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How does the Cleveland Indians front of the rotation compare with the rest of the AL Central?

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Now that we have hashed through the hitters in great detail, let us move onto the topic every Indian fan loves (at least currently), the starting rotation.

The Big Three is ready to go this season
The Big Three is ready to go this season
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

As shown previously, the lack of offense appears to be slightly unfounded. And in order to improve the lineup, the Indians front office likely would have had to tap into their strongest position, starting pitching with the likely targets being Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar.

For this series, we are going to split the rotation into two parts, the front of the rotation (FOR) and back of rotation (BOR). This is mainly because the front of the rotations are usually pretty good (to an extent) and the back of the rotations are usually not.

Cleveland Indians

I am not sure what else to say that hasn't been said before. This FOR is for real and barring any injuries should dominate most of the season. I am a tad disappointed in Salazar's projections, to be honest. I think he ends up even a tad behind Carrasco's projections. And it is awesome to see the three of them all with over a 9.0 K/9 and about a 4 to 1 ration in Ks to BBs. On a historical note, this rotation could have the ability to approach the Garcia/Lemon/Wynn levels and maybe even surpass them in dominance.

Corey Kluber

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

32

32

211.0

9.28

1.97

3.06

3.11

5.0

ZIPS

30

30

202.0

9.67

1.92

3.21

2.90

5.4

Marcel

194.0

9.5

2.1

3.34

Carlos Carrasco

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

31

31

188.0

9.52

2.30

3.05

3.01

4.7

ZIPS

27

27

172.3

10.08

2.04

3.08

2.79

4.8

Marcel

154.0

9.5

2.3

3.62

Danny Salazar

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

29

29

173.0

9.35

2.68

3.40

3.53

3.2

ZIPS

30

30

178.0

9.86

2.53

3.49

3.44

3.5

Marcel

163.0

9.4

2.7

3.70

Chicago White Sox

As amazing as the Indians rotation is from the right-handed side, the White Sox have the best collection of left-handers in at least the AL, if not all of MLB. In the past, left-handed starters have been Kryptonite to the Tribe offense, so hopefully that trend does not continue. Sale is amazing, and rightfully is a front-runner for a Cy Young. Quintana has a 2.58 ERA in 12 career starts against the Tribe. And Rodon, the former first rounder, in my opinion, will surpass Quintana this year, although his wildness could get the best of him.

Chris Sale

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

32

32

210.0

10.95

2.05

2.79

2.88

5.9

ZIPS

29

29

195.7

11.09

1.89

2.99

2.81

5.7

Marcel

182.0

10.6

2.1

3.16

Jose Quintana

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

32

32

200.0

7.62

2.27

3.69

3.75

3.5

ZIPS

32

32

195.3

7.65

2.17

3.73

3.36

4.3

Marcel

183.0

7.9

2.3

3.49

Carlos Rodon

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

28

28

161.0

8.99

4.18

4.12

4.06

2.2

ZIPS

25

25

158.3

9.61

3.58

3.81

3.90

2.5

Marcel

126.0

8.8

3.8

3.71

Detroit Tigers

Justin Verlander shows signs of brilliance last year after a few rough seasons. But the days of him competing for a Cy Young are likely gone. Sanchez has been good for stretches as well, but neither projection system has faith in him for 2016. Last year, the Tigers had David Price, who was a nightmare matchup for the Tribe lineup. But as the Tigers slumped last year, he was dealt to try and replenish a severely depleted farm system. He has been replaced by Jordan Zimmermann, who while a very good pitcher, is not of Price's pedigree in my eyes.

Justin Verlander

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

31

31

195.0

7.41

2.59

3.81

4.11

2.3

ZIPS

26

26

164.3

7.72

2.57

3.89

3.61

2.9

Marcel

147.0

7.7

2.8

3.98

Jordan Zimmermann

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

32

32

200.0

6.64

1.83

3.86

4.09

2.4

ZIPS

30

30

181.3

6.80

1.74

4.02

3.97

2.4

Marcel

181.0

7.6

1.8

3.43

Anibal Sanchez

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

28

28

167.0

7.62

2.54

3.87

3.94

2.3

ZIPS

24

24

144.0

8.38

2.69

3.94

3.66

2.5

Marcel

151.0

8.0

2.7

4.11

Kansas City Royals

The rotation has not been a major strength for the royals the past few years, it truly has been on the bullpen. In fact, since James Shields left after the 2014 season, they have struggled to replace him. They did temporarily replace him with Johnny Cueto at midseason, but he is long gone. I doubt Ian Kennedy is the answer as his stuff pales in comparison to Shields and Cueto. He is an innings guy, but I think will struggle with AL lineups after being in the NL the past six years. Both Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura have good to great stuff but have been very inconsistent, which reflects in these projections.

Edinson Volquez

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

28

28

163.0

6.77

3.24

4.27

4.30

1.4

ZIPS

30

29

175.3

6.72

2.49

4.06

4.38

1.4

Marcel

178.0

7.0

3.3

3.84

Yordano Ventura

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

29

29

175.0

8.25

3.21

3.53

3.66

2.9

ZIPS

30

29

175.0

8.43

3.24

3.70

3.72

2.7

Marcel

159.0

8.4

3.1

3.74

Ian Kennedy

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

31

31

185.0

7.87

2.89

3.86

4.17

1.9

ZIPS

28

28

159.3

7.85

3.05

4.80

4.64

0.8

Marcel

164.0

8.8

3.1

4.17

Minnesota Twins

As much young talent the Twins have acquired and developed over the past few years, little if any progress can be seen in this most vital area of starting pitching. When Phil Hughes is your ace, that isn't saying much.  Ervin Santana can be good, but hasn't shown it since 2013. The projections also do not like him because of the suspension he had last year. Kyle Gibson does have the first round pedigree and did show some signs of improvement last year. He can obviously still improve, but I don't think he has ace potential at all.

Phil Hughes

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

32

32

198.0

6.03

1.38

4.20

4.26

2.0

ZIPS

27

26

167.0

6.95

0.86

4.10

3.49

3.2

Marcel

157.0

7.0

1.5

4.18

Ervin Santana

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

31

31

192.0

6.79

2.78

4.32

4.29

1.8

ZIPS

23

23

141.7

6.61

2.73

4.51

4.22

1.5

Marcel

134.0

7.4

2.8

3.90

Kyle Gibson

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

WAR

Steamer

29

29

173.0

6.25

2.94

4.13

4.08

2.1

ZIPS

30

30

176.3

6.43

2.91

4.19

3.94

2.4

Marcel

175.0

6.5

3.0

4.17

My take

This is the easiest position to rank the Tribe first. They are clearly the best at the top of the rotation. If the White Sox had any semblance of an offense (see the previous articles), I think they could make a run as their rotation is clearly a step above the other three. As for the other three, there isn't much separation, but I actually feel like the Royals may end up worst overall, even with the Twins as bad as they are.

I'd rank them as follows:

1. Cleveland

2. Chicago

3. Detroit

4. Minnesota

5. Kansas City

Please post your rankings in the comments.

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