Before I even do this, we all know the Indians will not be contenders this season at all, and probably not the next either. But they do have a good farm system and some good young players, so maybe they do have a good future.
Starting in their infield. Their first baseman is Matt LaPorta, who was acquired from Milwaukee for CC Sabathia. LaPorta has been somewhat of a disappointment in Cleveland, last year he hit only .221. They had Luis Valbuena starting at second base at the end of the year, but I don’t think they will stick with the .195 hitter there for long. I think Jason Donald is a good fit for them at second base. Their shortstop is Asdrubal Cabrera, who I think is a pretty good ballplayer. He hit .276 this year, and is only 24 years old, so I can see room for him to grow. Something tells me that Jayson Nix is not the Indians long term third baseman. Nix hit .224 with 14 home runs in 331 at bats. However, their only real backup there was Andy Marte, so they might have been happy with Nix. I do think that Cleveland will sign a veteren 3B in the offseason to help up and coming prospect Lonnie Cheisenhall.
We all knew Carlos Santana will be the starting catcher in Cleveland. Santana was having a terrific year with the bat before a home plate collision tore his MCL and he was done for the year. Cleveland had Lou Marson do the rest of the catching for the year, but I doubt if he will be back next season.
I was looking at the Indians outfield to write about and can you believe I forgot about Grady Sizemore? I wouldn’t be sur[prised if you did too. Sizemore has all the potential in the world if he could ever just stay on the field. The Indians do have another good outfeilder however, in Shin-Soo Choo. Choo had another terrific season, hitting .300 with 22 home runs and 90 RBIs, as well as carrying a .401 OBP. Trevor Crowe was supposed to be good too. But he hit just .251 with 2 home runs and a OBP of .302. Micheal Brantley was expected to have a big year, but he hit just .246. I’m sure Cleveland will be happy to welcome Sizemore back.
The Indians have awful pitching. Except for Fausto Carmona, who seems to have turned it around this season. He posted an ERA of 3.77 and pitched over 200 innings. The rest of their rotation was not so good. Josh Tomlin had an ERA that would round to 5.00, Jeanmar Gomez had an ERA of 4.68 with a WHIP of 1.65. However, Gomez is only 22 and I believe he has a bright future.
Carlos Carrasco did have a pretty good year, with an ERA of 3.83. He only started in seven games, but maybe he can anchor the Indians staff in years to come. Aaron Laffey was pretty bad, with a WHIP of 1.62. Another pitcher who might be in their rotation is Justin Masterson. Acquired from Boston for Victor Martinez, Cleveland had high hopes for Masterson. They ended up moving him to the bulppen due to his 4.70 ERA. Masterson is only 25, so he could turn it around. He was at one point the top prospect in the Red Sox system.
The Indians had the worst bullpen in the American League. Tony Sipp had an ERA of 4.14. Frank Herrmann and Joe Smith had bad years as well. They had two bright spots, and those were Rafael and Chris Perez. Chris Perez had an ERA of 1.71, while Rafael had one of 3.25. Maybe that is something Cleveland can build off, but they are going to need more. David Huff, who was sent down to the minors, could be a bullpen piece next year. Or they could go out and sign someone.
That is all I really have to say about the Indians. They are really bad, and will not improve any time soon.
Here is your Sunday recap in Boston sports.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 5-4. The Sox where down in the eigth inning, but an Angel Sanchez double and Gil Velezquez single tied it. Mark Wagner homered in the ninth inning to win. Casey Kelly picked up the win and Robert Manuel the save. David Hernandez got the L for the O’s.
The Bruins lost to the Penguins, 2-1. Marc Savard was taken out on a stretcher after a dirty hit from behind by a dirty player, Matt Cooke. Savard took an awkward pass from the left wing and dumped it in, and Cooke came from behind and slammed his elbow into his head. Obvious intent to injure. The NHL says they want to get rid of head shots, but no penalty was called on the play. I expect Cooke to be let of the hook with a two or three game suspension, though he deserves a season suspension in my mind. I’ll talk more about this at news and notes.
