Only one more day to vote in our 2013 Cleveland Indians top prospects crowdsourcing project! Here are highlights from Wahoo’s on First this week:
Merritt wondered what would have happened if the Indians had had an unlimited budget for the last five years:
It’s a pastime of any wishful thinking baseball fan: what if I had a few billion dollars and could buy my favorite team? What would happen? Well, that’s a great question. The Dolans are far from poor, but the revenue streams the Indians have coming their way are all too minimal. So let’s have some fun, let’s spend some time re-breaking hearts and opening old wounds, let’s imagine the Indians signed a distribution deal with Fox Sports in, say, 2007 for more than what the Dodgers just did. How would that be different? Where would we be today?
Steve handicapped four high-profile minor-league signings‘ chances of making the Opening Day roster:
Which of the aforementioned players will find themselves on the 25-man roster, released, or in Columbus at the end of Spring Training is the real question that is up for debate as camp opens. I believe both Jason Giambi and Rich Hill were signed to be on the Opening Day roster. Both players fill a role that is not covered on the present 40-man roster. Giambi will be the part-time left-handed designated hitter, pinch hitter, and emergency first baseman while Hill will be the situational left-handed reliever out of the bullpen, paired with either Scott Barnes or Nick Hagadone.
Brian remembered one of the most underappreciated Indians of the 1990′s:
However, one former Indian from that era gets overlooked time and time again both by fans and writers alike. It makes sense though. He didn’t put up hall of fame numbers and he never made an all-star team, but he was a model of consistency and provided the Tribe with some serious pop from the left hand side of the plate. To be honest, it’s kind of a shame. Who is this player in question? Paul Sorrento.
Jeff argued that Cleveland still needs an ace for 2013:
What is needed is one guy who can go into a matchup with anyone in Detroit’s rotation (save Justin Verlander, of course) and not seem like an underdog. It could be a guy near the end of his contract; that would actually be preferable, since Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco should be ready to blossom and there is already a built-in increase in our payroll for 2014 with Michael Bourn’s back-loaded contract and the arbitration eligible players already here.
Geordy kicked off his 2013 Indians top prospects list with the honorable mentions:
I had a man crush on Dillon Howard after he was drafted. A hard sinking fastball touching the mid-90s, a changeup that wasn’t half-bad for a 19-year-old and who knows, maybe his curveball could be something as well. Now I just look back on my profile of him last year and laugh, then cry, then spiral into a depressing state of self-deprecation.
Ceiling will continue to be the question for Smith, and how high it can go will be tied almost directly to how much power comes from his bat this year. He could join a potentially stacked lineup at High-A Carolina this year alongside Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, Jose Ramirez and Luigi Rodriguez, to name a few. As the underdog of that lineup he could see some better pitches thrown his way, and if he capitalizes on him you can expect to hear some buzz about this kid from Minnesota.
And No. 14: Kieran Lovegrove
If Lovegrove both bulks up over the course of his minor league career and uses the lower half of his body more in his delivery, I would not be surprised to see him easily working in the mid-90s as a starter with his fastball. As with many other Tribe farmhands, command will make or break his prospect status, but at the least he’s a high-upside ‘pen option a few years down the road.
Jeff tried to project the impact of the Tribe’s new strikeout-heavy look on the 2013 offense:
I think the key thing about strikeouts is that there are two kinds. There’s the kind where the pitcher throws it as hard as he can, the batter swings as hard as he can, and, mano a mano, the pitcher comes out ahead. This is okay, provided that when the batter comes out ahead something pretty spectacular happens (see Mr. Dunn, for example) and that the hitter is smart enough to recognize that swinging as hard as possible is not always the best strategy. The other kind of strikeout is the kind where you have no stinking clue what kind of pitch is coming, no plan for how to approach the at bat, you are just gonna swing hard and see what happens.
If you get into a situation in the later rounds where you are simply looking to select the best available player and not necessarily on need, that’s when he should be considered. From that standpoint, I would consider drafting Swisher no earlier than the 10th round of any draft and would probably only be willing to pay a max of $14 in an auction. And also, be sure to pay close attention to the midseason waiver wire and be ready to snag Swisher should he become available.
And Jason Kipnis‘:
Having survived his first full big league season in one piece, his progression as a major leaguer should move quickly in an upward direction. So while it is tempting to go with a proven commodity at second base earlier in the draft, taking a chance on Kipnis could be the way to go for owners looking to make a bold move and grab a guy ahead of the curve. For those in auction leagues, don’t be afraid to throw a few extra dollars Kipnis’ way. While his value may be projected as $13 right now, by season’s end we may look back think it should have been much, much higher.
Evan took a look at the 2013 Minnesota Twins:
Look for the Twins to remain near the bottom of the American League again in 2012, while possessing the potential to finish in the middle of the AL Central. The rotation just doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals—and, yes, the Cleveland Indians.
Finally, we debated whether Trevor Bauer’s personality is something to worry about:
Jeff Mount: Not unless he asks my daughter on a date.