MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Shin-Soo Choo and the Cleveland Indians on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Shin-Soo Choo and the Cleveland Indians on Paper

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    As the Indians continue to rebuild, this season's storylines revolve around the development of young guys like Matt Laporta and Carlos Santana.

    Grady Sizemore's health is another thing to keep an eye on.  He's in the final year of his contract, and if he can stay on the field and contribute his trade value will increase if the Indians decide to shop him.

    It's going to take time in Cleveland.


    Throughout this article, you will see a number between 7-10 beside each player.  These numbers break the players up into essential categories; here's a rough layout. 

    10: Best player/pitcher in baseball

    9-plus: Superstar, MVP/Cy Young Candidates

    8-plus: Consistent All-Star

    7.5: Periodical All-Star

    7.25: Solid Starter

    7: Average Player


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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

     C Carlos Santana: 7.5

    1B Matt Laporta: 7 

    2B Orlando Cabrera: 7

    SS Asdrubal Cabrera: 7.25 

    3B Jason Donald: 7

    Carlos Santana (25) 150 AB .260 BA 23 R 6 HR 22 RBI 3 SB 

    • Santana showed plenty of promise in 46 games before injuring his knee which cost him the season.  The switch-hitter has power from both sides.  He has a compact swing to go along with quick, strong hands.  He's solid behind the plate, and shifts well to block balls in the dirt.


    Matt Laporta (26) 376 AB .221 BA 41 R 12 HR 41 RBI 0 SB

    • Laporta was the focal point of the CC Sabathia trade, but has yet to live up to the promise.  He's aggressive and strong, but struggles with the breaking stuff.  He's a liability in the field.


    Orlando Cabrera (36) 494 AB .263 BA 64 R 4 HR 42 RBI 11 SB

    • Cabrera is solid defensively, and he's making the transition from shortstop to second.  His power and batting average have declined.


    Asdrubal Cabrera (25) 381 AB .276 BA 39 R 3 HR 29 RBI 6 SB

    • Cabrera dealt with leg injuries a year ago.  The switch-hitter sprays line drives from both sides of the plate.  In the field, he has quick hands, good feet and throws accurately.


    Jason Donald (26) 296 AB .253 BA 39 R 4 HR 24 RBI 5 SB

    • With Donald sidelined with a finger injury, Jack Hannahan will start Opening Day.  Lonnie Chisenhall, the Indians top prospect, is still a year away.


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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    LF Michael Brantley: 7 

    CF Grady Sizemore: 7.5

    RF Shin-Soo Choo: 8

    DH Travis Hafner: 7


    Michael Brantley (24) 297 AB .246 BA 38 R 3 HR 22 RBI 10 SB

    • Brantley has a rather slow bat and goes the other way a lot.  He's solid in the field, and likes to cut balls off because he doesn't have a strong arm.   


    Grady Sizemore (28) 128 AB .211 BA 15 R 0 HR 13 RBI 4 SB

    • If only this guy could stay healthy because he's a 30/30 candidate if he can.  He will join the club in about mid-April as he continues to have trouble with his knee.  He has a quick, strong swing and destroys fastballs middle-in.  He's always been athletic in center field, but we'll see if his range has declined once he comes back.


    Shin-Soo Choo (28) 550 AB .300 BA 81 R 22 HR 90 RBI 22 SB

    • Choo may be the most underrated player in the game.  He's smooth and balanced at the plate, and drives the ball to all parts of the field.  His arm in right is one of the best in the game.


    Travis Hafner (33) 396 AB .278 BA 46 R 13 HR 50 RBI 2 SB

    • Hafner is strong, but he tends to be pull happy.  He likes the ball on the inner-half.  He's strictly a DH.

Starting Pitching

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Fausto Carmona: 7.25

    Justin Masterson: 7

    Jeanmar Gomez; 7

    Carlos Carrasco: 7

    Josh Tomlin: 7

    Fausto Carmona (27) 210 IP 13-14 3.77 ERA 1.31 WHIP 124 K

    • Carmona has a herky-jerky delivery and jumps at you with an excellent sinking fastball.  To complement the fastball, he has a breaking slider and a changeup. 


    Justin Masterson (26) 180 IP 6-13 4.70 ERA 1.50 WHIP 140 K

    • Masterson has a long slinging arm action.  He's a ground ball pitcher who gets good movement with his sinker.  He'll elevate it to induce strikeouts late in the count.  He also has a sweeping slider and he'll mix in a changeup.


    Carlos Carrasco (24) 44 IP 2-2 3.83 ERA 1.37 WHIP 38 K

    • Carasco throws in the low-90's with his running fastball.  He has a nice tightly spun curveball, and a solid changeup.


    Mitch Talbot (27) 159 IP 10-13 4-41 ERA 1.49 WHIP 88 K

    • Talbot throws a low 90's tailing fastball and cutter.  He has a pretty good changeup, but tends to throw it too much. 


    Josh Tomlin (26) 73 IP 6-4 4.56 ERA 1.25 WHIP 43 K

    • Tomlin won the fifth starting job over Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff.  He has a solid fastball and cutter, but lacks secondary pitches. 


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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    RP Rafael Perez: 7

    RP Joe Smith: 7

    RP Chad Durbin: 7

    SU Tony Sipp: 7

    CP Chris Perez: 7 


    Chad Durbin, Joe Smith, Rafael Perez

    • The Indians acquired Durbin in the offseason.  He pitched a lot of innings as a member of the Phillies. 


    Tony Sipp (27) 63 IP 2-2 1 SV 4.14 ERA 1.38 WHIP 69 K

    •  Sipp is a deceptive short arm pitcher.  He's strictly a fastball, slider pitcher who'll mix in a changeup.  He's home run prone.


     Chris Perez (25)  63 IP 2-2 23 SV 1.71 ERA 1.08 WHIP 61 K

    • Perez broke out last season and looks like the closer in Cleveland for the next few years.  He has a mid-90's fastball and a quick slider which bites late.  He needs to cut down on his walks.

Sizing Up the Indians on Paper

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. Grady Sizemore: 7.5

    2. Asdrubal Cabrera: 7.25

    3. Shin-Soo Choo: 8

    4. Travis Hafner: 7

    5. Carlos Santana: 7.5

    6. Orlando Cabrera: 7

    7. Matt Laporta: 7

    8. Michael Brantley: 7

    9. Jason Donald: 7


    Projected Starting Rotation 

    Fausto Carmona: 7.25

    Justin Masterson: 7

    Jeanmar Gomez; 7

    Carlos Carrasco: 7

    Josh Tomlin: 7


    RP Rafael Perez: 7

    RP Joe Smith: 7

    RP Chad Durbin: 7

    SU Tony Sipp: 7

    CP Chris Perez: 7 


    Travis Hafner, Austin Kearns, Luis Valbuena, Lou Marson: 7



    Manny Acta: 7


    INF: 35.75

    OF: 22.5

    SP: 35.25

    RP: 7

    CP: 14

    MISC: 14

    Hitting: 58.25

    Pitching: 56.25

    TOTAL: 128.5


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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    It's going to be a long season, and it doesn't look like it's getting better anytime soon.

    Prediction—65-97 4th AL Central