30 Teams in 30 Days: Cleveland Indians Preview

Indians

Cleveland Indians
Management: GM Mark Shapiro, Manager Manny Acta
Key Additions: Brian Bixler, Russell Branyan, Brian Horwitz, Mike Redmond, Mitch Talbot
Key Losses: Greg Aquino, Jesus Brito, Jamey Carroll, Vinnie Chulk, Zach Jackson, Masa Kobayashi, Tomo Ohka, Kelly Shoppach, Jose Veras

Projected Starters
C Lou Marson
1B Russell Branyan
2B Luis Valbuena
3B Jhonny Peralta
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
RF Shin-Soo Choo
CF Grady Sizemore
LF Matt LaPorta
DH Travis Hafner

SP Fausto Carmona
SP Jake Westbrook
SP Justin Masterson
SP David Huff
SP Aaron Laffey
CP Kerry Wood

Preview: The Indians are pretty much in full rebuild mode now. They are returning 4 hitters from the start of last year and Carmona was the only pitcher in the starting rotation at this time last year. So it’s safe to say they’re undergoing some changes. Branyan at first is going to be expected to repeat last years stats in a year where everyone will be looking for him to be the center of the offense for the first time in his career. They’ll expect production from him all year even though he tailed off at the end of last year. Valbuena still has to learn to hit lefties so you can expect a bit of a juggle at second for at least part of the year. The left side should be settled with Cabrera and Peralta holding down the spots, they’re hoping Peralta has a better year and that Cabrera takes another step forward. Sizemore is still the leader of the team in Center and one of the best in the game. Choo had a solid year last year and he needs to continue that. LaPorta and Brantley will be fighting for the other OF spot with LaPorta having a higher power ceiling with Brantley being more of a contact hitter. LaPorta could also move to first or DH if Hafner or Branyan stuggle. Pitching is a shot in the dark for Cleveland because most days they have no idea what they’re getting. Westbrook is solid when he’s healthy, but can you really count on him as your 1 or 2? Carmona has had more than his share of troubles in a pretty short career so far and you’re counting on him to be a top of the rotation guy. After those two you’ve got a bunch of young guys with loads of talent but no MLB expirience to use. Kerry Wood is still at the back end of the bullpen for now but he’s just one of a few guys who could have different addresses come the trade deadline. Cleveland’s offense is starting to come around if a few guys continue the years they’ve had, but the pitching looks a little weak to compete in the AL Central.

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