The Cleveland Indians were established in 1894 and won their first American League pennant, and World Series, in 1920. They wouldn't claim another pennant until 1948, when they won their second World Series, but then things went downhill. A third pennant in 1954 didn't result in a World Series, and then the bottom fell out of the team. They wouldn't return to the playoffs until 1995, registering just a handful of winning seasons in their 40-year drought.
Their return to the playoffs in 1995 saw them claim another AL pennant only to fall short in the World Series, and the same happened in 1997 too as Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Orel Hershiser drove the team forward. Soon that team broke up, and the Indians were a hot-and-cold team. In 2007 they took the ALCS to game 7 before losing to the Boston Red Sox, and then in 2016 they put together another magical run on the back of talented young hitters and some elite arms. Their quest to end the drought took them to a 3-1 lead in the World Series before destiny turned and gave the Chicago Cubs their long-awaited triumph.
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The Indians have been an elite team for the last few years, but in 2017 and 2018 they fell in the ALDS and had to watch as Houston and Boston lifted the World Series title. Their young core is starting to become expensive, and their seasoned arms are starting to hit the downward part of their career. This team doesn't have long left to taste success. Can you bring them a World Series at long last?
MLB The Show 19 doesn't have a singular team OVR to compare ball clubs like other sports games have. Instead they have rankings, which are made up of lots of different rankings about aspects of baseball. The Indians come in at a strong #3 in MLB The Show 19 based on their incredible pitching and defense, so if you are all about run prevention then this is the team for you. Conversely, their offense is not strong, coming in 17th in power and just 21st in contact.
The Indians team budget sounds big at $159 million, but that is well below their American League competitors in Boston, New York, and Houston. It means you will have to make some tough decisions when it comes to re-signing some of the young stars that Cleveland have on their roster. Who are these players that you will be leaning on in season 1?
Jose Ramirez, Third Base (93 OVR)
Contract: 4 years/$30 million
Secondary Positions:2B, SS, LF
Hitter Tendency: Whole Field
Best Stats: Durability (96), Clutch (91), Vision (91), Power vs R (78), Contact vs R (78), Discipline (77), Speed (76), Contact vs L (75)
Jose Ramirez signed with the Indians as an international free agent in November 2009 and got his MLB debut with them in 2013 at the age of 20. He only played a handful of at-bats that year. It took him until 2016 to become an every-day player for the Indians, at which point he was a superstar. He hit .312 that season with 46 doubles and 11 homers. In 2017 he made his first All-Star game after hitting an MLB-best 56 doubles with 29 homer and a .318 average. He added more homers in 2018, trading off some average, and has finished third in MVP voting the last two years.
In The Show 19 Ramirez is an excellent all-round player. He has good contact skill from both sides of the plate (78/75) and nice pop against righties (78). He is solid in the field (72) and has the speed (76) to be a threat on the bases too. Ramirez has the durability (96) to play basically every game and is strong in the clutch (91) too. He's an MVP candidate if everything breaks right.
Francisco Lindor, Shortstop (92 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$10.6 million + 2 years Arbitration
Secondary Positions: 2B, 3B
Hitter Tendency: Whole Field
Best Stats: Durability (97), Contact vs L (90), Fielding (90), Reaction (88), Vision (84), Arm Accuracy (80), Arm Strength (76), Speed (70), Contact vs R (70)
Francisco Lindor was the eighth-overall pick in 2011 for the Indians and he got his MLB debut in 2015, playing 99 games and picking up 12 homers, 12 steals, a .313 average and very good defense, leading to him coming runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. In 2016 Lindor made his first All-Star game and picked up his first gold glove and platinum glove. In 2017 Lindor discovered a power stroke, hitting 33 homers at the expense of some average and that continued in 2018.
In The Show 19 Lindor is a stellar defensive shortstop. His fielding (90) is superb and he has the arm accuracy (80) to throw out runners. He's durable (97) enough to play every game and has elite contact against lefties (90) as well as the speed (70) to steal bases. His power (66/62) is good for a shortstop too.
