Before the Indians took game 1 of this three game series, Puckett’s Pond posted the series preview. Often in these series previews, we include a Q&A with the writer(s) from the other team’s Fansided site. Unfortunately, due to editorial time constraints, we were unable to include the Q&A yesterday. With my apologies for the delay, here are three questions and answers about the Cleveland Indians, courtesy of Lewie Pollis from Wahoo’s on First.
Question 1: Is it just me, or does Ubaldo Jimenez’s stat line look a lot like Francisco Liriano’s? Jimenez has won a few more games, and his ERA is actually about two runs lower, but like Liriano, he’s walked a ton of batters. It almost makes me sad that he’s not starting in this series. What’s going on with the former Colorado ace?
LP: He’s lost both his stuff and his command. His fastball velocity is down almost 4 mph from two years ago and he can’t locate his pitches. He’s always been a heavy-strikeout guy, but now he’s whiffing just 5.3 batters per nine innings. Worst of all, he’s walking almost seven batters per nine—the line I like to use here is that he’s gone from “effectively wild” to just plain wild. He’s supposedly working on some mechanical issues, but he’s clearly not the same pitcher the Indians thought they were getting when they traded for him last year, let alone the powerhouse he was in 2010.
Question 2: With summer fast approaching, the rumor mill is soon going to start heating up even faster than the weather. Cleveland may be in a position to be a buyer this year. Do you think they’ll make any moves?
LP: I think they will if they can, but it’s hard to see how they’d be able to swing a deal that makes both sides better. This is an incredibly deep team so it’s not as though there are any real gaping holes on the roster—that’s obviously a good thing, but the problem is that makes it harder to upgrade. Barring a major injury it really would take a star player to make a significant improvement, and the Indians don’t have the payroll space or the collection of close-to-MLB-ready prospects they’d presumably need to land a marquee player.
Question 3: Which Indians players do you think deserve an All Star selection this year? Do you think they’ll actually get selected?
Both halves of Indians’ double-play duo should be represented on the AL starting squad. Regardless of your thoughts on his defense (and there are some who love his glove) Asdrubal Cabrera
is the best offensive shortstop in the league, and the only second baseman in the league who’s hit better than Jason Kipnis
is Robinson Cano
, who’s had the benefit of playing in Yankee Stadium. I’d also happily give a nod to Chris Perez
and while he probably wouldn’t be the best choice you could do a lot worse than adding Derek Lowe
to the stable of arms as well.
I’d say all those guys have at least somewhat realistic chances of making it. Cabrera and Perez are recognizable enough names to make it (they both have before), but Kipnis will probably be overshadowed by more famous players and much as I hate to say it Lowe won’t keep up an All-Star pace through mid-July.
Bonus Question: The draft is coming up so soon that I have to ask about it. Which draft prospects would you like to see in an Indian uni?
LP: I don’t feel as though I’m in a position to really judge specific players—I’ve never seen any of them in person so any thoughts I’d have to offer would just be synthesized and regurgitated from other people. That said, I was thrilled when Scouting Director Brad Grant said that his philosophy is to target the best possible player without worrying about specific positions or current needs. That’s the perfect mindset to have going into something with so much uncertainty as the draft.
Who knew Francisco Lindor
would fall to the Tribe last year? If the Indians had been stuck on taking a pitcher or a college player they’d have missed out on one of the best prospects in baseball.