A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE INDIANS
There are going to be nights when this lineup bludgeons other teams—it will remind people of the teams that made Jacobs Field hell on earth for opposing pitchers in the '90s.... The new vibe starts with Terry Francona. He brings credibility to a losing team, and he's made it a looser clubhouse, which is what this team needed.... Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn make this offense much improved, but the keys are Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, two young players who are going to take big steps this year. It's hard to find a third baseman who will hit 25 home runs, but Chisenhall has the potential.... Carlos Santana is going to have a good year—he's in great shape and is swinging the bat aggressively. Throw in Mark Reynolds at first and DH, and there's some serious power here.... Asdrubal Cabrera is one of the better shortstops in the game—if things go poorly, they'll trade him to a contender and get a haul.... Their clear flaw is the top two starters: Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez. I have more faith in Masterson—some nights he's just unhittable, other nights he can't find his release point. He has the stuff, with the sinking fastball and the decent changeup, to keep lefties at bay.... Jimenez is a mess. Now that he's at 92, the hitter doesn't swing through his fastball anymore.... Trevor Bauer should start the year in Triple A; he's not as polished as people think. He's got a ton of talent, but my concern is that in college, he didn't pitch in the strike zone as much as guys usually do.
April 1, 2013
2013 Projected Statistics
MANAGER TERRY FRANCONA
First season with the Indians
LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
The K Meter
Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank
BY HITTERS | 17.5% | 3RD
BY PITCHERS | 17.3% | 29TH
Off-season gambles pay off: Swisher slugs 30, Bourn swipes 50, Bauer is a sensation. The Tribe challenges for the AL Central.
The high-priced bets don't pay off, the pitching founders; only Chisenhall and Kipnis offer hope for the future.
Albert Chen has more on the Indians at SI.com/mlb
With about a week left in the Cactus League, Nick Swisher had spent all of his playing time at first base. He was the Yankees' backup at first the last four years and a semiregular there for the White Sox and the A's before that. But Swisher's offense, while above average for a rightfielder, is just adequate at first. For the Indians, making that downgrade so that Drew Stubbs can play outfield isn't a good trade-off. Stubbs batted .213/.277/.333 last year and struck out in 31% of his plate appearances; his career line against righthanders is .228/.301/.355. His speed, defense and pop against southpaws make him an excellent fourth outfielder, but playing Swisher at a less valuable spot to get Stubbs into the lineup is a poor use of resources. Swisher should be in right, with Stubbs used to spell Michael Brantley and Michael Bourn against southpaws. Mark Reynolds can play first base and the DH slot used to rotate everyone through for half-days off.