The Cleveland Indians lost one star this offseason.
But the team is not left without elite talent in 2021.
That is one reason why projections seemed to indicate a final record above .500.
ESPN recently ran its annual list that ranks the top 100 players in baseball ahead of a season.
As expected, the team has two star players near the top.
2. The Annual MVP Candidate
José Ramírez has homered in every single inning of exhibition, non-league play this season.#CLESpring pic.twitter.com/CwfN9xn9Z1
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) March 30, 2021
Jose Ramirez came in at No. 17 overall in all of MLB this year.
This is a nice bump up from his No. 47 slot in 2020.
For reference, Francisco Lindor is seven spots ahead at No. 10.
So while one star left, another remains.
Ramirez is coming off a 2020 season where he finished second in American League MVP voting and won his third career Silver Slugger.
He seems like a lock to make another All-Star Game and lead the team in WAR this season.
His top competition was the other Indians star on the list.
1. The Cy Young Contender
Shane Bieber was untouchable this season.
His 122 strikeouts led Major League Baseball by a lot.#OurTribe pic.twitter.com/sw9sFc4H3j
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) November 13, 2020
Shane Bieber is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and shows up at No. 14 overall on the MLB Rank list.
This is another nice raise, as Bieber showed up No. 40 overall in 2020.
The only pitchers ahead of the Cleveland ace are Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom.
MLB has two star pitchers in New York, with another in Cleveland ready to win more hardware in 2021.
Bieber’s Cy Young Award is one of the most unique in MLB history.
He now wants to prove he can carry his award-worthy stats over the course of a full season.
In fact, Bieber has only had one full season of work.
That was in 2019 when he made an All-Star Game, became MVP of the game, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting.
Bieber posted a 1.63 ERA last season and while that mark may be impossible to repeat, there is no counting out the rising star’s stuff.
Rising Stars on the Roster
Ramirez and Bieber are going to show up on just about any list featuring the best players in baseball.
That should remain true for years to come.
Next comes finding the next top 100 stars of the game within the organization.
Zach Plesac stands out as a top candidate, while someone like Andres Gimenez could reach the list and make the Lindor trade look even better.
Losing Lindor remains a bummer for Indians fans.
But there is still plenty of talent on the roster worth being excited about.
That starts with Ramirez and Bieber and goes on down to an exciting young core of talent.
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