The Cleveland Indians have yet again topped the AL Central’s 2019 PECOTA projections, published by Baseball Prospectus.
The PECOTA predictions are out and here’s the forecasted projections for the 2019 Cleveland Indians.
1. The projections have the Tribe cruising to the AL Central crown with 96 games. It’s a bold projection considering fans are looking at the roster on paper, questioning the Indians’ decision to scale back payroll this offseason.
The starting outfield leaves a lot to be desired and the bullpen has one sure thing in closer Brad Hand.
2. While some pundits think the Minnesota Twins shouldn’t be written off, PECOTA projects just 81 wins for the club.
For 2018, PECOTA also projected 81 wins for the Twins. They ended up winning 78.
3. In 2017, the Tribe was projected to win 92 games. The living, breathing humans in uniform went on to win 102 ball games.
4. Long story short: PECOTA gets a lot right, like the Indians running away with the division, but it’s far from a perfect science.
5. A familiar theme from last season is just how weak the AL Central is projected to be. Besides the team, every other club is projected to finish below .500.
6. Francisco Lindor is expected to lead the Indians by posting a 5.6 WAR. This would actually be down from the 7.9 WAR Lindor posted during the 2017 season. Lindor posted 5.5 and 5.9 WAR totals, respectively, in 2016 and 2017.
In 2018, Lindor hit .277 with 38 homers. Those are A-Rod numbers before A-Rod’s name became associated with PED use.
7. Jose Ramirez is expected to post a 4.9 WAR. The belief is that Lindor and Ramirez are going to have to carry the Indians’ offense and the projections confirm this prognostication.
9. For positional players, there aren’t a ton of surprises when it comes to WAR projections. So many players, especially in the outfield, are unproven or coming off injury.
With that said, Jake Bauers, who is expected to spend time at first base while also playing some outfield, is expected to post a 0.3 WAR.
Bauers was a top 100 prospects at this time a year ago, but then got promoted to the big leagues and hit just .201 with Tampa. In his minor league career, he carries a .276 average (.775 OPS). The potential is still there for him to surprise.
10. The Yankees , Indians and Astros are projected to be division winners. New York (810) and Houston (805) are projected to score over 800 runs.
The defending World Series champs is actually predicted to score fewer runs than the Indians, what it’s worth (769).
11. With the Tribe’s rotation expected to carry this team, it’s refreshing to see the Indians projected to only give up 629 runs, while the Yankees (660) and Red Sox (686) give up a lot more. Houston is predicted to allow the fewest runs, though, giving up just 627.