Division Predictions:

Justin Lada

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
New YorkMinnesotaHoustonWashingtonCincinnatiLos Angeles
Tampa Bay (WC1)Cleveland (WC2)OaklandAtlantaSt Louis (WC1)Arizona (WC2)
TorontoChicagoTexasNew YorkMilwaukeeSan Diego
BostonKansas CityLos AngelesPhiladelphiaChicagoColorado
BaltimoreDetroitSeattleMiamiPittsbughSan Francisco

John Fanta

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
New YorkClevelandOaklandAtlantaMilwaukeeLos Angeles
Tampa Bay (WC1)Minnesota (WC2)Los AngelesWashington (WC1)Cincinnati (WC2)San Diego
TorontoChicagoHoustonPhiladelphiaSt. LouisColorado
BostonKansas CityTexasNew YorkChicagoArizona
BaltimoreDetroitSeattleMiamiPittsburghSan Francisco

Joe Coblitz

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
New YorkChicagoOaklandAtlantaMilwakeeLos Angeles
Tampa Bay (WC2)Cleveland (WC1)Los AngelesWashingtonCincinnatiArizona
BostonMinnesotaHoustonNew YorkChicagoColorado
TorontoDetroitTexasMiamiaSt. LouisSan Diego
BaltimoreKansas CitySeattlePhiladelphiaPittsburghSan Francisco

Willie Hood

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
TampaMinnesotaOaklandAtlantaSt. LouisLos Angeles
New York (WC1)ClevelandHouston (WC2)Washington (WC2)Cincinnati (WC1)San Diego
TorontoChicagoLos AngelesPhiladelphiaMilwaukeeArizona
BostonKansas CityTexasNew YorkChicagoColorado
BaltimoreDetroitSeattleMiamiPittsburghSan Francisco

Arthur Kinney

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
New YorkMinnesotaHoustonWashingtonMilwaukeeLos Angeles
Tampa BayCleveland (WC1)Oakland (WC2)Atlanta (WC2)Cincinnati (WC1)San Diego
BostonChicagoLos AngelesPhiladelphiaSt. LouisColorado
TorontoKansas CityTexasNew YorkChicagoArizona
BaltimoreDetroitSeattleMiamiPittsburghSan Francisco

Tyler Stotsky

AL EastAL CentralAL WestNL EastNL CentralNL West
New YorkClevelandHoustonWashingtonCincinnatiLos Angeles
Tampa Bay (WC2)Minnesota (WC1)OaklandAtlanta (WC2)St. Louis (WC1)Arizona
BostonChicagoLos AngelesPhiladelphiaChicagoSan Diego
TorontoKansas CityTexasNew YorkMilwaukeeColorado
BaltimoreChicagoSeattleMiamiPittsburghSan Francisco


AL MVPAL Cy YoungAL Rookie of the YearNL MVPNL Cy YoungNL Rookie of the Year
Justin LadaJose RamirezGerritt ColeLuis RobertJuan SotoWalker BuehlerDylan Carlson
John FantaMatt ChapmanShane BieberLuis RobertChristian YelichWalker BuehlerDylan Carlson
Joe CoblitzMike TroutShane BieberLuis RobertPete AlonsoStephen StrasburgCarter Kieboom
Willie HoodMatt ChapmanGerritt ColeLuis RobertRonald AcunaWalker BuehlerDylan Carlson
Arthur KinneyJose RamirezGerritt ColeLuis RobertChristian YelichMax ScherzerCarter Kieboom
Tyler StotskyFrancisco LindorShane BieberLuis RobertRonald AcunaMax ScherzerShogo Akiyama

World Series predictions

Justin LadaLos Angeles (NL) over New York (AL)
John FantaOakland over Atlanta
Joe CoblitzNew York over Atlanta
Willie HoodLos Angeles over Tampa Bay
Arthur KinneyCleveland over Los Angeles
Tyler StotskyLos Angeles (NL) over New York (AL)

Cleveland predictions

Cleveland’s recordX-FactorMost Concerning Player/AreaWill Lindor get traded?
Justin Lada36-24James Karinchak/SpeedBrad Hand/BullpenNo
John Fanta35-25Tyler NaquinOliver Perez/Adam CimberNo
Joe Coblitz37-23Bobby BradleyAdam PlutkoYes
Willie Hood32-28Bullpen/James KarinchakBullpen/Brad HandNo
Arthur Kinney39-21Jose RamirezCarlos CarrascoNo
Tyler Stotsky38-22Cesar HernandezBrad HandNo

Justin Lada:

James Karinchak can tie the entire bullpen together if he earns a role in high leverage situations. His command can vary day-to-day and it would be an enormous boost to this bullpen if he’s consistently good and can earn those opportunities, because…

Brad Hand has had a shaky Summer Camp, following a shaky second half of 2019. In his final Summer Camp tuneup, he got up to 93 but he threw nearly as many balls as strikes. He didn’t get many swings and misses on the slider, which he needs. If Brad Hand struggles again, in a 60 game format, Cleveland could see their playoff hopes dashed very fast by a shaky bullpen. Not a lot of room this year to blow 4-5 saves.

