MLB Network’s MLB Tonight previewed the 2014 Cleveland Indians in their “30 Clubs in 30 Days” piece. Have a look to see what they said:
Baseball Prospectus has the Indians at 79-83, good for 2nd place in the AL Central.
The talking heads on the show, however, saw it different:
Al Leiter: 3rd place in the AL Central – behind the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, saying, “I’m not sure about the rotation…offensively, they have enough.”
Bill Ripken: 2nd place in the AL Central – “What I like about Cleveland is that they played down the stretch – well. When they all talked about how they beat up on bad teams – so what. That’s what good teams should do.”
Dan Pleasac: #RollTribe – “If Asdrubal Cabrera bounces back and if Michael Bourn bounces back, this team is going to score some runs…They’re a better team than I thought, after visiting this camp. They’re gonna cause some problems. They’re definitely in the mix for one of the two wild cards.”
It’s an interesting mix of expectations. The PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus weren’t all that welcoming to fans, who didn’t show up to a lot of games with a 92-win team in 2013. Being competitive again may be enough to draw more fans to Progressive Field, but there are still those who anticipate continued success going forward – whether it is due to Terry Francona‘s leadership or improvements in production from the veteran core, seems to be the argument.
With some “expert” predictions laid out, where do you see the Tribe finishing the 2014 season…besides in Cleveland?
While the Royals did open some eyes, they did lose Ervin Santana and his 200-plus innings – even if no one else in the league wants to sign him via free agency.