We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Indians Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Lewie Pollis from Wahoos On First.
1) The Indians landed a talented, yet labelled ‘head case’ in Trevor Bauer in the off-season from the Diamondbacks in a three team trade that sent away Shin-Soo Choo. Of course, robbing Arizona’s cradle like you were Nic Cage isn’t what concerns us. We wonder if he’s ready to take the stage in 2013 and if so, are our Trevor Bauer projections in line with what you’d expect from the rookie?
As an expected value for his true talent level your projections look about right, but they’re off in that they don’t account for how Bauer will be used. At this point there are probably four other rotation candidates who have better chances to win the No. 5 spot out of Spring Training than Bauer, and unless injuries wipe out literally the entire rotation there’s no scenario in which roster demands will force the Tribe to call him up in 2013. The team brass wants him to refine his command in Triple-A and he won’t be called up until his control problems are, well, under control. The only way he gets to 166 innings is if he makes quick, substantial progress right out of the gate. So your projections are a nice middle ground, but they’ll almost certainly be either significantly low or significantly high. One of the two.
2) Jason Kipnis’ season was a tale of two halves. His first half – .277 with 11 HRs and 20 steals – was the stuff of dreams while his .233, 3 HR and 11 steal second half was the stuff of Nightmare on Elm St. So which half is the real player and what can we reasonably expect from Jason Kipnis in 2013?
Somewhere in the middle, but towards the higher end. Kipnis is a tremendously talented player and you can hardly blame him for slowing down towards the end of his first full MLB season when he was stuck in a wholly unmotivated clubhouse. Whatever happened at the end of last year, remember that Kipnis is a former top prospect who’s already an established, above-average MLB player and is entering his age-26 season. Bill James sees him hitting .274 with 18 homers—that seems like a reasonable baseline expectation to me.
3) Lonnie Chisenhall was labelled a must watch by plenty of fantasy baseball experts heading into the 2011. Since then, the shine has worn off a bit as his brief career to date – 14 HRs with a .260 average in 374 PA – leaves something to be desired for fantasy purposes. Is this a now or never year for Lonnie and what are your expectations for him for 2013 fantasy baseball?
The first two years of Chisenhall’s career have been a bit underwhelming, sure. But consider that in those two years he had to fight Jack Hannahan and Jose Lopez for playing time while dealing with serious but seemingly non-recurring injuries. This year, he’s got the starting job all to himself and (knock on wood) a clean bill of health. A .260 average and 15 homers seem like a good place to start, but he’s a 24-year-old former top prospect so he’s got some interesting upside too.
4) The Indians made some other off-season moves to solidify their lineup. Name someone who’s either signed or traded for in the off-season or will be positively affected by the moves who you are targeting in fantasy drafts this year. What’s your reasoning for this besides unbridled enthusiasm for your Chief Wahoo?
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Zach McAllister emerges as the Tribe’s best starter in 2013. He’s the best strikeout pitcher the Indians have had since CC Sabathia, but the biggest knock on him last year was his (uncharacteristic for a Cleveland starter) trouble keeping the ball on the ground. Now that Michael Brantley is in left field and Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs will be patrolling the big green at Progressive Field, the Tribe’s outfield UZR will be somewhere around a million. That means more fly balls will fall into glove leather (as opposed to the outfield grass), and McAllister stands to gain more from that than maybe anyone else on the team.
5) What’s the most likeliest thing we’ll see about these Cleveland Indians in 2013?
A) Cleveland Indians recoup a little of the $6 million dollar contract with Mark Reynolds and go green, using the wind power created by his 200+ strikeouts to energize Progressive Field?
B) Brett Myers begins dating Rihanna?
C) Ubaldo Jimenez changes his name to Urogaine-o for endorsements and gains his confidence back, posting a sub 3.50/1.25 ERA and WHIP?
D) To complement his mullet, Chris Perez goes full white trash and has bumper nuts sewn onto his jersey?
E) Tired of playing second fiddle to Perez’ trailer park style, Vinnie ‘The Gun’ Pestano has ‘his people’ take care of the problem and becomes the Indians closer in 2013?
Well, Chris Perez already had to sit out the WBC with a shoulder problem…