Do the Cleveland Indians Have a Cy Young "Darkhorse" in Their 2020 Starting Rotation?

Matt Loede

As the Cleveland Indians embark on the 2020 season, the overwhelming notion is that again the strong point of the roster is the team’s starting pitching.

Even with the early spring training injury and surgery to the left knee of ace Mike Clevinger, the team still has a gaggle of starters that can hold the fort down until Clevinger can get back on the mound.

Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko, Scott Moss and Jefry Rodriguez make up for now the starters that will look to lead the team with Clevinger due back shortly after the start of the season.

Bieber and Carrasco at the top of the rotation should lead the way for the Tribe, and has released an article talking about "10 Darkhorses for the Cy Young" and one Indian hurler has made the list.

That pitcher is Carrasco, who is an incredible story after coming back to throw in September of last season after overcoming leukemia.

Carrasco had his ups and downs prior to learning of his illness in 2019, but he is still a very good top of the rotation starter and the hope is he is strong and healthy enough to bounce back and be a part of the rotation.

Here is what’s Matt Kelly had to say in regards to Carrasco and him being on the list.

No one has any idea what to expect from Carrasco, but he’s already done the heaviest lifting by returning from leukemia. The warning signs were there before Carrasco’s diagnosis: His fastball velocity was dipping, and he was getting hit harder than ever before. But one thing that didn’t change was his bat-missing ability. Carrasco’s 31.2% whiff rate was nearly equal to his 2018 rate -- and higher than his rates in 2015-17 -- at a time when his body was compromised. This is a guy who’s come close to winning the Cy Young before (see his terrific ’17 campaign), and the 97 mph fastballs that Carrasco ripped upon his return showed there’s stuff left in the tank. Who knows how many innings Carrasco will pitch, or whether he’ll even stay in the rotation through the summer. But if he’s pitching like the Carrasco of old by Sept. 1, that’s a feel-good story that’s very difficult to root against.

The 32-year-old Carrasco went 6-7 last season with a 5.29 ERA, but of course last season could be thrown out the window due to the leukemia.

The two seasons prior to last year Carrasco was one of the top starters on the club, going a combined 35-16, with both seasons sporting an ERA under 3.50.

The story of Carrasco is one of great inspiration no matter how 2020 goes for the Tribe pitcher, but to rebound to win a Cy Young would be one of the greatest comeback stories in Indians and all of sports history.

Comments (1)

I think that Shane Bieber could be a compelling "dark horse" Cy Young candidate, as well. And Clevinger, once healthy, has to be an early season conversation piece, having as good a shot at putting together a Cy-worthy campaign as any of the "top tier" starters in the league.