Cleveland’s speed should be given attention. Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor all run well at the top of the order. Oscar Mercado runs well and Bradley Zimmer is also on the initial 30 man roster. Speed could really help give another element to what is a sneaky deep lineup.

I still think the Tribe will be playing too well to trade Lindor and they know that his value for this short season won’t be much better at this point compared to later this winter, so he gets to play one more shortened season in a Cleveland uniform.

John Fanta:

It seems to be forgotten that Naquin was putting up his best offensive numbers of his career last season before going down with the knee injury last August. The Tribe could use his bat as a spark in the back half of the order, and we know the range he covers in the outfield. 

The player(s) I am most concerned about are Oliver Perez and Adam Cimber.

Do they have what it takes to be consistently relied upon for three outs? Because they’ve been known as matchup arms, it’s concerning to think they can cover full innings. The bullpen is this team’s biggest question mark, and these two figure to be key in being part of the answer as to how things pan out. 

Will the Indians trade Lindor during 2020? No.

By not making a move at this past year’s winter meetings, that in my mind was a sign that the Indians would keep Lindor for the duration of the season, because I couldn’t see the Tribe being out of the picture at the trade deadline. This lineup is improved and the rotation is rock solid. This team will contend again for the postseason, and you’re not trading Lindor in the midst of that, especially in a shortened format. 

Joe Coblitz:

It was easy to forget about the next generation heading into this season, but being able to pick the best spots for Bradley could make him a devastating PH/DH/1B.

It looks like all teams will be forced to go extremely deep in the pitching staff early on and for the Indians, that likely means giving the pitcher who has allowed the most HR/9 in MLB history more innings.

Willie Hood:

The Indians ability to piece together an effective bullpen will be the X-factor to their season. Settling pen roles and identifying the best arms for the moment will be of significant importance with a smaller bargain for error in this abbreviated season. James Karinchak’s ability to throw strikes will immediately impact the Tribe and should be a preview of things to come. 

One player whose performance and health is a concern is Brad Hand. The Tribe closer has continued to display diminished velocity. It could be he is still rounding into form. Mike Clevinger is another player whose performance and health will be of monumental importance to the club’s success. The righty has displayed diminished velocity from a season ago and has had concerns with the knee injury from earlier this spring. Hopefully, it is just a bump in the road to recovery.

Trading Francisco Lindor will be challenging. Can they win now and make a deal?

Let’s say it’s complicated. Dealing “Frankie” and winning too will be problematic at best. Getting value now will be difficult with trade/roster restrictions in place. Keeping Lindor into the offseason when numerous teams are expected to reduce payroll could lead to more difficulty getting value. It further complicates things, but if the Tribe is set on dealing him or moving salary there are a number of options they could pursue. For example: adding another player to the deal to exact maximum value or they could simply trade other pieces. At this point, Lindor may remain with the club throughout the remainder of his contract.

Arthur Kinney:

If Jose Ramirez strings together a good full season and that makes the difference, especially in the postseaso.

Concerned about Carlos Carrasco mostly due to health issues.

Lindor won’t get traded with the team is playing well enough to ride out the season without trading Frankie Truffle.

Tyler Stotsky:

Hernandez has the ability to give the Indians a really good top four in the lineup, all being switch hitters. Having four switch hitters like Hernandez, Lindor, Ramirez and C. Santana at the top of your lineup can really give Cleveland an advantage on top of the rest of the lineup from 5-9.

I would want to hope that the 2019 version of Brad Hand doesn’t repeat this season. The Brad Hand of old can put Cleveland’s bullpen back in the top echelon of MLB with James Karinchak, Nick Wittgren, Cam Hill and crew giving the ability to follow the powerful rotation. 

I don’t see the Indians trading Lindor before the end of the 2020 season. Considering the Mookie Betts extension with LA and other big name contracts, his price tag will be big bucks as we know. With the shortened season and sprint like attitude of 60 games, I don’t think he goes anywhere this season.

Photo: Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports; Graphics: Justin Lada/IBI

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