Monday, April 16, 2012

Are the Indians a contender?

Team OPS, 2012 v. 2011

1. Cardinals (#5 in 2011)
2. Red Sox (#1)
3. Tigers (#3)
4. Indians (#t-17)
t-5. Rangers (#2)
t-5. Rockies (#8)
t-5. Orioles (#12)

Nobody picked the Indians to make the playoffs, but they're showing some firepower that could make things interesting.  Their starting rotation isn't bad either: Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson have all had success and could keep them competitive throughout the season.  The bullpen is a major concern, and it might be their biggest stumbling block. 

The wild card is Ubaldo Jimenez, who has shown in the past that he is capable of being dominant for long stretches.  The Tigers are rightly favored to win the division, but they are not invincible.  Their #2 starter is on the DL, and their rotation behind Verlander isn't unhittable. 

The Indians clearly have some talent, and some of the other teams predicted to be contenders in the AL might have issues as well (see Angels, Rays).   They probably won't make the playoffs, but they are a team worth watching and might end up causing problems for some teams planning on playing in October.

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