Trevor Bauer, Starting Pitcher (92 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$13 million + 1 year Arbitration
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Knuckle Curve, Slider, Cutter, Changeup
Best Stats: Break (98), Stamina (86), K/9 (83), Clutch (78), Velocity (78), H/9 (77), Arm Strength (76)
Trevor Bauer was the third-overall pick in 2011 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He got his MLB debut in 2012 with them, making four starts and struggling to a 6.06 ERA in 16.1 innings. He was part of a three-team trade in December 2012 that sent him to Cleveland and he spent most of the 2013 season in Cleveland's farm system bar another rocky 4 starts in the Majors. In 2014 Bauer entered the Cleveland rotation full time, making 26 starts with a 4.18 ERA. He hovered around that mark for a few years, but put together promising outings. In 2018 everything came together for Bauer. His K/9 jumped to 11.3, he limited homers, and finished the year with a 12-6 record and a 2.21 ERA.
In The Show 19 Bauer is not far off being an ace. He has elite break (98) and plenty of stamina (86). However, his control (68) is lower than you'd like and he doesn't quite have the velocity (78) to blow hitters away. His 5-pitch repertoire includes a deadly knuckle curve and slider that his break stat will help.
Cleveland Indians MLB Roster
There can be minor fluctuations in MLB The Show 19's player OVR from save to save in Franchise Mode. However, those changes rarely alter any of the baseline stats for an individual. We'll start our look at the Indians roster with their position players and then their pitchers.
|Player||OVR||Age||Position||Bat Hand||Best Contact||Best Power||Fielding||Speed|
|Jose Ramirez||93||26||3B||S||78 (R)||78 (R)||72||76|
|Francisco Lindor||92||25||SS||S||90 (L)||66 (R)||90||70|
|Carlos Santana||84||32||1B||S||74 (L)||66 (R)||71||32|
|Jason Kipnis||81||31||2B||L||60 (R)||60 (R)||68||47|
|Carlos Gonzalez||80||33||RF||L||81 (R)||58 (R)||67||56|
|Leonys Martin||78||31||CF||L||55 (R)||52 (R/L)||75||58|
|Kevin Plawecki||75||28||C||R||46 (L)||50 (R)||59||32|
|Tyler Naquin||74||27||CF||L||76 (R)||57 (R)||69||56|
|Roberto Perez||73||30||C||R||23 (L)||54 (L)||77||10|
|Bradley Zimmer||72||26||CF||L||53 (R/L)||48 (L)||75||86|
|Jordan Luplow||70||25||RF||R||54 (L)||53 (L)||70||75|
|Mike Freeman||69||31||2B||L||58 (R)||34 (R)||73||70|
|Greg Allen||69||26||CF||S||58 (R)||36 (L)||52||78|
The Indians MLB roster is made up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers. This gives you a 4-man bench, a 5-man rotation, and a 7-man bullpen including the closer.
Cleveland's team is not overtly offensive-minded. While Jose Ramirez (contact R 78, power R 78) and Francisco Lindor (contact L 90, fielding 90) are superstar players, they are not offensive monsters. Carlos gonzalez (contact R 81, arm strength 80), Carlos Santana (contact L 74, fielding 71), and Tyler Naquin (contact R 76, contact L 72) are the main supporting cast, and while they aren't elite at the plate most are strong in the field. Jason Kipnis (fielding 68, contact R 60) and Kevin Plawecki (blocking 82, arm accuracy 80) are good players that can fill in the back end of the lineup, while Bradley Zimmer (speed 86, arm strength 86), greg Allen (stealing 82, speed 78), and Jordan Luplow (arm strength 85, arm accuracy 84) offer a lot of outfield speed and fielding depth.
Cleveland's strength lies in run prevention. Pairing that strong defensive lineup with a pitching rotation that can dominate and a bullpen that can severely shorten games. Corey Kluber (break 99, stamina 96) and Trevor Bauer (break 98, stamina 86) are a superb 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation and Carlos Carrasco (break 91, stamina 87) is one of the best #3 pitchers around. Mike Clevinger (break 98, stamina 80) takes the #4 spot and even Shane Bieber (stamina 83, control 76) is a strong option for the last man in the rotation.
