- Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:43 PM
- Written By: Andrew Simon
2009: 65-97, 4th in AL Central. Pythagorean record of 73-89.
Key Additions: 1B Russell Branyan, 2B Anderson Hernandez,
Key Losses: IF Jamey Carroll, C Kelly Shoppach
2010 Projections: PECOTA – 79-83, tied for 2nd in AL Central. CHONE – 81-81, 2nd. CAIRO – 80.8-81.2, 3rd (Wildcard).
Pitching: 2009 – 4.73 FIP (27th in MLB), 4.75 for starters, 4.68 for relievers
2010 – There is very little certainty here. Over the past two years, Jake Westbrook has pitched in five games due to injuries, while Fausto Carmona and Jeremy Sowers have just pitched poorly.
Hitting: 2009 – .333 wOBA (11th in MLB)
2010 – The Tribe is going to have to rely on its bats, and there are some good ones in Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore. But there's also a lot of inexperience, meaning guys like Matt LaPorta, Luis Valbuena and Michael Brantley will need to develop.
Fielding: 2009 – UZR of -33.5 (26th in MLB)
2010 – A full season of a healthy Grady Sizemore in center field would be a big help, but there's just not much of a positive defensive track record with this group.
Reasons to Watch
1. Shin-Soo Choo: All this 27-year-old from South Korea has done since reaching the Majors two years ago is hit. He's got excellent plate discipline, resulting in OBPs of .397 and .394 the past two years, and solid power, with slugging percentages of .549 and .489.
2. The trade haul: Cleveland has dealt away CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Ben Francisco, Victor Martinez, Mark DeRosa and Franklin Gutierrez the past two years, getting players like Matt LaPorta, Luis Valbuena, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez and Carlos Carrasco in return. A lot of these newcomers are going to get the chance to play this year, and Cleveland will need them to produce to get the franchise back on the right track.
3. Travis Hafner: How much does Pronk have left in the tank? He put together three straight incredible offensive seasons from 2004-06 and was solid in 2007 before a terrible and injury-plagued year in 2008. Hafner was better last year but still played only 94 games. If Hafner can stay healthy and hit something like the guy we saw a few years ago, it would be a huge boost for Cleveland.
Paint By Numbers: Jhonny Peralta's .304 wOBA was the 11th-worst mark of any qualified player last season. It didn't help that Peralta hit more than half his balls on the ground, something that generally only works well for speedsters. Peralta also was the 11th-worst regular hitter against the fastball, according to FanGraphs' pitch values. ... After the Indians acquired him in the middle of last season, Chris Perez cut his walks per nine innings from 5.7 to 3.2. That's an important development for a guy who has "closer stuff" and strikes out better than 10 batters per nine innings. ... In Fausto Carmona's breakout 2007 season, he had a 2.25/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 2.97/1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio. Last season, those numbers regressed to 1.13 and 2.04, helping to explain Carmona's ugly 6.32 ERA and 5.36 FIP.
Blog Jog: Let's Go Tribe shares some numbers that matter (or don't) in 2010. ... LGT's Ryan Richards answers five key questions about the Tribe for The Hardball Times. ... Paul Cousineau of The DiaTribe compares the Indians' 2010 starting rotation to the 2004 version. ... Bryan Smith of FanGraphs writes about Cleveland's bold defensive strategy for ESPN.com's Max Info blog.
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