Last week, 16 Cleveland Indians writers representing six different publications participated in a multi-part preseason survey in which we made predictions and offered our opinions about the 2013 Tribe. We’ll be releasing part of the results each day this week as we count down the days until the start of the season—continuing today with our predictions for who will lead the Indians in various aspects of the game this season.
First up, who will be the Tribe’s best hitter?
Not a whole lot of competition here as Carlos Santana runs away with the voting. This isn’t a particularly surprising result, but it’s interesting given that Terry Francona has intimated that he’ll drop Santana down in the order this year. If our group is right, that means we could see Cleveland’s best hitter batting in the bottom half of the order.
Next question: Who will be Cleveland’s best pitcher this year?
I suppose it’s not a surprise that the Opening Day starter won this one by a landslide. But when you put it that way, it is interesting that a full half of survey respondents expect someone besides the ace to be the Indians’ best pitcher.
Finally, the other major aspect of the game—how about fielding?
Michael Bourn is a beast. I don’t have much more to say than that.
Next on the agenda, who will be the Tribe’s biggest breakout star?
Third base is the only non-pitcher position on the roster where the Indians do not have either a well-established player or a new face pencilled in for 2013. So if we’re right about this and Lonnie Chisenhall has a breakout year, Cleveland could truly have a formidable lineup from top to bottom.
On the other side of the spectrum, which Tribe player will be the biggest disappointment?
Poor Brett Myers—we had already named him the worst acquisition of the offseason. At least the Indians have Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, and Daisuke Matsuzaka waiting in the wings if he falters.
Finally, the big one: Who will be the Indians’ 2013 MVP?
This vote was gratifyingly close, with Santana barely edging out Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis for the honors. One thing of interest: Bourn got strong support here while Nick Swisher, on whom Cleveland spent more money, didn’t get a single vote.
Survey participants: Ed Carroll from Cleveland.com; Steve Eby and Vince Guerrieri from Did the Tribe Win Last Night?; Kevin Dean and Andrew Zajac from Indians Baseball Insider; Nino Colla from The Tribe Daily; TD from WaitingForNextYear; and Geordy Boveroux, Brian Heise, Nick Houghtaling, Steve Kinsella, Jeff Mount, Lewie Pollis, Katrina Putnam, Merritt Rohlfing, and Evan Vogel from Wahoo’s on First.