Optimistic Predictions for the Indians' 2012 Opening Day Roster

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Justin Masterson: Masterson keeps doin’ what he’s doin’. Essentially it’s 2011 all over again, maybe with something of a rebound in his strikeout rate and some greater run support. He gets an All-Star nod and maybe a couple bottom-ballot Cy Young votes en route to a solid outing in at least one Game One of a playoff series. (full profile here)

Ubaldo Jimenez: It’s 2010 all over again. Jimenez gets his velocity back up and it’s off to the races from there. His work with the Indians’ coaching staff helps him bring his walks under control and get his groundball rate up, while his improved fastball will allow him to induce weaker contact. His fantastic season earns him MVP and Cy Young votes, and no one in Cleveland bemoans the losses of Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. (full profile here)

Derek Lowe: Last year was all about bad luck. He’s not the dominant force he was in his prime, but his ERA falls back to the mid-to-high 3.00 range and he makes his usual 34 starts. The Indians get over 200 innings of above-average run prevention from the pitcher they acquired for almost nothing. (full profile here)

Josh Tomlin: Bill James spells this out pretty well (10-10, 3.73 ERA). Tomlin comes back fully healthy and gets his strikeout rate up to a respectable level while maintaining his stubborn refusal to issue free passes. He continues to induce weak contact and controls the long ball a little bit more and sticks in the rotation for a full season. (full profile here)

Jeanmar Gomez: Gomez wins a rotation spot and never looks back. He throws 200 innings again, but this time they’re all in the majors. He brings his strikeout rate up to a respectable level and induces enough ground balls to maintain an ERA in the high 3.00′s. (full profile here)

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Tags: Aaron Cunningham Asdrubal Cabrera Carlos Santana Casey Kotchman Chris Perez Dan Wheeler Derek Lowe Jack Hannahan Jairo Asencio Jason Donald Jason Kipnis Jeanmar Gomez Joe Smith Jose Lopez Josh Tomlin Justin Masterson Lou Marson Michael Brantley Rafael Perez Shelley Duncan Shin Soo Choo Tony Sipp Travis Hafner Ubaldo Jimenez Vinnie Pestano

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