Indians ranked 28th in ESPN’s “Future” power rankings


Despite all of their off-season moves that have fan morale trending upward, a troika of ESPN reporters have given the Cleveland Indians a 29.7 out of 100 in their recent release of “future” power rankings. This score — though an improvement off of their league-worst total in 2012 — represents the third-lowest total in all of baseball.

These rankings, set to list which MLB teams are set up for sustainable success, use a combination of current major league roster coupled with finances, management and mobility. The categorical scores are depicted above.

The Overview
By signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher this winter, the Indians made themselves more interesting for 2013, but the long-term future of the club is still in doubt. They don’t have a reliable starter, and their short-term path to winning involves Trevor Bauer, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson all pitching like the elite starters their stuff suggests they can be. That’s far from a certainty. — Buster Olney

The Dilemma

They need at least two of Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Zach McAllister to become rotation stalwarts for them to move forward because they are not in position to sign any top-quality free-agent starters after their spending sprees on Swisher, Bourn and Mark Reynolds. — Jim Bowden

The System
The Indians have shortstops galore — three or four of whom might end up as big league regulars in an optimistic scenario — and a lot of young pitching that’s three or four years away, but short-term help is really limited and they’re very light on corner bats who’ll have big offensive impact. — Keith Law

Only the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies rank below Cleveland. It’s 1993 all over again.

[Related: The Diff: Market saturation and Indians attendance]

  • Andrew

    I hope it’s 1993 all over again.

  • Tron

    Of course they’re not set up for sustainable success. Haven’t we already beat the small market team competition window to death? The Tribe has to spend in spurts for a window they hope is open 2 to 3 years followed by 5 to 6 years of rebuilding. We already know this ESPN, thanks for the fluff.

  • Bleep ESPN

  • Jeff

    Keith Law does’nt like the Indians system or current sqaud. What a Shock!!!

  • mgbode

    “MLB teams are set up for sustainable success”

    Hmmm, so it’s a mark of which big market teams are doing the best job in the FO. Okay, so right now without looking, here would be my top5 in no particular order:

    Washington Nationals – Big market team that tanked, grabbed up some assets, then spent big money on other players to support. They are setup for long-term success the best out of anyone in MLB.

    St. Louis Cardinals – their FO and coaching has proven to be second to none over the years. they consistently get more out of their pitchers and veteran players and play in a market where they are kings, which helps them play with the bigger markets.

    Anaheim Angels – huge TV deal. some great players at all age groups. they need to continue to stock up on pitching, but it looks like that is what they are doing.

    Detroit Tigers – I hate to put them here but they are likely the most talented team in MLB this season. their pitching staff is stocked, they added Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez (injury return) to their lineup this year and they have an owner who will make sure to keep the cupboards full (with his profits from the Red Wings mostly, but it doesn’t matter where the money comes from).

    SF Giants – their FO is more old-school than most. But, here’s the thing, they have been able to still pry out some market inefficiencies somewhere because you cannot deny their success. if everybody does things one way, and they do it another, then perhaps that can be a good strategy. regardless of method, they value pitching above everything else and that works.

    Just missed the cut:
    Dodgers (perhaps they belong. I like what Anaheim is doing better. We’ll see)
    Texas (alot of talent leaving, can they sustain? I think yes, but not as much as above)
    Atlanta (in the StL category, but just a bit below and not as market dominant w/ Falcons/Hawks in town)

    Other prominant teams that some might have considered:
    Yankees (they’ll be back, but need to reboot)
    Red Sox (ditto)
    Toronto (not a believer)
    Cincinatti (just a hair below Atlanta under the same premise)
    Tampa (tougher road due to $$ – Price about to leave)
    Oakland (tougher road due to $$)

  • Garry_Owen

    Wow. I stopped caring about “Power Rankings” years ago. I can’t even say how uninteresting “Future Power Rankings” are to me.

  • nj0

    I’ve been a hater of some of the things Law has said in the past about the Indians. At this point, I have to admit that he was correct about most of them.

  • nj0

    Isn’t copying content from a website behind a pay wall and then pasting it on your own website unethical?

  • Steve

    Same with Olney and Bowden.

    Clearly they deeply hold a very personal vendetta. It could only possibly be a conspiracy to hold back the noble people of Cleveland.

  • Kildawg

    Why does ESPN apparently hate us so much? They publish ‘stuff’ like this and wonder why us Cleveland supporters are basically giving them the finger. The only good thing I find is that they let me listen to Cavs games online for free.

  • nj0

    To question the quality of our starting rotation, one clearly must have a personal vendetta against the club…. the only explanation.

  • Steve

    Yeah, this does seem like a bit too much, even if its not the whole article, and is linked back to the original.

  • Steve

    They probably hate us because the logo is racist.

    (Hopefully we can sweep all the cleveland vs. the world fights into just one thread)

  • markn95

    Yeah, ESPN sucks, but our farm system is widely regarded as being in the bottom third of MLB. It makes you wonder about Brad Grant. As little as 2 years ago, I was sold on him as the answer to our Amateur Draft woes. He won instant credibility with the Kipnis/Chisenhall/White/Pomeranz picks, as all 4 were legitimate top 50 prospects and flew through the minor leagues. Since then, of course, only Kipnis has really proven himself at the major league level but it’s still not a bad haul for 2-3 years of drafting. Also since then, Grant has taken some players in the top 4 rounds who appear to be legitimate busts, from Kyle Blair to Dillon Howard to Levon Washington. All are young, of course, and injuries have played a role, but still there’s some disappointment there. I really hope the H.S. pitchers we jumped on last draft hit the ground running this season and start making their way to Cleveland sooner rather than later.