Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL CentralAmerican LeagueAnalysisCleveland IndiansMLB

Indians Breakout Candidates for 2020

Credit: Erik Drost

While the 2019 season unfortunately ended with no playoff appearance, we got to see the emergence of young players like Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger. The 2020 season will have some new faces and some new roles on the roster, so let’s see some possible breakout candidates for the upcoming season.

Franmil Reyes– DH/OF

Reyes was one of the biggest returns in the big three team trade which saw Trevor Bauer head to Cincinnati. Reyes sort of cooled down once he arrived in Cleveland, as he went from 116 wRC+ to 96 wRC+. While he still ended up with a solid year all around, his x stats show that it could’ve been better.

Baseball Savant

As you can see when he makes contact, the ball flies off his bat, he’s up at the top of the league in his Exit Velo and Hard Hit %, and is well above average with his xwOBA and xSLG. If Franmil gets a little more luck, his numbers will be very impressive.

Jordan Luplow– OF

Last year Luplow missed a significant amount of time due to a right hamstring strain. In the time he played, he made a solid impact, as he slashed .276/.372/.551 with 137 wRC+. Luplow had some troubles against slower pitches last season, as he slugged .411 on breaking pitches and .425 and offspeed pitches. Luplow also struggled mightily against right handed pitching, as he slashed .216/.274/.299.

While there are definitely visible flaws in his game, there’s definitely some great things to see. He absolutely rakes against fastballs, as he posted a .463 wOBA against fastballs. Also, he’s one of the faster players in baseball, so expect some extra base hits out of him. If he can improve his flaws slightly, I think it’s possible we could see Luplow in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game.

Aaron Civale– SP

Civale showed some of his talent in 10 games with the Indians last season, posting a 2.34 ERA with a 3.40 FIP. While Fangraphs does not project him too well for the upcoming season, there are some slight changes to Civale’s approach that could alter his performance significantly.

The spin on his pitches ranks near the top of the league, and he hasn’t quite used it to his advantage. The spin on his curveball is in the 96th percentile, but he only throws the pitch 11.1% of the time. If he can mix in his breaking pitches more with his nasty sinker and cutter, his strikeouts numbers will rise and he’ll cement his spot into the rotation.

Emmanuel Clase– RP

Ever since I saw this guy pitch in a random Angels vs Rangers game, I became very interested in this guy and what he’s gonna do. Clase came to Cleveland from the Rangers where the Indians sent Corey Kluber to Texas. In his first stint in the majors, he posted a 2.31 ERA and a 3.42 xFIP in 23.1 innings. Clase has one of if not the nastiest cutter in baseball, which can reach up to triple digits.

Clase’s 92 MPH slider freezing the game’s best
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100 MPH cutter with nasty movement
Baseball Savant

With Clase likely starting out in the bullpen, he’ll be able to contribute in his first full season with the Indians. I think this year we’ll see an elite reliever start a dominant stretch.

There’s a lot of young talent ready to prove themselves on this year’s roster who are ready to compete. With everyone talking about the Twins and White Sox all offseason, these guys are ready to prove themselves.