Despite Lacking Star Power, The Cleveland Indians Are For Real

The Major League Baseball postseason is nearing its end as the World Series begins in a few days. For the Cleveland Indians, their jaunt to the top of the baseball mountain has been a long time coming.

With the Indians making their first trip to the World Series since 1997, Cleveland and all of northeast Ohio is bursting into pandemonium. The Tribe's faithful feel confident in winning a championship for the first time since Dewey did not defeat Truman.

Thanks to LeBron James putting the curse of Cleveland sports teams (non-Browns division) in the camel clutch, there is an enraptured feeling of what could happen next. To no surprise, Cleveland fans are rejoicing even though they’ve yet to raise the pennant in Progressive Field. And that’s just fine.

Although they aren’t accustomed to playing in October, it should become a norm for them as they are in line to become the next super power in baseball.

The return to the apex of baseball is worth celebrating. For those who haven’t been paying attention, the Indians have risen as one of the best teams in the Majors. Dating back to 2013, when Terry Francona was named manager, Cleveland has never won less than 81 games.

This year, the Indians won 94 games- second most in the American League. In the four years before Tito, the team never won more than 80, including a low win total of 65 in 2009.

Just like when he was the manager of the Boston Red Sox, Francona executed a blueprint of success from the start. While it wasn’t always great, he was stubborn about the constant improvement of a young ball club through some trials by fire in the big leagues.

Over the years, the Indians have evolved into something special. They lack star power, but that hasn't stopped them from becoming arguably the best team in baseball.


When looking at the roster, there are All-Star caliber players such as ace and former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, the steady second baseman Jason Kipnis, and the electric shortstop Francisco Lindor. But a franchise changing player similar to Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, or Paul Goldschmidt is absent.

So, how are they doing it?

On offense, they are in the top ten in the majors in RBIs, stolen base success rate, batting average, runs scored, doubles, and on-base percentage. They're in the middle of the pack when it comes to home runs and triples, but the Indians approach isn’t based onpower.

The defense isn’t reminiscent of the days where Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel and Jose Vizcaino manned the middle, but they are solid. Cleveland is an adequate fielding team. Yet with arguably the best shortstop in baseball, it makes everyone else’s job in the infield easier.

The Indians' defense is great at turning grounders into outs, which has become their calling card. While they collectively rank in the middle of the pack in assists, total chances, and putouts, not being at the very top of those categories hasn't stopped them thus far.

To no surprise, the Indians have a strong stable of pitchers. Various pundits believe that they ride Kluber too much, but the supporting cast behind him is solid. They rank in the top ten in ERA further proves that the pitching crew is more than Kluber, and all-everything reliever Andrew Miller.

Speaking of Miller, the ALCS MVP, acquiring him was the most underrated in-season trade in the past few years. For the 4th time in history, a reliever won the ALCS MVP. He’s morphed from being called a bust as a starting pitcher into becoming a cheat code on the mound in relief. In the ALCS, he pitched 7.2 innings and posted an insane 14 strikeouts with only allowing three hits.

The average age for the Indians roster is 28.1. Though they are the seventh-oldest team in baseball, unlike most teams, they have a perfect blend of experience and youth.

Players such as Kipnis, Lindor, Kluber, Tyler Naquin, Jose Ramirez, and Trevor Bauer are under 30 years old, and they will continue to improve. Elder statesmen such Miller, Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli are 30 and older, but they are still playing at a high level. Even the 36-year-old Coco Crisp has sipped from the fountan of youth after coming along from Oakland.

The Indians' recent triumph isn’t a laughing matter. But, hey, it’s Cleveland, aren’t people supposed to expect them to flop? This is a franchise that hasn’t won a title since 1948, and until the Cavs brought a championship to Cuyahoga County, they were the laughingstock of professional sports cities.

Well, my friend, those days are coming to an end. To some, they won’t be taken serious until they win the World Series. Despite winning the ALCS, many “experts” will continue to downplay their success, because, you know, it’s Cleveland. Even if they win or lose the World Series, there is no question that the Indians have a bright future.

Over the past seven years, the first team that clinched the league championship series has actually lost the World Series. Cleveland will look to reverse history with bringing the Commissioner's Trophy to a place where championships aren’t the standard.

As the Indians look to re-write their history with this talented crew, they are beginning to figure it all out. That’s pretty scary for a team that just four games away from winning it all. After a heavy dose of premature praise, this year’s Indians turned hyperbole into reality, and it'll remain that way for quite some time.

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