With pitchers and catchers set to report on Monday, the MLB season is right around the corner. Although it seems like the Cleveland Indians’ 2016 season ended not that long ago, they have high hopes for 2017, hopes that they hope can bring Cleveland it’s second championship in as many years (possibly third if the Cavs win back-to-back titles). With the upcoming season right around the corner, ESPN’s David Shoenfield released his All-Star roster projections, a list that includes four Indians: shortstop Francisco Lindor, starting pitcher Corey Kluber, and relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
Lindor has been a fan-favorite ever since being called-up to the big leagues during the 2015 season. Last year, he made people realize that his success during his first season in the bigs wasn’t a fluke. In 2016, Lindor had a .301/.358/.435 slash line with 30 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs, 78 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases in 604 at-bats during 158 regular season games. During his first trip to the playoffs, the 21-year-old had a .310/.355/.466 slash line with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, and one stolen base in 58 at-bats. Even on MLB’s biggest stage, nothing frightened Lindor. Now, with his first Gold Glove and postseason under his belt, will he be able to continue that momentum into 2017? ESPN thinks so.
The man who shows no emotion, Kluber will once again be Cleveland’s ace, leading a good rotation this season yet again. Whether it’s his ability to stay healthy, win games, or strike opposing players out, the right-hander has consistently been atop the Indians’ rotation for the last few years. He will no doubt be an All Star if he continues to lead one of the league’s best rotations this season.
Miller was one of the biggest reasons why the Indians were just one win away from a championship in 2016. After being acquired close to the trade deadline in 2016, he brought a unique skill set to the bullpen, one that many in Cleveland haven’t seen before. While he was a lefty who could shut down (and strikeout), manager Terry Francona knew exactly how to use him as well amd can use his experience to try and keep Miller as fresh as possibly throughout the 2017 season. Accepting his invite to the World Baseball Classic in March, how will that affect Miller’s arm and fatigue throughout the season?
Allen, who seems to be underrated at times throughout his first five seasons with the Indians. With he and Miller being the anchor of the bullpen this season, he is one of the main reasons why the Indians’ bullpen is so highly regarded. Keep in mind, he did even better with Miller by his side in 2016, how good can he (and will he get) with a full season alongside the lefty?
Thesee are just projections. Plenty of players can come out of no where and become All-Stars that no one predicted prior the season. The list just gives us a good idea of what the 2017 All-Star rosters could look like, coupled with the understanding that the Indians should be really, really good in 2017.