Fantasy Baseball 2013: Cleveland Indians Hitting-Pitching Projections

Cleveland Indians – Predicted Finish: Fourth Place, AL Central

I was flying home this week and the teenage boy sitting next to me on the plane had on some baseball gear. I saw it as an opening and asked him if he liked baseball. He preceded to go on and on about his favorite players and his favorite teams. This was a kid who hadn’t said a single word to his family in an hour.

It’s fun to talk about baseball and your favorite team. If you are an Cleveland Indians fan you have a few new players to talk about. The Indians signed a new 10-year television contract and they got $40,000,000 of it this season. It suddenly makes sense that they could sign Swisher, Myers and Reynolds. Ones still wonders, however, if those additions are enough to bring a big improvement.


Indians Offense

Player Name   Age Bats AB R HR RBI SB AVG.
Michael Brantley LF 25 L 556 79 8 46 9 .289
Jason Kipnis 2B 25 L 589 94 17 82 26 .275
Asdrubal Cabrera SS 27 S 596 85 18 73 10 .289
Nick Swisher RF 32 S 550 89 26 92 3 .254
Carlos Santana DH 26 S 541 86 27 88 2 .246
Mark Reynolds 1B 29 R 504 70 29 82 4 .229
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B 24 L 479 62 15 61 2 .257
Drew Stubbs CF 28 R 520 66 16 46 30 .234
Yan Gomes C 25 R 180 17 8 24 1 .217

Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Santana, Swisher, Kipnis, Cabrera, and Stubbs and Reynolds to a lesser extent.

Carlos Santana suffered from high expectations. Everyone clearly expected steady and remarkable growth from the young catcher, but were rewarded with a poor average and power numbers less than they were hoping for. Yet, he’ll now be valued less in drafts and he still has the keen batting eye that set the expectations so high for him. Grab him post-hype and be pleased.

I didn’t foresee Swisher going to Cleveland, but I like to move for both Swisher and the Tribe. He’ll no longer have the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium to hit in, but he’s always been dependable fantasy performer, regardless of where he’s hitting. Draft him as a 3rd outfielder and you’ll be pleased.

Folks who were looking for Cabrera to replicate his breakout were disappointed, but he’s a solid contributor at a thin position. I fully expect him to post solid – albeit not spectacular – numbers in all categories. While he won’t dominate in any category, he’s unlikely to hurt you in any, so try to sneak him after the higher priced shortstops are off the board.

Both Reynolds and Stubbs will kill you in batting average because they both have this nasty habit of striking out in a third of their at bats. Still, Stubbs has speed if he can actually get on base and Reynolds has power if he can actually get the bat on the ball. If you’ve resolved to go ahead and punt average (although I wouldn’t recommend it), then you might as well take a look at these guys.

More on Kipnis later.


Indians Pitching:

Role Player Age Hand IP BB W K SV ERA WHIP
1 Starter Ubaldo Jimenez 29 R 188 87 10 165 0 4.68 1.46
2 Starter Justin Masterson 28 R 216 71 11 155 0 4.23 1.47
3 Starter Brett Myers 32 R 179 46 11 129 1 3.63 1.23
4 Starter Zach McAllister 25 R 186 50 11 135 0 3.71 1.36
5 Starter Carlos Carrasco 26 R  125 35 6 89 0 3.87 1.31
Closer Chris Perez 27 R  57 21 1 49 36 3.93 1.23

Crackerjack Fantasy Options: None to draft, but several to monitor.

Don’t draft Ubaldo Jimenez based upon one half of 2010 (See: Francisco Liriano). The time you spent reading this sentence was already more time than you should’ve spent considering him. Brett Myers is dependable, if not at all extraordinary, but he’s not worth spending a pick on him. Just monitor his early season to see how the shift back to the rotation is going for him. McAllister has some limited upside as does Carrasco, but wait and see how his recovery is going as he lost all of 2012 to Tommy John.

Everyone is buzzing about the Tribe’s recent trade for Trevor Bauer, but I don’t think he’s on the 25-man roster on Opening Day. I like his quirks as a pitcher and I like him long term, and while I think he finishes 2013 in the rotation for good, I don’t think 2013 is the season where he provides significant fantasy baseball value.

More on Perez later.


Fantasy Star: Kipnis

Kipnis faded a bit in the second half of 2102, but that was just a young player wearing down. A year older and more experienced should mean that Kipnis has a steadier second half.

But don’t look for Kipnis to make a huge jump in statistics. You don’t draft a guy like Kipnis because he has an incredibly high ceiling. You draft him because he has a high floor. While he doesn’t have the talent to bang out a monster season at second base, he does have the type of talent that prevents him from entirely flaming out. Dependably solid, which is very good at a crazy thin 2B. While I don’t expect a 100 – 20 – 90 – 30 – .285 season out of Kipnis, I’ll draft him because I’m confident he’ll get at least in the ballpark of those numbers.


Fantasy Bust: Perez

The saying goes that ‘once you display a skill, you own it’, meaning that if the player puts up solid numbers, he has the skill to do it again. That may be true, but for some players the skill is deeply, deeply hidden. Chris Perez is not a skilled pitcher. He lacks real command and a killer out pitch. I see a regression from his 2012 numbers, so don’t draft him for that line and you won’t be disappointed. Yet, although trade rumors have swirled around him, he does have the closer’s job, which means saves. I thought for sure that Vinnie Pestano would take the job away from him last year, but no such luck.


Fantasy Sleepers: None

I don’t see anyone on this team that could provide sneaky value. You know what you are likely to get with these guys. Furthermore, the Indians have a shallow minor league system, so there aren’t any hitting prospects that are beating down the door. You draft these guys to fill a need in your fantasy baseball roster, you don’t draft them for upside.


More American League Central Previews


Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Cleveland Indians Jason Kipnis Lineup Projections Projected Lineup

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