The Cleveland Indians have a bit of a pitching factory within the organization.
One player leaves via trade or free agency, one or two more show up and turn out to be long-term pieces.
MLB.com recently ran a list of the 10 best starting rotations in all of baseball.
The Indians showed up at No. 8 overall on a list headlined by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As expected, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale will start Cleveland’s first three games. The club is still working out how to structure the rest of the rotation.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 27, 2021
Too High or Too Low?
It is easy to have bias when discussing the Indians on a daily basis.
But seeing this ranking helps drive home the point that the Indians are in fact seen as a dominant pitching team outside of the city as well.
The top reason for this ranking is Shane Bieber.
He is the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and is a favorite to win it once again in 2021.
The rest of the arms on the staff are no joke either.
Both have two seasons of experience, counting the shortened 2020 campaign, and have shown great progress.
Civale is an intriguing player because he just reinvented this throwing motion this offseason.
Aaron Civale, Beautiful Curveball…and Insta K Strut. 🌈 pic.twitter.com/noG42sDxsr
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 4, 2021
That could mean his 4.74 ERA in only 12 starts last season is a number to forget about fast.
The trade of Adam Plutko allowed all three to make the Opening Day roster.
For now, Quantrill is in the bullpen while McKenzie and Allen will hold down the backend of the rotation.
But how they are used remains to be seen given all the off-days to start the season.
The Indians received this No. 8 ranking because of Bieber, projections, and potential.
Now fans have to hope the latter two reasons hold strong this season.
Among Impressive Company
The MLB.com list features the Dodgers first and the San Diego Padres second.
The New York Yankees are the first AL team, showing up in the third spot.
Every team ahead of the Indians on this list enters the season as a legitimate title contender.
That should be a great sign for Indians fans who are still wondering how far this team can go in 2021.
What the offense can do may be what ultimately determines the course of the season.
Center field and first base are still two areas of concern and the Indians have a young player in Andres Gimenez holding down the job at shortstop.
There is a mix of young and veteran talent in the lineup, leaving plenty of unknowns.
The good news is that the starting pitching should be strong enough to carry the team even if the offense struggles at times during the season.