Roll Tribe: 2013 Cleveland Indians Preview and Predictions


Here are some projections and predictions for our 2013 Cleveland Indians…

The Lineup

Michael Bourn:  The only stat I really care about with Bourn will be On-Base Percentage.  If he can keep it around .380 or so, he’ll help this lineup significantly with his speed on the base paths.  Prediction:  .265 Avg, 7 HR, 42 SB, .330 OBP

Asdrubal Cabrera:  He’s been a first-half All-Star and a second half chump the last few seasons.  I suspect he’ll be more consistent this year.  Prediction:  .275 Avg, 18 HR, 55 RBI

Jason Kipnis:  I love Kipnis, but he had a horrible second half last year and it seemed to carry over into spring training, so there is certainly some reason for concern.  Prediction:  .275 Avg, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB

Nick Swisher:  Swish’s numbers have been very consistent over the last five seasons, but I expect them to dip slightly given his new home ballpark and lineup protection.  Prediction:  .260 Avg, 21 HR, 75 RBI

Carlos Santana:  I’ve given up on Santana ever hitting for average like we thought he would, but he has some pop.  Prediction:  .235 Avg, 22 HR, 60 RBI

Mark Reynolds:  I’m not sure Reynolds will make it through the season as a regular in the lineup.  He strikes out a ton, and if he doesn’t hit a bunch of bombs he’ll become a real liability in the lineup.  Prediction:  .210 Avg, 12 HR, 35 RBI

Michael Brantley:  Dr. Smooth had a great spring.  I think his upside is limited, but he’s a decent player and I don’t believe a drop in the lineup will affect him any.  Prediction:  .280 Avg, 10 HR, 20 SB

Lonnie Chisenhall:  I was thrilled when they traded Hanahan and decided to give the job to the Chiz Kid.  They should have done it last year.  He had a terrific spring.  Prediction:  .280 Avg, 21 HR, 70 RBI and a move up in the order.

Drew Stubbs:  In three seasons as a full-time player, his batting average, on-base percentage, home runs and RBI have decreased each season.  I’m not sure if a change in leagues will help and he might force Swisher into playing RF full-time.  Prediction:  .220 Avg, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB

The Starters

Justin Masterson:  I don’t believe Masterson is as good as he was in 2011 or as bad as he was in 2012.  He’ll revert back to what he is– a solid starter who is by no means an ace.  Prediction:  13-12, 4.25 ERA

Ubaldo Jiminez:  We can only hope for a Cliff Lee-type of career turnaround.  I don’t see it from Scrubaldo, though.  Prediction:  5-11, 5.50 ERA and a demotion from the rotation.

Brett Myers:  He got lit up this spring, but he’s a solid pro and should be OK.  Prediction:  11-11, 4.50 ERA

Zach McAllister:  He had a good run last season and I think he’ll be consistent but not great.  Prediction:  11-9, 4.25 ERA

Scott Kazmir:  I liked that the Indians kicked the tires on Kazmir because there is some upside here and he’s LEFT HANDED.  I hope his career rebounds, but the odds are against it.  Prediction:  5-9, 5.00 ERA

Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco:  I believe both of these guys will make a significant number of starts this season because it is likely that at least two of the starters will either get hurt or pitch their way out of the rotation.  I’m high on both, and if there’s any hope for the next few seasons, it’s because of these two.

The Bullpen

The Bullpen Mafia was good last season and should be good again, but with the pen you never really know what you might get from year to year.  I put the odds of Vinnie Pestano taking over the closer role from Chris Perez at 50/50.  I hope that doesn’t happen, but while Perez has gotten the job done in his career, I’m not sure he has the stuff to be a consistently good closer.

The Defense

This is one of the most improved areas of the team.  The outfield defense, which was one of the worst in the league last year, will cover as much ground as anyone with the addition of Bourn and Stubbs.  The infield defense might not quite be as good with the loss of Hanahan and Kotchman, but it won’t be bad, either.

The Coaches

I’m still pinching myself to see if Terry Francona actually did come here to manage.  I would be fine if they signed him to a 10-year deal today.  If the Indians lose, it won’t be because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Two key players I’ll be watching closely to see if the coaches can help are Kipnis and Jiminez.

2013 Season Prediction:  The Indians will be a better team than they’ve been since 2007.  They’ve added some speed and power to a lineup that has had neither for a long time.  The base running and defense will be much improved as well.  However, there are just way too many issues in the rotation to expect a breakout year of 90-plus wins.  If the team does manage to get some solid starting pitching (which I suspect would have to come from Carrasco and Bauer later in the season) the Tribe will challenge for a division title or wild card.  Unfortunately, I see too many “ifs” to expect a contender this season.  I do expect an entertaining and encouraging 83-79 season, though.  Roll Tribe.

