5 Reasons the Cleveland Indians Will Win the American League Central

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5 Reasons the Cleveland Indians Will Win the American League Central

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two seasons, the Cleveland Indians have spent more time in first place in the central division than any other team. Perhaps this statistic is most frequently used in order to be deceptive about the amount of talent on the field for the Indians over the last few seasons. However, it should not be ignored for two different reasons.

The first is that this team is a quick starter which can happen on young teams. Unfortunately over the last few stretch runs, the Indians have lacked the veteran leadership necessary to overcome the inevitable dry spells. Last season the lack of leadership culminated in a collapse that saw a 7-25 stretch. Secondly, the Detroit Tigers have shown to be incredibly slow starters over the last two seasons and as this team ages, a continuation of this trend would not be altogether shocking.

Furthermore, Indians general Manager Chris Antonetti with the support of ownership recently embarked on the most positive offseason turnover for this franchise in the past fifteen years. The rationale driving his bold decision making could have been prodded by a few different factors. First, the Indians were in need of some positive press as the Cleveland market had begun to tire of their unending mediocrity and tightfisted approach. Second, he sensed that with the addition of a wild card slot and relatively weak division outside of the Tigers, the Indians had a unique opportunity to take a large step forward into contention without damaging the long term potential of their minor-league system.

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5. Justin Masterson

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Mike DiNovo-US Presswire

Masterson is poised to put a lackluster 2012 season behind him and continue making strides to reach his potential as a high end three/low end two starter. Advanced statistics point to his ERA regressing toward career norms, thus making Masterson an irreplaceable innings eater.

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4. Lonnie Chisenhall

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Matt Kartozian- US Presswire

It seems as if the Indians have been waiting for Lonnie Chisenhall to seize the third base job forever, and this will be the season. Barring injury, Chisenhall is in a perfect place to succeed, hitting at the bottom of the order without the pressure heaped on him as it was when he was climbing the ladder as a prospect.

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3. Michael Bourn

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Jake Roth-US Presswire
This guy really transforms a lineup and boy could the Indians use that sort of game-changing speed. The Indians have finally found a replacement for Grady Sizemore in the leadoff spot.
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2. Nick Swisher

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Jake Roth-US Presswire

When you are a looking for veteran leadership, you can’t find a much better source than Nick Swisher. Be it his incredible confidence or infectious laugh, Swish is the guy the Indians the needed to lead this clubhouse.

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1. Terry Francona

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Jake Roth-US Presswire

Much of Terry Francona’s role had already been played before spring training began whether it was him recruiting guys like Bourn and Swisher or revitalizing the energy surrounding this franchise. Francona’s abilities as a manager are unquestioned and provide this team with the right man at the helm.

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