We are now moving on to the bread and butter of the Cleveland Indians in 2015, pitching. Their staff is very top-heavy with talent led by American League CY Young Award Winner Corey Kluber. They also have a pitcher that has top-end talent in Carlos Carrasco. The rotation is rounded out with a few talented youngsters that have yet to bloom in Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. The only veteran on the staff was Gavin Floyd, but he is going to be lost for the year due to arm surgery. That leaves the 5
spot open for another young starter, T.J. House. The bullpen is strong, led by closer Cody Allen and setup man, Bryan Shaw. Let's take a look at their projections for 2015.
The CY Young winner came out of nowhere in 2014 to put up 269 strikeouts, 18-wins, and an ERA of 2.44. Fantasy experts were able to see this coming if they checked into his metrics coming into the season. That is why we are so high on Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar this year. He is a top-tier #1 starting anchor in fantasy. Expect more of the same in 2015.
Carrasco is another sleeper in a talented Tribe rotation. Down the stretch in 2014, he pitched like an ace. He added a slider to his pitch repertoire. The only thing that will hold him back in 2015 is the defense behind him and a possible innings limit.
A slow start to 2014 saw Salazar banished to the minors. He was able to get his velocity back up to the mid-90's, which enabled his other pitches to be more effective. He has a nasty slider, and he has control. He has the highest potential out of anyone on this staff, and that's saying something. Stay tuned for our in-depth analysis on Salazar later this week.
Grab him late in drafts as a #5 starter with the upside of a #2 starter. Big time value in 2015.
The UCLA Bruin, who does things his own way, has found a spot in the Indian's rotation this year. Bauer has had his ups-and-downs throughout his career so far, but he has worked hard to perfect his craft. The results are already showing in 2015 by not allowing a walk so far in Spring Training. His control was one of his biggest issues. If he keeps progressing, Bauer is a low-risk, high-upside pick in fantasy. Cleveland will like his crazy pregame routines as well!
With Gavin Floyd lost for the season, House has his chance to stick in the rotation as the number 5 starter. In 18 starts for Cleveland last year, he faired very well with a 3.35 ERA to go along with a 5-3 record. The lefty is crafty and is suitable for that spot in the rotation. We don't have him on the fantasy radar unless you are in 14-Team+ leagues.
- Cody emerged as a #1 fantasy closer in 2014. The 6'1" right-hander successfully converted 24 of 28 save chances last year. He also struck out 91 batters in only 69 innings. He has excellent ERA and WHIP ratios and could see north of 40-chances in 2015.
- The man before the man. Shaw will be pitching the 8th inning for Allen to preserve the game. In HOLD leagues, Shaw will be a worthwhile add. If he enters the game, and "holds" the lead before turning it over to Allen in the 9th, he will earn a hold. More advanced leagues have this as a stat. His other numbers are pretty good as well.