Cleveland Indians 2018 Season Preview

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Bryan Shaw
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Bryan Shaw /
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Cleveland Indians additions and subtractions

Key additions: Yonder Alonso, Rajai Davis

Newcomer to watch: Yonder Alonso. Yonder Alonso timed his career year perfectly, as he was able to earn a two year contract from the Cleveland Indians.

Alonso changed his approach dramatically last season, becoming a convert to the ideals of launch angle and putting the ball in the air more often. That led to an incredible transformation in his age 30 campaign. Between his time with the Athletics and the Mariners, he produced a career best .266/.365/.501 batting line, with 28 homers and 22 doubles. Alonso made his first All Star Game last year, and surprisingly was far more than a replacement level first baseman.

With the Indians, he has to fill the shoes of Carlos Santana, one of the better players in the recent history of the Indians. Likewise, Cleveland has designs on returning to the postseason and taking care of unfinished business. There will be a lot of pressure on Alonso to replicate his performance from 2017.

Biggest losses: Carlos Santana, Austin Jackson, Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, Jay Bruce

Biggest loss: Bryan Shaw. One of the Indians strengths over the past few years has been their bullpen. The loss of Shaw dramatically weakens the unit.

Shaw’s statistics may not have been eyepopping last year, but he was far more than the numbers indicate. In his final season with the Indians, Shaw posted a solid 3.52 ERA and a 1.213 WHiP, striking out 73 batters in 76.2 innings. He led the American League with 79 appearances, the third time in four years he led the AL.

What Shaw gave the Cleveland Indians was the ability to use Andrew Miller as a fireman in the bullpen. He could come in whenever needed, quelling a rally at any point in the game. Even if he was used prior to the eighth inning, Shaw was there, ready to provide a typically worry-free outing. That is one piece that the Indians will miss in the coming season.