On the left side of the Indians infield:
What should the plan be for 2015? The big hurdle was first to identify how to solve Asdrubal Cabrera’s free agency. That got solved in the form of Zach Walters. But what’s the plan now? Who should be back? When should prospects be promoted? Is an addition necessary?
Lonnie Chisenhall is the incumbent third baseman. He’s one of the worst defensive players at that position in baseball. He had a .244/.284/.411 line in 682 plate appearances entering this season. He started with a .366/.423/.581 line in 217 PAs through June 20, but now is at .227/.298/.343 in 219 PAs since. Is he regressing back to his usual mean? Can he be a regular? He turns 26 in October.
Mike Aviles is a big wild card to me. He has a $3.5 million team option potentially available for 2015. At 33, he’s batted .249/.277/.352 in 722 plate appearances for the Indians in the last two seasons. A jack of all trades and a master of none, is a backup utility man really worth that much money?
Jose Ramirez is an intriguing guy to me. I don’t know exactly which theory to buy. In the minors, he batted .306/.355/.411 with 86 steals in 291 games, surprisingly emerging as a top-10 prospect despite his lowly pedigree and unimpressive frame. He only turns 22 in two weeks. I’m still uncertain if he’s an MLB regular long term, but the youth is certainly encouraging.
Walters is a fun guy to discuss. I loved FanGraphs’ comparison of him with Cubs youngster Javier Baez. He surprisingly turns 25 years old tomorrow. The Triple-A line was .266/.307/.523 with 58 doubles and 47 homers in 230 games. He’s a monster slugger, but you’d hope he could get closer to a .240 average at least. The Indians sure could use more pop.
And oh, in Columbus there’s Francisco Lindor and Giovanny Urshela. Lindor is the top-10 prospect in baseball. He’s batted .273/.307/.388 in only 38 games for the Clippers and turns 21 in November, so I’m still patient here. Urshela had a great season at third, batting .276/.331/.473 in 104 games. Could his defense (not just his bat), give him a legitimate chance in 2015?
This is a fun debate to consider. It’s certainly not easy and it’s why the Indians executives do get paid the big bucks. I’d be surprised if the Indians don’t pick up Aviles’ team option. From there? Not certain how the playing time exactly will shake out, but shortstop should be Lindor’s for the taking by June. Everything else? Still very much up for grabs. The depth is an OK thing.
A (Kinda) Goodbye:
As an update, today is my 24th birthday and I’m starting my drive for Eugene, Oregon on Sunday. I’ll be beginning at the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center MBA program with an intimate incoming 20-person cohort. I’m super pumped to finally get started.
I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life, from 18 years in Akron to four years down at school in Dayton and two back here in the 330. It’ll be a wild ride to be far, far away to the Pacific Northwest. I’ll be leaving all of my comfort zones, from my family and friends to all of my previous networking connections.
For now, I’ll probably just be taking a few weeks off from here at WFNY. The drive alone will take me five days, then I have two more weeks of orientation. It’ll take a little bit for me to get fully adjusted in MBA life. But I’ll hope to be back here on the site writing (occasionally) again in the near future.
WFNY is like a second home to me. I started writing here way back in spring 2009 as an innocent 18-year-old freshman at UD. I remember spending countless college weekends manning the site. While many things are changing (including our website design), WFNY is still there. And I’ll hope to be back writing for you all amazing readers in just a little bit. Thanks so much to you all.
News and Notes:
Victor Martinez as a Cleveland Indian: .297/.369/.463 in 3,449 plate appearances, 19.2 rWAR in 821 games. Victor Martinez since being traded July 2009: .317/.374/.488 in 2,583 plate appearances, 14.3 rWAR in 614 games. Did anyone expect him to become even better offensively in a more difficult environment? It’s kinda crazy how good he has continued to be. He turns 36 this December.
A Youngstown State player blocked his own team’s punt with his butt. Is this not the perfect epitome of Tressel Ball or what?! (h/t ExtraMustard)
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had his first 2015 NFL Mock Draft this week. He used the order based on Las Vegas odds. The Browns results: Iowa OT Brandon Scherff at No. 4 (Buffalo’s pick) and Alabama WR Amari Cooper at No. 7. Cooper is a guy I’m certain we’ll hear lots of fans talking about for the next eight months.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken wrote about Terry Bowden working through tragedy to continue building a winner at the University of Akron. If Bowden can actually pull this off somehow … man, that’d be an incredible achievement. It’d be really cool for the town and the school.
MLB has moved its draft back to a Monday start. Is this a sign of giving up on national exposure for the draft, which had started on Thursday the past few years? (h/t BaseballAmerica)
And in case you haven’t seen the news yet, Portland’s Chris Haynes is joining Northeast Ohio Media Group to become the new Cavs beat writer. Here’s his goodbye reflection from CSNNW where he served as a Trailblazers beat reporter. I’m excited to see his work.
Thank you to @EliasSports for this info: Last pitcher prior to Rzepczynski tonight to pitch 5 straight days/games was Matt Miller in 2004
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 31, 2014
At 5-foot-11, 200 lbs, #Browns punter Spencer Lanning is bigger than the average Browns receiver on the active roster — 5-11, 191.4 lbs
— Tom Reed (@treed1919) September 1, 2014
The Indians and Royals have never had consecutive winning seasons at the same time. If neither chokes in September, it'll finally happen.
— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) September 1, 2014
Among the amazing factoids you will discover: LeBron James has earned less money in NBA salary than Carlos Boozer has so far.
— Miles Wray (@mileswray) September 1, 2014
Francona on team getting in at 3:15am: "I feel like one of those fresh daisies on the side of the road that just got run over by a truck."
— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) September 1, 2014
Wow, it's Sept. 2 and I have yet to see one, "Wake me up when September ends" post. Nice job, Internet.
— Stephanie Metzger (@7thInningSteph) September 2, 2014
Chisenhall's -14 runs saved ranks 1,840th out of 1,847 players to step on a Major League field this season. Murphy and Kipnis close behind.
— Kevin Dean (@kevnbaseball) September 2, 2014
Clayton Kershaw's OBP: .246. OBP of hitters vs. Kershaw: .225. #Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 3, 2014
Congrats to @ChrisBHaynes on his new job with the Cleveland Cavaliers! Gave him up for a first round pick
Since Aug. 9, Cleveland's rotation has posted a 1.92 ERA with 141 K and 36 BB in 131.1 IP.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 4, 2014