all love what he has done for the clubhouse, but Uribe has been disappointing in the field. He’ll help out a bench in the last month of the year as Diaz gets a shot to prove he can handle the hot corner.
8. Tyler Naquin wins AL Rookie of the Year. Hyun Soo Kim might move ahead if he continues to make an impact and Baltimore pulls ahead in the AL East. Tim Anderson of the White Sox has been good, but they won’t make any noise by October. Maybe Nomar Mazara is the next best or possibly the leader. It will be a wild race to be sure, but I like Naquin, probably because he plays for the Indians.
9. Francisco Lindor will get 200 hits…and Mike Napoli will strike out 200 times. Both are on pace or near to it for their respective category.
10. Kluber, Salazar, and Trevor Bauer will each strikeout 200 hitters on the year. Kluber and Salazar are already over 100 and Bauer is just shy.
11. Michael Brantley returns healthy…in September. This team is playing well and would only hurt their chances to rush their All-Star leftfielder back too soon like they did in May.
12. The Indians win the….nope. Not going to say it. Won’t do the equivalent of drinking Jobu’s rum. Can’t do that to this team.