The All-Star Break is a time to reflect on the first half of the season and look ahead to the three months of baseball that still remain. In that spirit, 17 Indians writers representing seven different sites took the time to offer their thoughts on the state of the Tribe, the ups and downs of the first half, and what’s still to come in the second.
Yesterday, we offered our collective picks for some midseason awards for the Indians. Today, we’re doing the same thing—but instead of turning to the stat sheets from the first half of the season, we’re looking to the future and offering our predictions for who Cleveland’s best hitter, best fielder, best pitcher, biggest breakout star, biggest disappointment, and overall MVP will be in the second half.
Shin-Soo Choo gets a clear plurality here, but he’s not the most interesting pick to me. Despite being our pick for best hitter in the first half Jason Kipnis has only one voter’s confidence of keeping it up. And second-place finisher Carlos Santana was also our choice for most disappointing player so far.
Casey Kotchman was our pick for best first-half fielder, but while he’s still our pick for the rest of the season there isn’t nearly as much confidence that he can keep up his edge over Jack Hannahan. As an aside, it’s a real testament to the progress Kipnis has made that he’s gone from a supposed defensive liability to in the discussion for the team’s best fielder.
Fourteen of our 17 voters picked a bullpen arm for the best first-half pitcher, but none expect the second half title to go to a reliever. Looks like our hopes are riding on Justin Masterson.
A lot of different ideas here. Reigning most disappointing player Santana and runner-up for first-half surprise Michael Brantley tie for first, but even combined they fail to reach 50 percent. A big second half from anyone on this list would be a huge boost to the team.
There’s even less of a consensus here, though I suppose if there were a clear choice then it wouldn’t really be a disappointment if he disappointed. First-half “winner” Santana comes in second, bookended by Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin. Also receiving votes were Andy Cooper’s “Anyone playing left field” and Brian Heise’s “The front office.”
Finally, here’s the one we’ve all been waiting for:
Looks a lot like what we said about the first half. Kipnis is expected to lead the team once again, followed by Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera. Personally, though, I’m rooting for bottom finishers Ubaldo Jimenez or Santana—if either of them plays like a star, the Indians should be in good shape.