The Cleveland Indians had high hopes for 2012. It was only a season ago when they dragged themselves out of the dirt, sitting in second place at the end of 2011. A lot of young, talented players were poised to take a step forward. Yet despite the talent on the roster, Cleveland took a huge step backwards in 2012, finishing in fourth place with an abysmal record of 68-94.
Things aren’t looking much better for 2013. Star player Shin-Soo Choo was traded to the Reds in the offseason. To help offset this loss, GM Chris Antonetti brought in a collection of veteran hitters: Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn. They should inject the lineup with some much needed hitting, as the Indians finished in the bottom three of the AL in runs, home runs and OPS. But even if the hitting improves, it probably won’t be enough to offset the lack of talent in the rotation. In 2012, Cleveland ranked at the bottom of the AL in ERA, WHIP and K/BB ratio. But hey, at least the bullpen was good! The bottom line is that the Indians are going to need a lot of lucky breaks to be competitive in 2013. It can certainly happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2013 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C Carlos Santana||.252||.365||.443||72||18||76||3||609|
|1B Nick Swisher||.272||.364||.473||75||24||93||2||624||w/NYY|
|2B Jason Kipnis||.257||.335||.379||86||14||76||31||672|
|SS Asdrubal Cabrera||.270||.338||.416||70||16||68||9||616|
|3B Lonnie Chisenhall||.268||.311||.430||16||5||16||2||151|
|LF Michael Brantley||.288||.348||.402||63||6||60||12||609|
|CF Michael Bourn||.274||.348||.391||96||9||57||42||703||w/ATL|
|RF Drew Stubbs||.213||.277||.333||75||14||40||30||544||w/CIN|
|DH Mark Reynolds||.221||.335||.429||65||23||69||1||538||w/BAL|
Unsettled: Third Base. Lonnie Chisenhall is slated as starting 3B. Although he had limited playing time in 2012, he put up an impressive line (16-5-16-2-.268-.311) in 142 at-bats. If Chisenhall starts off slowly, Mark Reynolds could be moved to 3B, freeing up playing time for almost the entire bench.
Target: Carlos Santana. Santana is one of the most talented catchers in all of baseball. His rookie season was phenomenal, but he hasn’t yet delivered on his full potential. During the second half of 2012, Santana hit a whopping .281/.389/.498. If this type of contact, power and patience hold up for a full season, he could finish as the top fantasy catcher.
|Justin Masterson (R)||11-15||4.93||1.45||159||88||206.1|
|Ubaldo Jimenez (R)||9-17||5.40||1.61||143||95||176.2|
|Brett Myers (R)||0-3||3.12||1.13||21||9||34.2||as RP|
|Zach McAllister (R)||6-8||4.24||1.36||110||38||125.1|
|Trevor Bauer (R)||1-2||6.06||1.65||17||13||16.1||w/ARI|
Unsettled: The Indians have guaranteed Masterson, Jimenez, and Myers spots in the starting rotation. That leaves Zach McAllister, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and Daisuke Matsuzaka to fight over the final two spots. McAllister had a reasonable stint in 2012 with the Indians, so he is the safest bet for one of the spots. That leaves the others to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Target: Trevor Bauer. Bauer, one of the top prospects in baseball, was traded to the Indians in the offseason from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal and will be given a chance to earn one of the final two rotation spots. In the minors in 2012, Bauer posted a combined 12-2 record with a 2.42 ERA. He also managed to strike out a hefty 157 batters in only 130 innings of work. He is definitely worth a late-round pick even though he may not start the year in the majors.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Chris Perez (R)||39||3.59||1.13||59||16||57.2|
|Vinnie Pestano (R)||2||2.57||1.10||76||24||70.0|
Chasing Saves: I was not a fan of Chris Perez entering the 2012 season. To my surprise, he posted his best season ever, saving 39 games for the Tribe while being one of the few reliable closers in all of baseball. Things shouldn’t change in 2013. Perez has a strong K/9 and BB/9, and the mentality to handle the closer role. If he should falter, Vinnie Pestano will be the first in line to get a shot.
The Indians go into 2013 with a revamped lineup. The offseason additions of Swisher, Bourn, Stubbs and Reynolds should be enough to pull the Indians hitting back to the middle of the pack. In addition, the defense has gotten better, especially with the range of their outfielders. Even with these improvements, the starting rotation leaves a lot to be desired. Without a true No. 1 or No. 2 SP, the Indians will need a lot of luck to be in playoff hunt come August.
Check back tomorrow for our look at the Detroit Tigers.
Matthew Law is an avid baseball fan living in the greater Boston area. He loves the Red Sox, video games, and the Roman Empire. He has proven to be indestructible- surviving after a truck crashed into a convenience store and hit him dead on.
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