The Cleveland Indians ended 2016 with both success and failure. In Game Seven of the World Series they lost to the Chicago Cubs after leading the series 3-1. However, the team made the World Series for the first time in nearly two decades and made themselves look like a force to be reckoned with in the American League Central Division for years to come.
Cleveland Indians 2016 Season Recap
They Were American League Champions
The Indians went as far as a team could go without coming home without a World Series title. They made it to extra innings in Game Seven of the World Series. They began the bottom of the ninth one run away from winning their first World Series since 1948.
After an emotional loss like that, the initial reaction may be to call 2016 a failure of a season. That could not be further from the truth. The Indians propelled themselves to their first World Series since 1997 after not making an ALDS appearance since 2007.
Francisco Lindor Solidified Himself as a Star
Shortstop Francisco Lindor was called up to the majors last year with a lot of hype around him. He delivered on that hype with a solid season. He batted .313/.353/.482 with 12 home runs, 51 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 99 games.
One season does not always define a player. There is a reason that the term “sophomore slump” is used frequently to define the struggles of some second year players. Sometimes one season is too small of a sample size to accurately define a player. Of course that is not always the case and players like Lindor prove that.
He had a similarly terrific season in 2016 in 59 more games. In 158 games he batted .301/.358/.435 with 15 home runs, 78 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He also was named to the All Star game.
Lindor followed that up with a great postseason as well. He batted .310/.355/.466 with two home runs and six RBI in 15 games. That included a good performance on the biggest stage in baseball during the World Series. Careers can change course and can do so quickly, but Lindor currently looks like he will be a star player for years to come.
The Indians Future Looks Bright
The Indians don’t look like they will be going anywhere. Some teams make the World Series after many playoff appearances in a short timespan. Those teams make the playoffs for many years at a time, but find no postseason success. When they finally do, they have nowhere to go but down afterwards. For those teams, a World Series loss would be devastating. This happens a lot when their core players get too old and usually face either declining production or retirement.
The Indians are fortunate enough to not be one of those older teams. They do have older players like Mike Napoli who had a career year at age 35, but the nucleus of the team is made up of young players in their prime. Their 40-man roster consists of 30 players who are age 30 or below.
The Indians have already achieved so much and they have not even peaked as a team yet.