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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ranking the 2014 Cleveland Indians opening day roster: Part one (3.29.14)

With a new season upon us, it is once again time for me to rank Cleveland’s roster from bottom to top. Many of the names are familiar from last year’s 92-win playoff season, but there is some new blood (and a noticeable lack of Chris Perez).

Today includes players ranked #25 to #13, which means a lot of players projected to receive less playing time (see: relievers and bench players). But Cleveland has assembled an interesting bench and bullpen, rendering this exercise less tedious and boring than a few years ago. An example is the first player, who despite being ranked 25th, is still an intriguing player.

In-text photos from ESPN

#25 Blake Wood, RHP

Given that Wood is listed at 6’5″, 240 pounds and has a fastball that can push triple digits, there is a good chance that Wood will not be ranked last throughout the season. Wood has the raw stuff to make some noise in the bullpen, but for now, he does not have the past performance to back it up. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 29, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Nine pitching prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014 (3.28.14)

In the recently completed 2014 IBI Top 50, the projection of each player contributed heavily to the final rankings. Clint Frazier has no chance of playing in Cleveland in 2014, yet the 2013 first round pick was ranked #2 (for very good reason).

But Cleveland has designs on contending for the playoffs again and will need to dip into the minor league ranks at some point in the season. With that in mind, here are nine pitching prospects who can help the team in 2014 (the hitters ran on Saturday).

Note that these ranks are only for 2014. All that was considered was how each player could help the team this year.

Ready to help now

Preston Guilmet, RHP

Over half of this list contains right-handed relief pitchers, a position that Cleveland is simply bursting at the seams with. Guilmet is one of those relievers and someone who logged a little bit of time with the big league club last year. Though the right-hander’s first 5.1 major league innings were less than encouraging (six runs allowed on eight hits, three walks, and only one strikeout), he should offer be a strong depth option when called upon this season. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 28, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Six hitting prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014 (3.22.14)

In the recently completed 2014 IBI Top 50, the projection of each player contributed heavily to the final rankings. Clint Frazier has no chance of playing in Cleveland in 2014, yet the 2013 first round pick was ranked #2 (for very good reason).

But Cleveland has designs on contending for the playoffs again and will need to dip into the minor league ranks at some point in the season. With that in mind, here are six hitting prospects who can help the team in 2014 (the pitchers will run second in the near-future).

Note that these ranks are only for 2014. All that was considered was how each player could help the team this year.

Ready to help now

Jose Ramirez, INF

Ramirez, either you like him or you love him. He is a tiny guy, listed at 5’9″, 165 pounds, but that has never held the 21-year-old back. He posted a .354/.403/.462 line as a 19-year-old in Low-A, skipped High-A to hold his own in Double-A Akron, and played a key bench role down the stretch for the major league team. Sure, Ramirez is set to start the season in the minors due to the presence of ace bench bat Mike Aviles, but if needed, Ramirez could help right now. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 22, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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How walking away from Masterson could be reasonable (3.21.14)

So how on Earth could Cleveland not finish negotiations with current #1 starter Justin Masterson and keep him long-term?

That is the question on everyone’s mind this morning after news broke Thursday night that extension talks between Masterson and the team are over. The typical ranting and raving over the cheap Dolans and the stupid front office and other typical complaints followed.

But what if Cleveland is making a reasonable decision?

First, let’s go over what we know (it is also important to note that each of these offers would be tacked on top of Masterson’s $9.7 million contract he already signed for 2014).

Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reported Thursday night that Masterson’s side offered a two-year contract for $35 million and a three-year contract for roughly $51 million. Both of these come out to about $17 million per season.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Cleveland’s counter was a two-year deal with a club option. That offer carried around a $14 million per season salary.

On one hand, the difference between Masterson’s two-year, $35 million contract and Cleveland’s two-year, $28 million contract does not seem like much; split the difference, call it two years, $31.5 million, and sign on the dotted line. But in reality, these contracts are much farther apart. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 21, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Stripping the “luck” out of luck: Cleveland’s 2013 xBABIP (3.15.14)

A hitter times the pitcher perfectly and smashes a line drive up toward left field, only for the shortstop to leap up and catch the ball at the apex of his jump.

The next time up, the hitter gets jammed by the same pitcher, only to see his weakly hit fly ball find a way to fall between the third baseman, the shortstop, and the left fielder.

Sometimes baseball just is not fair — both to hitters and defenders — and some players are more fortunate than others in any given season. This “luck” is often represented by BABIP, though just chalking a player’s BABIP up to luck is too blunt.

Hitters can control their BABIP to an extent. Speedy runners who slap a ton of ground balls to the opposite field will likely be able to sustain a higher BABIP. Same goes for a hitter with a smooth line drive stroke. On the other hand, slower runners who hit a lot of fly balls — which outfielders have tons of time to catch — typically end up with lower-than-average BABIPs.

Point being, there is plenty of variation with BABIP and regressing everyone to league-average is too broad of a solution. It’s not one size fits all.

So what does this mean for Cleveland in 2014? Well, both good and bad things. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 15, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Cleveland reassigns 12 to minor league camp (3.13.14)

Cleveland announced its first cuts from the major league camp Wednesday as it reassigned 12 players down to minor league camp. No one was actually cut from the team, though, as the cuts were just in terms of the major league roster. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 13, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Indians preview capsules: The outfielders (3.11.14)

As a part of IBI’s beginning of season festivities, we have preview capsules on all 55 players currently in major league camp with at least some chance of helping the big league team (it was 54, but the acquisition of Justin Sellers added one more). The last batch of these is running today as the outfielders get their due.

There is just not much more to it; spring training is here and real baseball is just around the corner. Enjoy!

Michael Bourn, OF

Michael Bourn was Cleveland’s belated offseason present, signing a four-year, $48 million contract in February after his market fell apart. The speedy outfielder had been expected to get more coming off of a .274/.348/.391 line with 42 steals and 6.2 fWAR season in 2012, but a combination of factors (including being attached to draft pick compensation) limited him to the contract Cleveland gave him.

Following his disappointing offseason, the 2013 campaign was also not kind to Bourn. The outfielder was limited to 130 games after getting a finger spiked in April and ended up  needing surgery on his hamstring when he injured it in the final regular season game of the season. Beyond the injuries, Bourn was not nearly as effective when playing, only posting a .263/.316/.360 line with 23 steals and a 2.0 fWAR. Advanced metrics only rated his defense as average — a significant drop from 2012 — and while those metrics can be a little flawed in one-year samples, Bourn did not impress to the eyes either. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 11, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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