With those 5 starting games you want to hand the ball to quality pitchers to finish off the game and the Indians have them too. Brad Hand (break 99, clutch 82) is a very good closer while veteran Oliver Perez (break 95, velocity 74) and Adam Cimber (control 86, break 79) are ready to bridge to him. James Hoyt (break 92, velocity 76) is also a nice option if you need to go to the bullpen early and Danny Salazar (break 95, velocity 83) is a nice long-man and sixth starter if you need him.
MLB The Show 19 gives you four lineups to set. These are against a right-handed pitcher with and without the DH and against a left-handed pitcher with and without the DH. Since the Indians are in the American League the majority of your games will be with the DH so these are the lineups you need to focus on.
The Show 19 does already set a lineup for you. Against right-handed pitchers with the DH it lines up CF Tyler Naquin at the top of the order, followed by RF Carlos Gonzalez, 3B Jose Ramirez, SS Francisco Lindor, 1B Carlos Santana, 2B Jason Kipnis, LF Leonys Martin, DH Bradley Zimmer, and finally C Kevin Plawecki. This is also the same lineup The Show 19 suggests you use against lefties.
This is a pretty good lineup but it isn't the best option available for you.
The changes we have made are limited but important. We have made Greg Allen the DH against righties and Jordan Luplow the DH against lefties, but the rest of the lineup has stayed the same against right-handed starters. The Indians aren't blessed with a lot of offensive firepower, so against lefties we have moved Francisco Lindor to the leadoff spot to make the most of his contact skills, and put Carlos Santana in at #2. Jose Ramirez stays at #3 with Carlos Gonzalez at #4 and Tyler Naquin at #5. Kipnis, Martin, Luplow, and Plawecki round out the lineup.
The farm system in MLB The Show 19 can be a frustration. The fluctuations in OVR and potential can take a quality prospect in one save and turn them into a dud in another. There is also a lack of real life prospects that mean you can't just trade for your favorite prospects from around the league to build your roster. However, there are still some quality options for you within the the Indians farm system.
Maxwell Castillo, Relief Pitcher (71 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Sinker, Curveball, Changeup
Best Stats: BB/9 (86), Velocity (68), HR/9 (66), Clutch (60), K/9 (53)
Maxwell Castillo has a good chance of making an impact for the Indians bullpen sooner rather than later. He can control walks well (86) and has reasonable ability in the clutch (60). His break (44) and control (39) are poor and needs work, but that's why he is starting The Show 19 in the Minors. Those stats will develop though and when they start to improve you can look to him as an injury fill-in for the Major League club.
Darryl Fletcher, Shortstop (63 OVR)
Secondary Position: 2B, 3B
Hitter Tendency: Whole Field
Best Stats: Baserunning Aggressiveness (89), Contact vs L (78), Vision (77), Speed (76), Clutch (76), Discipline (72)
The Indians may have one of the best SS-3B combos in baseball, but they could use a new second baseman sooner rather than later and Darryl Fletcher could be that guy. His speed (76) is very good for the position, and he has MLB-ready contact skill (69/78) already. His vision (77), discipline (72), and clutch (76) are also strong. His fielding (45) is a weakness that needs to improve and his lack of power (22/30) is an issue, but Fletcher has the potential to be a quality player.
Jefry Rodriguez, Starting Pitcher (62 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Curveball, 2-Seam Fastball, Changeup
Best Stats: Velocity (88), Break (82), Arm Strength (77), H/9 (74), Stamina (69)
The Indians have a very strong rotation right now, but you can never have enough pitching. Jefry Rodriguez has MLB-ready velocity (88) and break (82) already, though his stamina (69) isn't quite what you want from a starter just yet. He can control hits well (74) but lacks the control (41) you need to be consistently productive.
For more articles like this, take a look at our MLB The Show page.