Pitchers and catchers have reported, which means we can ignore the looming death of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado being unsigned and instead focus on the 2019 season. What better place to start than arbitrary round numbers we can give players to cross throughout the year?
The Indians not-so-quietly lost a few veterans this offseason as they dropped from the second-oldest team in the league to somewhere in the middle. Not only does that mean the Tribe will be dabbing on those Fortnites with a bunch of young players, but there are no high-end numbers to be shot for here. The wily vet among the position players is now a toss up between Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis.
Speaking of Kipnis, the Tribe’s elder statesman has played in exactly 1,000 games to date, and he’s the only current Indian besides Carlos Santana to have games in the quadruple digits. Kip also passed 1,000 hits last season, and there’s a pretty good chance he could notch 36 more runs batted in and cross the 500-mark. If he does, he’d be only the second Indians second baseman to cross 500 RBI, behind Carlos Baerga’s 565.
Kipnis and Santana are also the only current Indians with more than 100 home runs, but that won’t last for long. Jose Ramirez (87) and Francisco Lindor (98) are both poised to cross the line shortly after their seasons start. Lindor will become the third Indians shortstop to have over 100 home runs behind Woodie Held (130) — who played with the Indians in the mid to early ‘60s — and Jhonny Peralta (103). And yes, Lindor could very well become the All-Time Indians shortstop leader in home runs if he can hit 32 bombs after posting back-to-back 30-dong seasons.
Lindor is also on the verge of becoming one of the best under-26 baseball players in the last 30 years, if he can put up another monster season. It seems less likely now that he’s sidelined for at least the start of the season, but another 7.5+ fWAR season is not impossible for the best shortstop in baseball. With five home runs, Frankie will also be the third on the list of home runs for shortstops under 26, trailing Cal Ripken (133) and Alex Rodriguez (241).
With 37 more plate appearences, Roberto Perez will become the sixth active Indian to cross the 1,000 PA mark, joining Santana (5,461), Kipnis (4,338), Ramirez (2,596), Lindor (2,590), and Indians legend Leonys Martin (2,528).
As a reliever in the American League, Oliver Perez probably isn’t going to get a plate appearance this season, but if he does, he’d be the 27th Indians pitcher to have 400 in his career. That has to count for something, right?
For pitchers doing pitcher things, Corey Kluber is four starts away from 200 (and Oliver Perez is five away, for what it’s worth) — he’ll be the 14th Indians pitcher to reach 200 starts. Kluber still has a ways to catch up to the likes of Sam McDowell (2,159) and Bob Feller (2,581) in terms of career strikeouts, but at 1423 K’s he’s already third on the list, and he’s likely to eclipse 1,500 this season.
Trevor Bauer can join Kluber in the 1,000 strikeout club with 74 more this season. Mike Clevinger is already well on his way to 500K’s with 394, and he continues his streak of having the best hair in the game.
Cody Allen and his 149 career saves are now gone, leaving Brad Hand’s as the team leader with 55. Trailing behind him is Dan Otero, Neil Ramirez, and Oliver Perez with three apiece.
As a team, it’s hard for the Indians to set many franchise records thanks to those pesky ‘90s boys, but they are well on their way to setting a new record for consecutive American League Central wins. If they can win it again in 2019, they’ll only be one off the mark of the five-time champs from 1995 to 1999.
Last, but most certainly not least, Indians starters have combined for exactly 1066 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons. If they can do it again, I am absolutely certain it’s a record for all your starters to have the same number of strikeouts for three consecutive seasons. I’m not even going to look it up.