Cleveland Indians: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Corey Kluber
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Corey Kluber /
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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images /

What went right, what went wrong, and what are the top priorities for the Cleveland Indians this offseason?

After losing the 2016 World Series in the 10th inning of Game 7, the Cleveland Indians came back strong with a 102-win season. It was the second-most wins they’ve ever had in a season, and it included a new American League record 22 consecutive wins. In many ways, it was a very successful season.

For a Cleveland franchise that hasn’t won the World Series since 1948, the season ended in disappointment. They won the first two games of the ALDS against the Yankees but lost the next two games in New York before losing Game 5 back home in Cleveland. The main culprit of the series loss was the offense. As a team, they hit .171/.263/.287 in the five-game series.

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Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. is running his way to an MLB record
Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. is running his way to an MLB record /

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  • Their offense wasn’t a problem during the season. Cleveland finished third in baseball with a 107 wRC+, meaning they were seven percent above average after adjusting for league and ballpark effects. Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor should both get votes in the AL MVP race and Carlos Santana, and Edwin Encarnacion provided on-base ability and power.

    Along with their potent offense, Cleveland had baseball’s best pitching staff based on Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement (WAR). They led baseball with a 3.30 ERA and 3.33 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). They also set a new MLB record with 1614 strikeouts. Corey Kluber is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award, and Carlos Carrasco should also finish among the top five.

    The core of the team will be back next year, but some talented players are free agents, including Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, and Bryan Shaw. They may not win 102 games again, but they’re the favorites to win the AL Central for a third straight year.

    Let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong, and the team’s top offseason priorities.