Playoff Odds on 3/21: 94.7%
Playoff Odds on 5/9: 78.0%
The Indians’ high preseason playoff odds were more a factor of the division they play in than how their roster had been built over the offseason. In an AL Central with three rebuilding teams (Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox), the only real threat to Cleveland is the Minnesota Twins (who we’ll talk about more in a second).
While the roster did go through some weird changes for a contending team during the winter, the Indians’ dominant starting rotation remained intact. That group has been decent to start 2019, but they’re certainly dealing with some challenges.
Trevor Bauer and Shane Bieber have been solid, but Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco both have ERAs over 5.00. Kluber also is out for the foreseeable future after getting hit with a line drive, and Mike Clevinger has been limited to just 12 (dominant) innings.
What’s been a huge concern for the Indians is the offense. Carlos Santana has put together a nice start in his return to The Land (126 wRC+ through 142 plate appearances), but he’s literally the only hitter with a wRC+ higher than 100 entering Thursday’s games. The Indians team wRC+ of 69 is the second-worst mark in baseball.
Francisco Lindor is trying to make up for lost time after missing the start of this season (94 wRC+ through 67 plate appearances), but Jose Ramirez has struggled mightily (65 wRC+ in 151 plate appearances). The Indians can be a good team, but a lot of things need to go right for that to happen. So far, that hasn’t been happening.