December 1, 2020

The Indians Forgot To Look Behind Them (FanGraphs)


In 2019, ZiPS’ faith in Shane Beiber proved to be justified. (Photo: Keith Allison)

“Overconfidence is a powerful source of illusions, primarily determined by the quality and coherence of the story that you can construct, not by its validity.” – Daniel Kahneman

If the 2019 Indians thought they the lone contenders in the AL Central, the Minnesota Twins very quickly disabused them of that notion. Cleveland still fought their way to a 93-69 record, but after a quiet offseason, the loss of some key players, and a final run at the playoffs destroyed by a five-game losing streak, this is a team that ought to be haunted by their what-ifs. Much of the team’s core remains intact (at least for now), but with key contributors approaching free agency, these Indians may have peaked.

The Setup

If a baseball season is a marathon, the 2018 Indians were allowed to use a car. They grabbed first place in the AL Central in late April and never relinquished it. The Minnesota Twins ran afoul of the Regression Gods, and the rest of teams in the division were still firmly in the moribund section of their respective rebuilds. With the bullpen not rocking as it had in previous…

Read “The Indians Forgot To Look Behind Them” at FanGraphs