Why the 2017 Cleveland Indians Could Be Even Better

One 17-minute rain delay slowed all the momentum the Cleveland Indians had built after erasing a 3 run deficit in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Those 17 minutes changed the entire complexion of the game. So can the Cleveland Indians improve over their impressive postseason run from last year? I think so. Let me explain.

The Cleveland Indians were a few plays away from winning the World Series last season, so it seems difficult to see them improve a lot. The loss of Mike Napoli could be a problem, but with the offseason moves they have made, that seems like a wash to me.

The Indians have had a phenomenal winter, signing DH Edwin Encarnacion to a 3-year $60 million deal, to replace the power lost by losing Napoli. The Indians pretty much stole Encarnacion away from the other teams in the league, and they managed to do it while playing in a “small” market.

Another great move Cleveland made was to sign reliever Boone Logan. Logan is not Aroldis Chapman, but he does what his job is extremely well. He was brought in to get left-handed batters out, and that is his specialty. Getting him for less than what the Mariners paid for Marc Rzepczynski is what makes this move great for the Tribe.

While the lineup doesn’t change a lot, with the exception of Encarnacion, the Indians will improve because of the experience gained during the World Series run. They swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and almost swept the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. Heck, they were up 3 games to 1 in the World Series before the Cubs mounted a furious comeback.

The Indians know how to win after the regular season now. Last season, they didn’t have that experience, so when they found themselves in the World Series, I was pleasantly surprised. The Indians seemed to come alive during the postseason, and it showed.

Cleveland has last season’s experience behind them, and that will propel them to an even better season than last. Francisco Lindor is already cementing himself as the face of the franchise, and that will only become more apparent this season.

After winning a Gold Glove and being voted an All-Star in his first full season with the Tribe, Lindor proved that his leadership skills are that of a 5-year vet. With him leading the way for the Indians in 2017, the Tribe are in good shape.

Along with Lindor, Tyler Naquin looks to move on from his rough postseason, and get back to the way he played during the regular season. He finished 3rd in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and also had a walk-off inside-the-park home run in August.

Jose Ramirez also returns next season, and that is a big boost for the Indians. He led the team with a batting average of .312 during the season, and proved himself to be an everyday starting 3rd baseman.

What can really send the Indians over the top, would be the long-awaited return of Michael Brantley. A lot of people think the Indians’ season hangs on weather or not Brantley can return in 2017, but I don’t think so. The Indians’ are already stacked with talent both in the lineup and the rotation. If Brantley plays, it will be an embarrassment of riches for Cleveland.

If the bullpen plays like they did last year, and Encarnacion stays hot, the Tribe should be a favorite to win the AL, and a solid pick to win the World Series.

Posted in MLB

Why Andrew Miller is the Best Reliever in Baseball

I think Andrew Miller is the best relief pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). He started his career, playing for the Detroit Tigers, which later lead to a contract with the New York Yankees. The breakout really occurred when Miller was traded to the Cleveland Indians during the 2016 baseball season because he helped take his team to the World Series.

Andrew Miller was born in Gainesville, Florida. He was a pitcher in high school and during his college years at North Carolina University he was a starter.

His Amateur Career highlights are listed below:

* 2004- 2005

He became the starting pitcher during his freshman year. In 2005, he was selected as the ACC Pitcher of the Year with 16 starts, 96 innings, 2.98 ERA, and 104 strikeouts. He also earned a second team ACC honor that same year.

* 2006

He won many awards in 2006 including College Player of the Year, and there were many other awards that he received. He had a great college year.

Professional Years

He started with Major League Baseball in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers. He went on to start pitching with the Florida Marlins in 2007. While playing for the Marlins had to stop playing, because of an injury. He finished the season with 7 innings. In 2010, he was assigned to a Triple A- Minor League until 2011.

In 2011, the Florida Marlins traded him to the Boston Red Sox. Miller’s 2012 totals were 3.35 ERA, 1.9 Whip, 9.0 innings, and k/9 (11.38) career. He was named the Red Sox Fireman of the Year.

In 2013, he suffered a foot injury, where he missed time towards the end of the season.

In 2014, he had a great year where his totals were 2.34 ERA, 13 walks, 1.05 WHIP and 69 strikeouts. Also, the Boston Red Sox traded him to the Baltimore Orioles where his totals were 1.35 ERA and 103 strikeouts, but at the end of the year, he would be signing with another MLB team.

On December 5, 2014, Andrew Miller made an agreement with the New York Yankees.

In 2015, he won the American League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award, where he finished with 2.04 ERA, 100 Strikeouts, 61 innings, and 36 saves. He was also honored at the Thurman Munson Awards.

The New York Yankees traded Miller to the Cleveland Indians in 2016. With Cleveland his totals only improved to a 1.55 ERA over 29 innings, allowing two walks, and striking out 46. He became the first person in the MLB to record 120 or more strikeouts. He played an awesome game in the American League Championship vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. In game 5, he Miller completed 2 2/3 innings as the Indians won the ALCS. In game 3 of the World Series he helped contribute to the 1-0 win. In game 4, he struck out two players bringing the playoff total to 29. His pitching skills were phenomenal!

The reason why Andrew Miller is considered the best relief pitcher in baseball, is because he helped take the Cleveland Indians to the World Series, and he’s a fantastic pitcher.

Posted in MLB