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Justin Masterson, Yan Gomes lead Cleveland Indians to 4-0 victory over Dodgers | cleveland.com


Justin Masterson, Yan Gomes lead Cleveland Indians to 4-0 victory over Dodgers | cleveland.com.

SMD = Small market dominance… Cleveland Ready to rule?


This is a hopeful fans opinions;

This has been one of the busiest and most productive off seasons on Lake Erie in recent memory. Could it be possible that by 2014 the Cleveland Indians could be in a pennant race; the Cavs could be trying to put together a deal to bring LeBron James back to play with Kyrie; and the Browns could be in the post season?

I’ll break down, team by team, what I think is good and bad about this off season and our teams going into 2013.

INDIANS:

THE GOOD:  TERRY FRANCONA, FREE AGENT PICKUPS, OUR STARTING LINE

We didn’t sign Manny Act’s cousin as our coach, we went out and got the best coach available (thank you for the instant free agent pull Terry). There is no doubt the reason we just landed two of the biggest free agents we have had in Cleveland since 1997 was because of Tito.  Micheal Bourne and Nick Swisher just instantly made our on base percentage better before opening day.  This is the best starting line up we have had since the late 90s and I believe it is only going to get better.

THE BAD: PITCHING

The pitching situation is much like the browns QB situation; QUESTIONABLE. I do think it will improve and be at least an average bullpen by the end of 2013 which with our starting line up means we will win games.

 

THE BROWNS

THE GOOD: OUR COACHING STAFF, LOADED WITH YOUNG TALENT (thank you Tom Hekert), LOTS OF MONEY TO SPEND

Think about our offense last year for a second. Our #1 WR Josh Gordon came on strong after the 5th week. He is a rookie who was the #2 WR at Baylor and didn’t play football for a year. Our #2 WR is still raw in his second year and hand stone hands for most of 2012. We rounded that out with a talented but injured rookie running back and another rookie WR. We started a rookie 29 year old QB and we paired him with Pat Shurmur running a 1980’s style west coast offense. Shurmur decided to keep a guy who was most comfortable in the Shotgun out of it. Out of all NFL quarterbacks, Weeden was in the shotgun less than anyone other than Matt Schaub. THIS TEAM CAN ONLY BETTER WITH EXPERIENCE.

With Norv Turner we bring in an offensive coach in with 29 years of experience and he is running the digits system which fits our city.  If you like the 3-4 defense or not Ray Horton was arguably the best DC in football last year and we landed him. Rob Chudziniski is a young, inventive, inspired, homegrown offensive Head Coach, which makes him a perfect fit for an instant improvement on both sides of the ball.

THE BAD:

We need a terrific draft which I’m not confident Michael Lombardi can produce. We have to land a CB, DE, OLB and Veteran WR and then we have got to find a developmental QB that can fit our city and system.

My opinion is Brandon Weeden is our QB for 2013 ( I actually think for the next 4-5 years) and we draft Tyler Bray or Wilson to develop. I think he will have his ups and downs, but Trent Richardson will have a great year (over 1400 yards and 12 tds) and we pull out a 9-7 record with a shot at a wild card spot.

THE CAVS:

I don’t have a good and bad right now. Kyrie Irving is a superstar, Waiters will be good but I do not see much else on the court. LeBron James coming back to Cleveland instantly puts us as a top three team in the NBA, let’s see what happens.

 

comment back and tell us what you think our records will be.

Smoke Signals Over the Cuyahoga (formerly known as the DiaTRIBE) #1: Among the Living


Well, that didn’t last long. Who would have thought that a 5 minute search on Google, or whatever your search engine of preference is, would have yielded that “DiaTRIBE” was already taken by another blog. To add insult to injury, it’s made up of fairly well-composed and thought out posts! The audacity! Enough carrying on about a silly blog title. You’re not that invested, are you? Nah, and neither was I at the time. Self-deprecating humor, it’s still a thing and I still do it.

Let’s be forthright. In spite of a new and very capable manager and some pointed roster changes, I’m staying realistic in keeping my expectations low. I’ll get more into this at a later time as the season draws near, but I want to make that statement because in spite of it, there’s still time and room to keep making interesting and creative decisions with what the team has to work with and what’s out there within reach.

