A New Season Brings a Rebooted Set of Rankings
After taking a month off from the Power Rankings, the Committee of One is back at it again for the month of April. With the changing of the calendar brings a new season, a new reason to be optimistic about the Indians and their chances of winning it all in 2014. But what’s better than optimism? How about being 1-0? Only 161 more games to go! It’s going to be a fun season. After all, this a fun team with a roster full of characters and guys looking to have a good time. So without further ado, here are the Cleveland Indians Power Rankings for the month of April.
1. Justin Masterson: It seems like Masterson is always at the top of the Power Rankings, but it comes with good reason. He is the unquestioned ace of the Indians staff and looked every bit the part on Monday. He’s destined to make a huge amount of money in free agency after this season, but in the meantime, we should all enjoy watching him pitch every fifth day.
2. Carlos Santana: Santana got the nod at third base over Lonnie Chisenhall. How well the experiment plays out will more than likely impact how the season plays out. If it is a success, the Indians could be very good. But, if Santana fails to adjust to his new position, then look out. Things could get ugly.
3.Jason Kipnis: As the best all around player on the team, a lot is expected of Jason Kipnis in 2014. This is a big year for the Tribe’s second baseman. This is his opportunity to break out as a star. It’s also his last chance to earn a massive pay increase when he hits arbitration next season.
4. Yan Gomes: Up until a few days ago, Gomes might not have even made this list. But, after signing a rather large contract extension that will keep him in Cleveland until at least 2020, a lot is rising on him being able to duplicate his 2013 success. The Indians had enough faith in Gomes that they were willing to name him the starting catcher and give him an extension. That’s a big deal.
5. Corey Kluber: Kluber went from being a relative unknown to the #2 pitcher on the Indians staff. Again, the Indians are showing a tremendous amount of confidence in a pitcher with a rather short track record. The Indians are expecting Kluber to be able to replace Ubaldo Jimenez. That’s a to ask from Kluber. But, if last season is any indication, Kluber should be more than capable of filling that role.
6. John Axford: With the level of importance placed on the closer role, it’s no surprise why Axford found his way onto this list. He has fallen into the perfect situation to reassert his dominance as a big league closer and with Terry Francona he should get plenty of opportunities, even if he occasionally blows a game here or there. Monday wasn’t the smoothest debut ever for a closer, but it was a vast improvement over former closer Chris Perez.
7. Terry Francona: Speaking of Francona, he has quite the task ahead of him. That being, managing a starting rotation with a lot of question marks in it, learning how to best utilize a lot of new names in the bullpen, and keeping his regulars satisfied with playing time. Figuring out how to best utilize Lonnie Chisenhall will also be a challenge, something it appears he is still trying to figure out.
8. Nick Swisher: Swisher is just as important to this team now as he was last season. With a renewed focus and understanding of how to live up to his four-year contract, big things are expected of him this year. It should also help that he is spending a full season in the 2-1spot rather than batting cleanup. Perhaps his most important asset will be hos ability to keep the team lose when things get rough during the long summer months.
9. Nyjer Morgan: While it is unlikely that Morgan would remain on the team once Michael Bourn returns, in the meantime he is extremely important. As the table setter at the top of the lineup, it’s his job to get on base and help this team score runs. He also has to play a solid center field in place of a former gold glover. How he does during this first week or two of the season could go a long way in deciding where he spends the rest of the season – Cleveland, Columbus, or some other major league team.
10. Carlos Carrasco: Failure is not an option for Carlos Carrasco, because he is out of options. Ad one of the centerpieces of the Cliff Lee deal, the Indians are still waiting on him to prove he can be a big league starter. If he can’t, he’ll end up either in the bullpen or on another team. This is a make or break season for Carrasco with perhaps no month as important as the month of April.