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2021 Cleveland Indians: 3News personalities make their predictions for the season

The Tribe will begin its season in Detroit before coming home next week, and as always, questions abound.

CLEVELAND — As things gradually continue to return to "normal" across America, we are about to derive great comfort from two of the greatest words in the English language: "Play Ball!"

Yes, baseball is back, and not for the truncated 60-game slate we were all stuck with last year. No, this time we're playing all 162 (well, weather and health permitting), and fans will even be welcomed back into ballparks for the first time in over a year.

The Indians will begin the season in Detroit before coming home to Cleveland next week, and as always, questions abound: Can the Tribe compete despite a current payroll of less than $40 million? Which young players will step up? How will they ever overcome the loss of superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor?

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All of these inquiries will be answered in due time, but for now, it's natural to play Nostradamus. Here at 3News, we are eager to make our own guesses as to what will happen this year.

Here are our staff predictions for how the Indians will fare in 2021:

Final record

  • Ben Axelrod: 81-81
  • Nick Camino: 86-76
  • Tyler Carey: 87-75
  • Dave Chudowsky: 82-80 - "Tito has never finished under .500 with the Indians."
  • Jay Crawford: 75-87
  • Dave "Dino" DeNatale: 83-79
  • Stephanie Haney: 88-74
  • Betsy Kling: 99-63
  • Mike Polk Jr.: 80-82 ("Gross")
  • Sara Shookman: 78-84

Final place in American League Central division

  • Ben Axelrod: 3rd
  • Nick Camino: 2nd (wild card)
  • Tyler Carey: 2nd
  • Dave Chudowsky: 3rd
  • Jay Crawford: 3rd
  • Dave "Dino" DeNatale: 3rd
  • Stephanie Haney: 3rd (wild card)
  • Betsy Kling: 3rd (wild card)
  • Mike Polk Jr.: 3rd
  • Sara Shookman: 3rd

Breakout player

  • Ben Axelrod: Josh Naylor
  • Nick Camino: Aaron Civale
  • Tyler Carey: Andres Gimenez - "He's not Francisco Lindor, but he doesn't need to be. I think he'll be a fine shortstop."
  • Dave Chudowsky: Emmanuel Clase
  • Dave "Dino" DeNatale: Triston McKenzie
  • Stephanie Haney: Daniel Johnson - "Who doesn't love a good come-up? He's got extra ammunition now, and by end of season I say he’s on the 26-man roster and he's doing work."
  • Betsy Kling: Jake Bauers
  • Mike Polk Jr.: Logan Allen - "Congratulations! Beginning this season, the Indians have selected YOU to rapidly mold into their next temporary, elite starting ace via their transformational system. This will eventually culminate in a Cy Young Award followed by your inevitable abrupt departure to a team that does NOT have an annual payroll comparable to that of a Lady Footlocker outlet mall store. Enjoy your stay!"
  • Sara Shookman: Josh Naylor

Team MVP

  • Ben Axelrod: Zach Plesac
  • Nick Camino: Jose Ramirez
  • Tyler Carey: Shane Bieber - "Let's just hope they can actually work out a contract extension at some point."
  • Dave Chudowsky: Shane Bieber
  • Jay Crawford: Jose Ramirez
  • Dave "Dino" DeNatale: Jose Ramirez
  • Stephanie Haney: Shane Bieber - "Gotta keep 'em off the bases to win."
  • Betsy Kling: Franmil Reyes
  • Sara Shookman: Jose Ramirez

How does the Indians' season end?

  • Ben Axelrod: "Hopefully with a promising young core and a new name having been chosen, but no playoffs."
  • Nick Camino: "The Indians and Terry Francona ride elite starting pitching to the MLB Playoffs. Then...anything is possible!"
  • Tyler Carey: "Despite so much negativity, I think the Tribe will be a dark horse contender. Don't be surprised if they even make a run at the division, although I believe they'll eventually miss the playoffs. Regardless, this season will help lead to a bright future in 2022 and beyond."
  • Dave Chudowsky: "Questions and drama along with not enough runs means no playoffs unfortunately...that hurts!"
  • Jay Crawford: "Missing the playoffs."
  • Dave "Dino" DeNatale: "No playoffs for you."
  • Stephanie Haney: "The Tribe makes it to the ALDS before eventually losing in a fifth game that goes into extra innings to end the season."
  • Betsy Kling: "I have no idea. Isn’t that the best part of the game? Hopefully it will involve Bradley Zimmer coming up."
  • Mike Polk Jr.: "They will be likable, frustrating and streaky all season long and won't be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs until the final week of the regular season."
  • Sara Shookman: "With the announcement of a new team name? I vote Guardians. Those faces are already a Cleveland icon."