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MLB Power Rankings: First the Cavs, now the Indians are making us Believeland

by | Baseball Writer

In case you haven't heard, there's a parade in Cleveland on Wednesday and it's now being called "Believeland." The fans are ecstatic. And they should be. It's a very cool moment. Their first-place Indians are 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2013.

Obviously I'm messing around with the Cavs' NBA title breaking Cleveland's professional sports championship drought, but what if 2016 is just all Cleveland? By no means am I saying they are the best team in the AL, but things happen in the playoffs that aren't according to regular-season record. We know that. The Indians are right now a very good team with potential to turn into great.

They lingered in mediocrity for a bit, even sitting 17-17 in mid-May. Since then, they've gone 23-13, which is second in the AL only to the surging Rangers. The Indians have taken over first place in the AL Central.

In looking at how the team has fared thus far, there's plenty of room for improvement, too.

Yan Gomes is having a terrible year at the plate. Jason Kipnis is having a much worse season than he did last year and in 2013. Michael Brantley has been hurt for nearly all of the season -- even when he was playing. Corey Kluber has the potential to be significantly better and maybe his shutout on Tuesday is what kickstarts that (especially if you believe his ERA will catch up to his FIP). Carlos Carrasco missed at least five starts due to injury as well.

And through all that, the Indians are riding high. Sure, some things could get worse, but are there actually any ridiculous outliers to the positive? Tyler Naquin has always hit in the minors. Jose Ramirez is having a breakout season, but it's not outrageous. Francisco Lindor is playing like a star, but he is that talented. Danny Salazar is having an excellent, All-Star-caliber season, but he's that talented.

This team is absolutely legitimate and manager Terry Francona is perfectly suited to lead them on a great playoff run. If they do end up getting that chance, the Salazar-Carrasco-Kluber trio can be awfully dangerous in any series.

Believeland, indeed.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: matt.snyder@cbs.com. As always, allow me to remind you that if we disagree about something, one of us is either stupid or biased -- maybe both. It's probably not me, either.

Cleveland Indians
Can the Indians keep up the momentum the Cavaliers started this summer? (USATSI)


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