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Top Candidates: RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Shaun Marcum
Other Candidates: RHP Tyler Cloyd, RHP Josh Tomlin
The Cleveland Indians starting rotation was among the biggest surprises in the league last year, but there will be some turnover heading into 2014, as Scott Kazmir signed with the Oakland A's and Ubaldo Jimenez looks to be headed elsewhere as well.
Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber look poised to take the next step, while Justin Masterson is back atop the staff. Also, Zach McAllister should be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. The final spot in the rotation is yet to be determined, though, and there is no clear front-runner at this point either.
Non-roster invitee Shaun Marcum will get a long look this spring, and while his 1-10 record and 5.29 ERA in 12 starts with the New York Mets last season were not great, a 3.64 FIP, per FanGraphs, suggests that he pitched better than his numbers indicated.
If he doesn't step up, incumbents Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin both have a chance to surpass him. Top prospect Trevor Bauer may be the X-factor here, though, and while his first season in Cleveland was a disappointing one, he still has the upside to be an impact arm.
Prediction: Shaun Marcum is the named No. 5 starter, while Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin both earn bullpen spots.