Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleveland Indians Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs:  73-89 (3rd), missed playoffs
Offense:  722 runs (12th)
Pitching:  4.39 ERA (8th)

Major ChangesFA Departures:  none

FA Signees: 

Promoted: 2B Santiago Batista (Sea 17 IFA), DH Emilio Gonzalez (Sea 15 IFA), RP Billy Griffin (Sea 13 #34 overall)

Lurking in AAA:  C Ralph Dunn (Sea 16 #44 overall), LF Rod McNeil (Sea 17 #2 overall), Rodney Stuart (Sea 17 #2 overall)

Season 21 OutlookThe Indians feature a power attack (217 HR's), with 1B Eric Swift (47), C Jerry Monroe (32), and rookies Batista and Gonzalez leading the homer parade.  They don't get on base terribly well (.324), and don't have anything resembling a classic leadoff hitter (OF Pat Whang did steal 59 bases and may be the best bet to lead off).  The outfield alignment looks a little unsettled at the moment - that could create an opportunity for AAA prospect McNeil to claim the LF spot early on.

Cleveland's putting together a pretty interesting lineup...might be a little "home runs or nothing," but there will be a lot of home runs.

Denny Stairs now has a couple of solid seasons behind him and is the #1 starter.  Armando Mendoza (#2) has been mostly good but up and down the last 4 seasons (last year was up, so...).  Looks like Oscar Pimentel has the #3 spot for now.  Stevie Ross, Bert Boyd, and the hilariously-named Harry Johnson will battle for the final 2 rotation spots.

The bullpen has some pretty good talent in Kieschnick, Jacobs, Larkin and Timmons.  It falls off pretty far after that but those 4 should be able to hold things together pretty well.  The staff will probably get a nice boost when Rodney Stuart gets promoted - he could start but is probably best as a long/middle RP.

I like the direction the Tribe's headed.  .500 won the division and they were only 8 back.  With 4 rookies and prospects who could really contribute, they'll be a factor.

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