Most of the lineup appears to be set for the time being. Am I content with it? Not in the least, but between what was dealt in trades and the cash ponied up in avoiding arbitration, there’s little chance of the starting nine changing between now and the beginning of the season barring an unforeseen circumstance – namely injuries. The one block in the lineup card that’s still blank, or at least written in pencil, is the one upon which any and every team in the American League hangs the heart of their lineup on if they’re even at least halfway competent. Of course we’re talking about the designated hitter.

You know all the names that have been bandied about before even reading this. Carlos Santana, Mark Reynolds, Nick Swisher, all of whom I expect to get ABs there outside of their respective positions, Chris McGuiness, Mike McDade, Ryan Raburn, Mike Aviles, and Tim Fedroff, most of whom were addressed in the previous entry. I’ve even floated the idea of acquiring a player like Justin Smoak of Seattle, ousted by their recent acquisitions of Kendry Morales and Raul Ibanez’s return, or even Brandon Belt in San Francisco if the price is right. In short, no one has a clue for sure. The prospect of the DH being split between several players on the team as it exists presents the possibility of taking away ABs from other deserving players and the worst case scenario of eating a plural number of roster spots. In summary, the designated hitter should not and must not be a platooned position for a team that’s still a productive bat away but lo and behold, that’s precisely what it’s shaping up to be.

As harrowing of a management decision that looks to be, the sting is far less than what the rumor mill’s been spinning lately. With no takers on the market and the organization desperate to reinvigorate the fanbase, both Jim Thome and Travis Hafner have been tossed around as possibilities to be the full-time DH in Cleveland once again. I don’t need to run the numbers for you whether that’s in statistics or contracts or payroll. They’re already out there and you’re likely privy to them. My grievance isn’t solely with the front office taking a hard look at them, but with the rest of the fans, too. This applies far more regarding Thome than Hafner, but it’s indicative of how so many of both casuals and even die-hards still pine for the stars of that era and cling to their nostalgia of that great run the franchise had in the second half of the ’90s. Conversely, simply overlooking how either the vast majority of those players have been out of the game or are still hanging around and have sharply declined in their skills to the point of no longer being deserving of a starting place in the lineup. Unless it just happens to be ours in which case, hey, open arms! This has given the FO an excuse to pursue lesser players for pennies on the dollar and gives the bleacher crowd the opportunity to break out their faded t-shirts and replica jerseys, pony up for overpriced beer, and kick their feet up at a home game for a few hours while having the audacity to STILL complain about how great things used to be for the N-teenth time. That’s an utterly ridiculous exercise in futility, folks. I understand the product and the players on the field hasn’t given us much to cheer about in recent memory, and fewer things are more irritating than refusing to give or accept criticism on professional and personal levels, but we passed the turnoff too far back and who knows when or where the next exit’s coming. Another statue in front of the stadium or another bobblehead giveaway doesn’t validate holding an up-and-comer back from the Show to placate the “remember when” crowd, nor should a fan worth their salt allow themselves to be satisfied so simply.

Yes, that’s quite a couple layers of skin to peel off just to address merely one issue and I’ll concede the argument that it’s a non-sequitur, but does it not bear repeating?

Its Tribe Time now!


That’s right Tribe fans.  Pitchers and Catchers report for spring training on the 11th of February.  Its almost time for another season!  The big question this year is will we flop again or will the acquisitions made in the off season push us into the post season?

A news article posted on January 25th on the Cleveland Plain Dealer states that the Tribe is looking into signing  either Jim Thome or Travis Hafner.

http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2013/01/cleveland_indians_have_thome_h.html

I firmly believe that this would be a huge mistake to sign either of them.  What have we seen from Hafner for the past few years except someone that is broken with occasional spots of hitting the ball into the outfield and rarely into the bleachers.  Its true, he does not strike out much, but for the number of times he is on base is he really worth filling the DH spot?

Jim Thome is another problem altogether.  The initial betrayal after he told us that he would never leave Cleveland, to his departure after the 2011 season.  Do we really want him back?  Sure, he was great in his prime.  He is the all around home run leader for the Tribe.  Do we want him back just because of his past awesomeness   The fact is that he is no longer that good.  Just like Hafner he occasionally smacks a ball but those times are rare.  It may be better to keep the position open and shift players through it to rest them.

The Tribe has gotten some great talent in the off season.  We don’t need to fill a position with a “has been” just to fill the position.  Bring in someone that wants to be here or better yet wait until after a decent player is put on waivers by another team and claim them.  Don’t waste money just to fill the DH.