The Celtics beat the Wizards, in a comeback win. Down by as much as thriteen in the fourth quater, Ray Allen hit two key three pointers in the comeback. Rajon Rondo missed a free throw down two, and Kendrick Perkins picked up the rebound and passed to Ray who was beyond the arc. He hit it, of course.
The Sabres beat the Rangers, 2-1 in OT. The Rangers gain a point on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings, and now sit only two points behind them after the Bruins loss.
The Canadiens beat the Ducks, 4-3 in a shootout. Montreal entered the third period down three goals, and came back to tie. Tomas Plekanic sealed it in the SO. Montreal is now two points behind the Bruins.
The Magic beat the Lakers, 96-94. Kobe Bryant could not hit the buzzer beater this time. Vince Carter threw down 25 points in the win. The Lakers have now lost three games in their west coast swing, to the Bobcats, Heat, and now Orlando.
The 76ers beat the Raptors, 114-101. Yes, the C’s actully have to worry about the Raptors, who are behind them in the divison. Good to gain a game on them. Expect a Celtics-Raptors first round playoff series.
The Oilers beat the Devils, 2-0. Always a good thing, as the B’s need the Oilers to heat up if they want Taylor Hall in the draft. Can Toronto catch them?
News and Notes: I promised I would touch on this topic again and I will. That hit Cooke had on Savard was the second dirtiest hit I have seen this year. The only worse was Mike Richards on David Booth in an almost identical situation that took Booth out 45 games and he missed the Olympics for team USA. Did Richards get suspended? Of course not. Welcome to the NHL. This is the second time Cooke had handed out a hit like this. It’s time the NHL does something.
I was at the Red Sox game yesterday afternoon. Right behind the Sox dugout. Victor Martinez tossed me a ball! That was sweet. I got to see Casey Kelly pitch live for the first time. That kid has some sick stuff. I can see him in the big leagues next year. Or maybe this year. If Kelly is what they think he is, then they can just let Beckett walk without a problem.
Thanks for all the mailbag questions. It will be back again at it’s reaguler time Sunday. Sorry for no recap yesterday, I was at the Red Sox game, then I watched the Bruins and Celtics. Today the Red Sox play the Cardinals at 1:05 pm. Josh Beckett will face off vs Chris Carpenter. I will be in Ft. Myers Wednesday when the Red Sox play the Rays. I expect to see either Lester or Lackey.
Look at the lineup in-dapth. It is not that terrible. It does not compare to the Yankees, I understand that. Maybe not even to other teams. But this lineup can win 95 games, I think. Take a look.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury: 70 base stealer, entering the prime of his career. He can hit .300, maybe more. He causes havic on the bases and helps hitters behind him. I don’t think Dustin pedroia would be as good without him, as he sees more fastballs with Ellsbury on base due the threat of a steal.
2B Dustin Pedroia: An MVP and .300 hitter, he will drive in from 70-80 runs and have an OBP around .370.
C Victor Martinez: .300 hitter that will give you 20-30 HRs and drive in 80-100 runs as well as a good OBP.
1B Kevin Youkilis: 20-30 HRs and .280-.320 hitter. Good for 100 RBIs and an OBP aroun .400.
DH David Ortiz: Can hit the ball out of the park at any time.
3B Mike Lowell: 20-25 HRs and will hit aroun .290. Will drive in about 80 runs and get the clutch hits.
RF JD Drew: About 20 HRs and maybe a .280 BAA. Will drive in some runs and will take the walk and get on base often, as well as getting a few clutch hits.
LF Mike Cameron: Line drive hitter that will hit 20-30 HRs and hit around .260. Won’t drive in too many runs but can steal a few bases and score quite a bit.
SS Marco Scutaro: Good OBP guy and can hit it out of the park once and a while. Cna steal bases and score runs.
As first reported by this blog yesterday, Tony LaRussa will remain the Cardinals manager.
Mark McGwire will be the Cards hitting coach.
The Red Sox will soon start extension talks with Victor Martinez.
Dan Duquete is rumored to be in line for the Blue Jays GM job.
Manny Acta will be the Indians manager.