Monday, November 5, 2012

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians (68-94) - 4th Place American League Central

The Cleveland Indians came out of the gate like gangbusters in 2012, leading the American League Central well into May.  The young Indians couldn't keep pace however as the team went 40-71 after June 1.  Manager Manny Acta lost his job after the season following this dismal stretch of baseball.

Pitchers- Justin Masterson continued to be the workhorse of the staff leading the team in innings with over 206.  Masterson shows flashes of greatness at times, but never seems to keep the consistency needed to take the next step and become an ace.  Ubaldo Jimenez has not been good since joining the Indians.  The once National League Cy Young contender has not been able to figure it out since joining the American League.  The lone bright spots for the Indians came from the bullpen with middle reliever Joe Smith, set up man Vinnie Pestano and closer Chris Perez putting up great numbers.  Pestano sported a 2.57 ERA in 70 appearances with a WHIP of 1.10.  Joe Smith led the team in appearances with 72  and led all relievers with 7 wins.  Chris Perez converted 39 of his 43 save chances which was good for fourth in the American League.

Infield- Up the middle in Cleveland they have found what they are looking for in shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Jason Kipnis.  These two are the stalwarts for Cleveland up the middle and do a terrific job.  At the All-Star break both Cabrera and Kipnis had 11 home runs.  Kipnis also had 20 stolen bases at the break.  The second half was not nice to Kipnis as he the season with only 14 home runs and 31 stolen bases.  Cabrera finished the season with 16 home runs and a .270 average.  Catcher/First basemen/Designated Hitter Carlos Santana led the Indians in home runs with 18.  In the American League, it is hard to be a contender when you are only getting 18 bombs to lead your team.  Designated Hitter Travis Hafner has not been able to stay healthy over the past few years and he continued that trend in 2012.  Hafner only played in 66 games and in those 66 games, batted .228.  If the Indians can sure up the corner infield spots with the two young stars up the middle this infield could be something to watch for a long time.

Outfield- Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley put together decent seasons for the Indians.  Both had batting averages in the .280s but the power numbers and counting numbers were not there for either player.  Choo ended the season with 16 home runs with 88 runs and 21 stolen bases.  A concerning number for Choo and the Indians is his 150 strike outs against only 73 walks.  Brantley is a consistently average baseball player who has done a serviceable job filling in for the injury prone all-star Grady Sizemore.  Sizemore did not play in a game in 2012, but his effects were still felt throughout the season as the Indians lack depth in the outfield.  Brantley is a solid player, but he can not fill in for what Sizemore did for the Indians when healthy.  Sizemore's health has set the Indians franchise back a few years.  Look for the Cleveland Indians to sure up the outfield in the near future. 

Check back this week for a review of the Miami Marlins tomorrow, the Boston Red Sox Thursday and the New York Mets Friday as we continue our review of the 2012 season.

Also, follow us on twitter this off-season as we react to all the trades signings and anything else that crosses our mind. Follow myself @WadeCArthur and Tommy Meyers @TommyM44.