2018 Cleveland Indians Depth Chart
Much of the roster construction in Cleveland is centered around moves and counter moves. The team has been tested with bounce back from letting the contract of Carlos Santana slip through their grips. The Indians strive for more than replacement pieces and have been a squad that works well with the budget they are handed. Three of their starting pitchers combine for only 3% of the team’s payroll, which equates to production on the cheap. Amassing talents through drafts and waiver claims have helped the team foster players through their system at low costs, often leading to high reward. Looking beyond the payroll, the roster construction helps to build a sound plate presence and feature the depth needed at utility positions.
|Catcher||Yan Gomes||Roberto Perez|
|1st Base||Yonder Alonso|
|2nd Base||Jason Kipnis||Erik Gonzalez||Adam Rosales|
|3rd Base||Jose Ramirez||Josh Donaldson|
|Left Field||Michael Brantley||Brandon Barnes|
|Center Field||Rajai Davis||Greg Allen|
|Right Field||Brandon Guyer||Melky Cabrera|
|Designated Hitter||Edwin Encarnacion||Yandy Diaz|
The pitching staff has been the centerpiece of the organization over the past few seasons. This roster already bolsters 4 double-digit winners in the starting pitching rotation. This contribution is headed by Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Kluber is the long-distance talent, claiming 18 wins on the season and 23 quality starts. His ERA trends below 3.00 and balancing that with a strong offensive attack is something that keeps the team from having to tread water. Carrasco has won 16 of his contests with 20 quality starts to boot. When compared to other organizations, this team is found near the top of the strikeout discussion. Their relievers top the strikeouts per 9-inning discussion and favor low earned run averages. Beyond the strong starting rotation, the relief team is slotted into key roles. Brad Hand and Andrew Miller are both converted relievers but excelling their game to shorter stints has favored their overall production. Cody Allen continues to be lights-out in the closer role, claiming multiple All-Star appearances. Some injury problems have removed strong arms, but the depth of the organization speaks to their ability to rebound quickly.
Despite losing Carlos Santana in the off-season, this infield remains crowded with talent. This excess comes at the first base and designated hitter position with the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, and Erik Gonzalez to choose from. Encarnacion has had an off year. His plate production has been limited in large part to injury, hosting a lower batting average and limited statistical standouts. Alonso is the fill-in veteran talent that has really stepped his game up. Erik Gonzalez is the unexperienced talent that has taken the organization by storm. A favorable batting average and on base percentage has helped him claim more time within the starting lineup. Aside from this fluctuating position, the rest of the infield is firmly planted. Jason Kipnis occupies second base, Francisco Lindor has transformed into the short stop the team desperately needed, and Jose Ramirez continues to produce on a low-end contract. The majority of the power comes from the bats of Lindor and Ramirez. Lindor has 34 home runs on the season, while Ramirez favors the team lead at 37. There is no shortage of RBI production within the infield as the top 4 on the team all reside within the infield.
While the offensive production is limited in the outfield, the defensive prowess becomes top notch. Rajai Davis and Greg Allen have proven to be strong defenders. Davis is the veteran talent and has proven range at any corner of the outfield. Allen is the rookie talent that becomes much more effective in defensive assistance. Michael Brantley is the major bat residing in the outfield. His batting average of .306 is the most surprising statistic for this 9-year talent. His RBI and home run production is also on pace for a career season. The team is deep with serviceable players in this tier. They can create defensive pairings that favor run stoppage and came get their favorable bats in the lineup if looking for a plate advantage.
The infield represents the most consistent construction. Since most of this first tier is sprinkled with younger talents, there is often little chance for variation. The outfield represents a tier where fluctuations will occur. The batting order remains relatively consistent, but this order changes on a production basis. For example, Lindor is often slotted into the leadoff position, but his offensive production is leading the team, favoring a drop to the 3 or 4-slot. The Indians often favor a speedy talent at the leadoff position and at the bottom of the order, which boasts for appearances from Rajai Davis and Greg Allen.