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2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook

Cleveland will have to deal with the 3-1 Lead jokes, but after an impressive year, they should be right back in the driver's seat in 2017. The rotation's health is a question mark, as Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco have proneness to injury tags. Jason Kipnis is also going to miss the start of the year. Either way, Cleveland is going to be a top contender this season, and got stronger by replacing Mike Napoli, with Edwin Encarnacion. Cleveland allowed the seventh fewest runs per game, and scored the sixth most. The lineup one through nine is playable in most formats, which is tough to offer for most teams, especially when we tend to focus on the front five hitters in lineups. The rotation offers up three high end options, as long as they are healthy.

Offseason Moves

Additions: Edwin Encarnacion

Subtractions: Mike Napoli

Park Factors

Cleveland's offense had severe home-road splits last season, averaging 5.4 runs per game at home, compared to 3.9 on the road. For the pitchers, things were a little more even. Progressive Field played neutral for power on both sides, but did rank third in runs. This is a doubles park, and was even for doubles on both sides. Triples were suppressed, while average and on-base percentage were up. Progressive Field should continue to boast strong numbers, but a lot of this had to do with with the success of the Cleveland offense. This is only a slightly above average hitter's park.

Projected Lineup

Lineup OrderPlayerPosition2016 wOBA vs. RHP2016 ISO vs. RHP2016 wOBA vs. LHP2016 ISO vs. LHP
1Carlos Santana1B.388.285.325.128
2Jason Kipnis2B.353.200.336.182
3Francisco LindorSS.351.139.318.124
4Edwin EncarnacionDH.370.264.385.275
5Jose Ramirez3B.351.147.363.162
6Michael BrantleyOF.221.000.311.286
7Tyler NaquinOF.378.225.341.156
8Lonnie ChisenhallOF.333.156.282.130
9Yan GomesC.191.155.313.171

2016 Statistics Used

Projected Rotation

Rotation SpotNameIPK%FIP
1Corey Kluber21526.43.26
2Carlos Carrasco146.1253.72
3Danny Salazar137.127.63.74
4Trevor Bauer173.220.44.02
5Josh Tomlin17316.24.90

Pitching Outlook & Notes

DFS Rotation Grade: A

DFS Studs: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar

When healthy, Cleveland offers one of the best rotations in baseball. Corey Kluber has been the reliable arm of the group health wise, while Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar have injury concerns. Kluber has recorded three straight 200+ strikeout seasons, and should be going on his fourth. He has a career 12% swinging strike rate, and one of the filthiest sliders I have ever seen. Kluber is up there with the best of them, and is the only one I am not worried about health-wise.

Once again, one of the benefits of our daily game is the risk factor. Salazar comes with an injury history, and concern heading into this year. Until we see it, he can be deployed in most formats. His walk rate did come up last season, but continues to be a high upside arm. He has an effective 11.7% swinging strike rate, and had six starts throwing nine or more strikeouts. Carlos Carrasco couldn't finish off the season, but had a good one when healthy. He posted a 25% strikeout rate, and his 5.7% walk rate gives him an edge over Salazar in the consistency department.

Trevor Bauer is erratic, just like his personality. The walk rate can be a bit scary, and same with consistency. He had a solid first half, allowing a .282 wOBA, and then the wheels came off in the second half. Bauer will have a couple of high upside games, but will mostly be a frustrating arm.

Lineup Outlook & Notes

DFS Stacking Grade: A-

DFS Studs: Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor

Jason Kipnis is a stud second baseman, and showcased the power last season, hitting 23 home runs. He will start the season on the DL, but when healthy this year, he will enjoy hitting in the middle of the Cleveland lineup again. His double play partner, Francisco Lindor blossomed last season, and continued that trend in the WBC. If Lindor can notch another few home runs and steals, I wouldn't put a 20-20 season past him.

Edwin Encarnacion joined Cleveland this offseason. He hit 42 home runs last season, and 127 RBI. Encarnacion is an elite fantasy first baseman, and while the offense was dwindling in Toronto, E5 is stuck in the middle of a top Cleveland lineup that is loaded one through nine.

Cleveland has a lot of useful role players like Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez, Tyler Naquin, and Lonnie Chisenhall to be used. Often we look towards the first five hitters in a lineup, yet Cleveland brings out nine usable players in the daily world. Ramirez had 22 steals last season, and hit .312. His low strikeout rate, and average ISO makes him a decent play at the hot corner, especially hitting in the middle of the order. A .411 BABIP will have Naquin coming down from his .296 average last season, but the power is there.

If Michael Brantley can get back and healthy, Cleveland will add another body to a loaded lineup. Brantley posted a 20/20 season in 2014, and a 15/15 season in 2015. His low strikeout rate makes him an attractive cash game option.

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