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6 Indians

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CONTENDERS

SCOUT'S TAKE

KEY QUESTION

After they didn't sign anyone despite glaring holes in the outfield and bullpen, you have to ask: If things go bad, will they start selling off pieces like Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber? The bullpen will be the biggest issue. Brad Hand is a legit closer but Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are big holes to fill.

UNDERRATED

Shane Bieber is up to 97 in spring training and he doesn't walk anybody. He has unbelievable command of four pitches. His breaking ball is getting better. This rotation is stacked: It's a hell of a thing when this guy is your No. 5.

GETS MOST OUT OF TALENT

José Ramírez was turned away from workouts in the Dominican Republic because of his size (5'9") when he was 17. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He can play anywhere, he'll bunt and he'll hit a three-run homer. An MVP candidate.

LAST LICKS

Triston McKenzie will be the ultimate wild card coming out of the bullpen. He could be used the way the Rays used David Price during their World Series run.... Terry Francona is the model manager—there's no one better at combining the old school and new school.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

THE INDIANS have quietly built a monster in the AL Central, averaging 96 wins since 2016 in earning three division titles and a pennant. Owner Larry Dolan bumped the payroll to help ensure continued success, from $118 million in '16 to $150 million in each of the last two years. His reward? Attendance at Progressive Field fell by 6% last year, despite a lineup with such charismatic stars as Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez and a devastating starting rotation that has the Indians as contenders again. Some brutal weather in Cleveland early last season hurt, as did the lack of a challenger in the AL Central to make games down the stretch more interesting to fans looking for reasons to tune in. Whatever the reasons, Dolan and the Indians have not been rewarded for their supremacy and their spending. The key for the Indians this year? Their fans, who need to show up in support of what is an entertaining, successful team.

OVER UNDER

90.5

With top-shelf starting pitching, the Indians remain a playoff contender, but their ceiling is lower after a winter in which they failed to fill gaps in the bullpen and outfield.

LINEUP

SS Francisco Lindor

.277/38 HR/25 SB

2B Jason Kipnis

.230/18 HR/75 RBI

3B José Ramírez

.270/39 HR/34 SB

DH Carlos Santana

.229/24 HR/.414 SLG

1B Jake Bauers

.201/11 HR/.384 SLG

RF Tyler Naquin

.264/3 HR/.356 SLG

CF Leonys Martín

.255/11 HR/.425 SLG

C Roberto Pérez

.168/2 HR/.263 SLG

LF Greg Allen

.257/2 HR/21 SB

BENCH

IF Max Moroff

.186/.284/.356 SLG

OF Bradley Zimmer

.226/2 HR/.330 SLG

FANTASY BREAKOUT

JAKE BAUERS doesn't have massive power, but the 23-year-old will drive in tons of runs in this lineup.

ROTATION

RH Corey Kluber

20 W/2.89 ERA/0.99 WHP

RH Carlos Carrasco

17 W/3.38 ERA/1.13 WHP

RH Trevor Bauer

12 W/2.21 ERA/1.09 WHP

RH Mike Clevinger

13 W/3.02 ERA/1.16 WHP

BULLPEN

CL Brad Hand

32 SV/2.75 ERA/13.3 K9

RH Adam Cimber

3.42 ERA/1.24 WHP/7.6 K9

LH Oliver Pérez

1.39 ERA/0.74 WHP/12.0 K9

MANAGER

Terry Francona