30 in 30: The Cleveland Indians
2016 Record: 94-67
2016 Finish: 4th in MLB, 2nd in AL
2016 in Review
Mike Napoli was lost. After the Red Sox won their 3rd ring in seven years, Mike Napoli took his shirt off and roamed through the city of Boston stopping off at whatever bar would give him alcohol. This is a very true story and it's amazing. Mike Napoli just had an amazing two years where he was selected to his first All-Star Game and then is able to win a ring at Fenway Park for the first time in 98 years. What a historic moment to cap off the beginning of your career? Or maybe this is the pinnacle of your career?
2014 greeted Napoli rudely and by 2015 he was shipped off to Texas. In those two years, Napoli hit .236, with a combined 35 home runs. Napoli was spinning out of control and was on his way to finishing off his career in the Nippon League of Japan. And then Terry Francona gives him a call.
Dustin Pedroia was also a big part of why Napoli went to Cleveland. "I had a lot of conversations with Dustin Pedroia about [Francona]. Hearing the things about him and how he is with his players and what type of guy he is and how he manages, he definitely was a big part of my decision."
Mike Napoli went off in 2016. Napoli spent the first five years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels. If you look at his numbers you'll see that in one year in Cleveland, Napoli put up numbers so good, they were 1/3 of the numbers it took him 5 years to put up. Napoli hit 34 home runs, one dinger shy of his 2014 and 2015 totals combined. Napoli also became a fan favorite, someone the Cleveland fans could latch onto, someone who was gritty and persistent, someone who played the game like they wouldn't tomorrow.
Michael Brantley was injured all year. That's it. That's the most disappointing thing that happened to Cleveland in 2016. No one thought the Indians would make it to the World Series, and even if someone did there's no way thought they'd make it to Game 7, or a 3-1 lead over the CUBS. NO WAY. NO DISAPPOINTMENTS IN CLEVELAND, Y'ALL. JUST BE HAPPY IT HAPPENED.
The Cleveland Indians went out and had a great offseason. First off, the won the Edwin Encarnacion Sweepstakes to fill the DH spot and picked up Chris Colabello to play first base. Both of these are solid acquisitions that will only help to sure up the offense and defense. Great job.
The insane thing to remember about Cleveland is that they are YOUNG. The oldest guy in their projected 2017 Starting Lineup is Edwin Encarnacion, at 34, but everyone else is 30 or below. That's going to bode well moving forward for the Tribe. Even their rotation is young, with Josh Tomlin being the oldest at 31 years old. The Cleveland Indians are young and ready to be a fixture in the AL Central for while.