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Indians playoff roster predictions

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Any ordinary Joe off the street can predict rosters two days before the postseason. Let’s go wild and do it now

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

One way another — either on a hot streak or ice cold — the 2018 Cleveland Indians are going to playoffs where they will most likely face the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros in the first round. No big deal.

Before they do that, though, they have two weeks to iron on who is doing what on the postseason roster, and who will be home watching everyone else have fun in fall baseball.

I don’t know any better than you what will actually happen, but they keep letting me in this editor and I keep making posts so this one is going to be me — a self-proclaimed Awful Roster Predictor — aimlessly trying to guess which lucky arm will be the seventh reliever.

Let’s start with the easy ones.

Infielders

What I want

C: Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez
1B: Yonder Alonso, Yandy Diaz
2B: Jose Ramirez
SS: Francisco Lindor, Erik Gonzalez
3B: Josh Donaldson
DH: Edwin Encarnacion

Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Yan Gomes aren’t going anywhere — those are easy. Same with Edwin Encarnacion at designated hitter at Josh Donaldson at third base if he’s fully healthy by October 5.

Whether you like it or not, Roberto Perez is the preferred catcher for multiple Indians pitchers, and whatever wizard-like hold he has over them is going to keep him on the roster in the postseason.

First base is where things could get a little interesting.

Yonder Alonso’s bat has completely disappeared as of late. So much so that his wRC+ has dipped to 93, despite being a very serviceable hitter for much of the early parts of the season (102 wRC+ in the first half, 79 in the second). He’s been particularly brutal against southpaws this season, slashing .218/.266/.345 against lefties compared to .249/.319/.449 against right-handers.

Why not platoon him with Yandy Diaz?

That big beautiful bicepsed man has been slinging heat all over the field, but it’s only turned into a .291/.330/.407 slash on the season and one glorious home run. While he hasn’t slashed much better against lefties than Alonso (.243/.263/.324), I’d be willing to bet on him getting a few hard-hit balls past infielders than Yonder streaking his way into oblivion.

What will actually happen

The usage will probably be different than what I want (I’d be surprised to see Yandy play at all in the ALDS), but the layout feels right. Erik Gonzalez feels like a useless addition, but I’m sure he’ll be on the bench anyway.

Outfielders

What I want

LF: Michael Brantley
CF: Greg Allen, Jason Kipnis
RF: Melky Cabrera, Brandon Guyer

This is about as cut and dry as the infield, but having Greg Allen be a consistent starter in center field might be a pipe dream. Jason Kipnis is there and he’s likely to get a lot of starts, I just hope Allen gets some kind of way to contribute, especially with his legs.

Kipnis still has a couple weeks to get acclimated to his new position, but he hasn’t been tested at all yet. Only three balls have come his way according to FanGraphs — and to his credit he made all three plays.

Keeping Brandon Guyer goes against everything I’ve said about the streaky Yonder Alonso, but man — Guyer can be so good against left-handed pitchers that I’d be tempted to keep him on the roster just for a crucial pinch-hit occasion against Tony Sipp in the ALDS. That last outfield position mostly comes down to Guyer and Rajai Davis, anyway. With Allen in center field, Davis (as much as I love him) becomes an older, less effective redundancy.

What will actually happen

You better believe Rajai Davis is going to be in that outfield. Probably in place of Greg Allen, or maybe Brandon Guyer. God damnit.

Starting rotation

What I want

SP1: Corey Kluber
SP2: Trevor Bauer
SP3: Carlos Carrasco
SP4: Mike Clevinger

Give me four starting pitchers, or give me death.

If the Indians need to ride out a four- or five-game series against the Astros, the last thing I want is to force Kluber to go short rest on a game four. Assuming Trevor Bauer can work himself back in time to be a starting pitcher in the playoffs, the top three of the rotation are a done deal. Mike Clevinger makes sense as the number four, leaving Bieber and his uber control in the bullpen for long relief if necessary.

Heck, I’d almost even “start” Bieber in Game 5, let him try to get through the lineup once or twice, then bring Kluber in to finish most of it out if he has to. WAIT. Maybe do that for Game 4 instead, and if all hell breaks loose believe in Clevinger for Game 5.

This rotation is so good; there are so many ways to play around with it.

What will actually happen

I don’t think my dream is far off here. Maybe Kluber is just forced into Game 4 on short rest and Clevinger never gets a chance to start. Hopefully we never have to find out.

Bullpen

What I want

LHP: Brad Hand
RHP: Cody Allen
LHP: Andrew Miller
RHP: Shane Bieber
RHP: Dan Otero
LHP: Oliver Perez
RHP: Adam Cimber

Sorry, Neil Ramirez. It was fun while you were good, but that time has clearly passed. Instead, I want to see a dang submariner in the playoffs, paired with his old Padres teammate Brad Hand, a healthy Andrew Miller, an ageless Oliver Perez, and Dan Otero manning the Gatorade cooler and nothing else. Nirvana.

What will actually happen

Ramirez is gonna be there, I just know it. Whether it’s in place of Cimber or Otero, he’s gonna find a way to bring his 4.74 ERA, sky high home run rate, and terrifying outings to the playoffs. I can feel it.